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Varsity Show

1937 1h 21m Musical Comedy List
Reviews 18% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings
A Broadway producer (Dick Powell) offers to help college students put on a show at his alma mater. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

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Grant Watson Fiction Machine William Keighley’s 1937 musical Varsity Show is not going to make anybody’s list of Hollywood classics, but it is a perfect example of what the genre was doing in its earlier years. Rated: 6/10 Sep 27, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (4) audience reviews
Audience Member I'm really surprised that the students of Winfield College don't all of a sudden break into a chorus of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's "Babes in Arms" which was on Broadway the same year this came out. That's what they are, and as the group of students gather together to protest professor Walter Catlett's involvement in their campus varsity show over alumnus and troubled Broadway director Dick Powell, you expect them to start a marching song. There's the irony of Powell recalling a student he remembers being there as a junior when he was a freshman which is the writer's way of indicating that they know there are a few 30-somethings there. Real-life sisters Rosemary and Priscilla Lane who played rivals in "Hollywood Hotel" and then sisters in "Four Daughters" and its two sequels, are among the students who appear to be more ready for the New York nightclub scene than a small town college classroom. Johnnie Davis, the comic singer who introduced "Horray For Hollywood", actually passes for college age, singing "Old King Cole" with energetic aplomb as if he stepped off the stages of the Cotton Club as their only Caucasian performer. Buck and Bubbles give the much-needed energy to their dancing numbers, fast-moving legwork that is quite impressive. Ever-ageless Sterling Holloway provides much humor, his sly wisecracks indicating he's a bit worldly beyond his supposed college aged years. Ted Healy gives a Lionel Stander like cynicism to his performance as Powell's manager. Powell doesn't sing much here, and other than the lavish finale, there aren't any other big production numbers. When the students march into a vacant Broadway theater and start rehearsing against the ranting wishes of theater manager Edward Brophy, the eyes will start to roll. Even in 1937, it doesn't seem at all believable that a Broadway house would be as available to do something like that. Then, there's the BIG, BIG, BIG finale, a lavish spectacle that is far taller than it is wide. The camera keeps scrolling down to the various acts which start with a great bit by Buck and Bubbles before moving to the ensemble of the students. Then, nasal voiced Mabel Todd begins tossing a football to the chorus to open them up to indicate various Ivy League colleges as they create the various logos and sing the campus theme songs. It's all hokey yet undeniably fun. The film lacks in romantic subplot, and at times, seems more like a musical revue than a musical comedy. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member Some good music and musical numbers are buried in this sanguine concoction that suffers from a serious case of the cutes. Priscilla Lane's screen bow. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Yet another 1930s college musical, improbable but entertaining; features the hit song "Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?" and a Busby Berkeley finale. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member 2: A fairly indifferent and forgettable film. The plot is about and ridiculous as most musical comedies of the era, but this one doesn't really have anything to distinguish itself. I actually actively dislike some of the stars, and there are none that I actually admire. None of the musical numbers are even remotely memorable or catchy. The only reason to watch film is if you're a Busby Berkely fan. The ending sequence is somewhat worthwhile. The best Berkely sequences leave me in wonderment and breathless, with my mouth agape. This one simply kept me interested. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Varsity Show

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis A Broadway producer (Dick Powell) offers to help college students put on a show at his alma mater.
William Keighley
Lou Edelman
Warren Duff, Sig Herzig, Richard Macaulay, Jerry Wald
Production Co
Warner Bros.
Musical, Comedy
Original Language
Release Date (Streaming)
Apr 1, 2012
1h 21m
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