[Variety Reviews]

Sing You Sinners


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August 17th 1938

Miniature Review
'Sing You Sinners' (Par.)
Hit picture which brings out a new and refreshing Bing Crosby. Good Songs.

Sing You Sinners

Paramount release of Wesley Ruggles production. Stars Bing Crosby and Fred MacMurray. Features Ellen Drew, Donald O'Connor, Elizabeth Patterson. Directed by Wesley Ruggles. Story and adaptation, Claude Binyon; lyrics, John Burke; music, James V. Monaco; special song 'Small Fry,' Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael; editor Paul Weatherwax; camera Karl Strauss. At Community, Saratoga Springs N.Y., week Aug. 14 '38. Running Time, 88 mins.
Joe Beebe................Bing Crosby
David Beebe..............Fred MacMurray
Martha...................Ellen Drew
Mike Beebe...............Donald O'Connor
Mrs. Beebe...............Elizabeth Patterson


..... A new and interesting Bing Crosby emerges in 'Sing You Sinners,' a likeable ne'er-do-well who believes that the secret of success lies in taking gambles. He is less of the crooner, and, for added relief of tiring Crosby fans, if any, less of a delight for fluttering maidenly hearts. Instead, he's something of a pain in the neck to a forgiving mother and two brothers. Crosby and a small but good cast combine with an excellent story and good direction for sure fire box office.
..... Original story by Claude Binyon is homespun, down to earth and as natural as eggs for breakfast, even if it calls for Crosby to put up a big fist fight against great odds in the final reel. This is the only part of Binyon's story - or Wesley Ruggles direction - that seems a little far-fetched. The fight sequence occurs in a stable immediately after a big race and involves Crosby, MacMurray and two others. Everyone is conveniently out of sight or earshot of the terrible fisticuffing and the two brothers (Crosby and MacMurray), with a little aid from their mother, finally vanquish their race-fixing foes. MacMurray looks like he might be able to handle the man he battles, but Crosby doesn't. However, it is a good fight and the liberties taken may be overlooked.
..... Ruggles produced as well as directed, with Binyon, as usual his author. They've proved an exceptionally good team. in the past and in this Crosby-MacMurray starrer both ends have held up. One of the beauties of the finished job is that the tempo is even all the way with no spurts or letdowns during any part of the 88 minutes.
..... Wholesomeness prevades the entire story, direction and performances, with the plot and situations developing considerable charm. In a couple spots, scenes are somewhat touching, including the departure of the harassed, no job Crosby for the big city and after he has sent for the family, his shame over not having the makings of success he represented.
..... Action centers around a small town family, the Beebe's. Latter consists of a mother who seems fondest of the laziest member of her brood (Crosby), his older brother, MacMurray, and the youngest of the flock, the O'Connor kid who regards Crosby as an idol. Crosby has a yen for trading and swapping, but not much of a yen for hard work. When MacMurray has to hold up his marriage, because Crosby won't, or can't, get a job, the parting of the ways arrive.
..... Running up a $2 bet into a big bankroll at the racetrack when he swaps tickets with another player, winning each time on the trade. Crosby buys a swap shop and later trades that in for a horse. Swings the family to Los Angeles, where the three boys are forced to reunite as a trio and go to work at a small night club, the trio bit enabling the introduction of songs, but for a thrill finish, the horse wins a big race. However, the mother, fearing the hazards of the racing business, orders them to continue singing for the fade.
..... Being less the crooner in this effort than previously, Crosby does only one number solo, though there are four in the footage. Others are molded for the trio. Crosby's solo song is 'Don't Let That Moon Get Away,' a good song. He does it in a roadhouse setting. Rest, all by the trio with instrumental accompaniment are "Pocketful of Dreams,' 'Laugh and Call It Love,' and 'Small Fry.' Last mentioned, done in character, was written specially by Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael, while the other three were composed by John Burke and James V. Monaco. Best bet of the lot is 'Pockeful of Dreams,' which is reprised several times. 'Small Fry' is a novelty production that entertains, reminscient of Carmichael's yesteryear hit, 'Lazybones.'
..... Crosby plays his part strongly, but with restraint. He doesn't hog anything from MacMurray nor moppet O'Connor. MacMurray makes a fine impression, with the pretty Ellen Drew opposite him for romantic dressing. Crosby does not figure in any romance except for one portion, where he tries to steal his brother's girl and gets socked for it. The O'Connor lad, who becomes a jockey for the big race, is excellent. He will gather many admirer's through this picture. Miss Drew's chores are not sufficient to suggest whether she's going places or not, not so much stress having been laid on her participation in the Beebe difficulties. Mother is played excellently by Elizabeth Patterson.
..... Race sequence is very exciting. It is well-sustained for thrills and very well photographed by Karl Strauss. Track as well as other backgrounds, most of them simple, attest to good production judgement. Char.

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