Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 10/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For fans of Bing, there is a lot to like here. The first film, "Rhythm on the Range," is a pleasant but forgettable film that will pass the time easily enough. Martha Raye is a hoot as the gal trying to rope a man out west and Bing is young and charming. There are a few funny gags and a chance to see Frances Farmer before things went so wrong for her. While it is probably only a three star film, the second film on this disc is the reason to buy it.
Bing really shines in "Rhythm on the River" and since it is only available by itself on vhs, you might want to pick this one up just to get the bonus of another film if you are a big fan of Crosby's easy charm.
Bing is in top form in this charming comedy musical based on a story by Billy Wilder and Jacques Threy. Director Victor Schertzinger wrote one of the songs himself and keeps a light and breezy tone to one of Bing's most underrated films.
Bob Summers (Bing) is an affable writer of tunes just trying to earn enogh money for a boat to sail around in and Basil Rathbone is composer Oliver Courtney, taking the credit for them. What Bob doesn't know is not only does Oscar have his melodies ghostwritten, but the lyrics as well! Mary Martin is a young poet from Tulsa named Cherry Lane, letting Oscar take the credit for her beautful words in order to pay the rent.
Nether Cherry or Bob are aware of this arrangement and it isn't until the two meet at his uncle's boarding house and fall in love that they figure it out and decide to strike out on their own. But Bing's melodies sound too much like the ones made famous by Oliver, of course, and when Cherry has a shot as a singer, he goes crawling back to Oliver to buy the dress she'll need for her big chance at Club Monaco.
But Cherry loves Bob more than music and when she discovers how he got the money, the whole thing may be off. Rathbone has fun hamming it up as Oliver and Oscar Levant nearly steals the film as Oliver's right hand. One scene has Levant reading his own book and calling it irritating! There is even an inside joke about Jack Benny's radio sponsor!
This one is a lot of fun and has an easygoing charm that matches Bing's personality. He and Mary Martin are very good together. Set during the Christmas season, the film has a nice feel to it. From Bob's old ferry boat named Arabella to his uncle's place in Terrytown, called Nobody's Inn, everthing is just right. There are some genuinely funny scenes and some great songs like "That's For Me" and "Only Forever" which make this one you'll watch time and again.
Pictures like Rythm on the River will remind you why it was actually Bing that was the big draw when he and Bob Hope were teamed up for those Road pictures. This film is a big bag of delightful charm and a great one for a Saturday morning.
If you are looking to pick up "Rhythm on the River" on dvd rather than vhs, then this is the way to go. You'll even get the bonus of "Rhythm on the Range" as icing on the cake. A good pick."
RHYTHM OF THE RANGE "IS" GOOD
T. A. Hansen | eagan, mn USA | 02/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know why Rhythm On The Range gets no love from the reviewers, but I thought it was just as good as Rhythm On The River. Rhythm On The Range is interesting for a couple of reasons. There is Farmer. If you watch this movie and then the movie Frances you can see the scene where Farmer complains to the director that her clothes are not dirty. The director tells here that noone will notice and he was right. You can also see the original "bazooka"(a homemade trombone)which, if I'm not mistaken, influenced the GI's in WWII in naming thier anti-tank weapon the bazooka. Then there's Bing. He's just too cool, even as a cowboy. For a movie made in 1936 it really hold up. Don't get me wrong Rhythm On The River is also good. Watch for Dennis O'Keefe as a drunk heckler."
FRANCES FARMER GOES WEST!
T. A. Hansen | 06/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"FINALLY on DVD! THAT elusive little western with der Bingle and the blonde gal, and then sum!Very predictable as the story goes,missing heiress, cowboy fresh from the rodeo, a temperamental bull, box cars, a ranch, etc. etc. Great songs [if you go for Bing] and a great little DVD - nary a scratch or hiss - nicely cleaned up!Frances - legend has - experienced a problem or two on the set of this flick - not a whisper on the end product - she's a professional to the core and very very contemporary. Great gowns by Edith Head!MARTHA RAYE debuts spectacularly and the 'gal lookin' for a guy' - such an underrated career!Great fun to see over and over again!"
One great film, one that's just so-so
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 09/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"RHYTHM OF THE RANGE (1936) is kind of a snoozy, disjointed comedy in which Bing Crosby plays a 1930s rodeo rider who ropes a society gal, and settles down in the wild West. Crosby's young and cute, but the film's plot is entirely deficient, and almost seems to have been made up on the fly. Look quick for a young Roy Rogers playing in the background during the big hoedown at the end; Martha Raye also debuts here as her typical man-hungry old maid. (Animal acting notes: check out the expression of the white horse Bing rides during a music number at the start -- hilarious! The bull he buys, named Cuddles, is kinda cute too.)By contrast, RHYTHM OF THE RIVER (1940) is a real gas, a brisk, amiable comedy with a sharp script and snappy dialogue. Bing stars as an unambitous pop music composer who ghostwrites smash hits for a society bandleader who's lost his Muse. When the unscrupulous bandleader (deliciously played by Basil Rathbone) has to hire a new lyricist, and she just happens to be the gal Bing was checking out in the elevator on the way up to Basil's office, well... romance is in the air. Mary Martin isn't my favorite actress of the era, but she's fine in this role, and the film whizzes along at a pleasant pace. An entirely enjoyable comedy that features Bing in one of his most cool, cute and urbane phases. Recommended!"
Douglas M | 09/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Crosby double feature is a fair example of the programmers which Paramount churned out in the thirties and early forties for the famous crooner. Both are pleasant entertainment and each contain a few memorable and some unintentionally funny moments.
"Rhythm on the Range" released in 1936, is clearly based on "It Happened One Night" with the intelligent and stunning Frances Farmer as the runaway heiress. Bing is miscast as a cowboy of sorts. Since Farmer has been urged to find a "real man" by her rather butch aunt, it is unintentionally funny that Crosby, with middle age spread and a notable lack of masculine prowess, becomes the object of her affections. There are other funny moments: for example, that shadow of the horse trainer visible in the rodeo when Bing sings and the arc light shone like a halo over Farmer in every scene. The songs are mainly duds sung with little gusto by Bing. The good moments are Martha Raye singing her signature tune "Mr Paganini" and everyone having a go at "I'm an Old Cowhand".
"Rhythm of the River" is a much better film with Bing more suitably cast as a ghost song writer for Basil Rathbone. Mary Martin plays the lyricist and as always, she impresses with her warmth, humour and delightful vocals. The script has bite, not surprising since Billy Wilder is listed in the credits and there is at least one memorable moment when Bing sings the title song in a pawn shop.
Both films' scripts refer to Bing as a young man at least once and this is ludicrous since he clearly was not. Thank goodness Bob Hope turned up to galvanise him into animation in the Road Pictures.
The prints are immaculate and there are no extras which is OK since this is not an expensive DVD."