"Double Or Nothing"

DEAN posted 10/09/04 04:27 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Being a huge fan of Bings, I really want to say something nice about this film --- so I will. It has some good songs and Bing sings them with his usual casual mastery, when he is allowed too! Mary Carlisle is nice to look at without offering much of interest in the vocal department.

It really is unfair to criticise these thirties products when we are so far removed by time from the depression audiences who originally watched them. I saw an early Gene Autry film yesterday and it looked and sounded as if it had been made in somebody's back lot by a crowd of village idiots. As Goldwyn says," We've all passed a lot of water since then."

It's probably a good thing to have old vaudeville acts recorded on film for posterity; but why did so many of them have to be used to pad out some of Bing's films from this era? I found myself reaching for the fast forward button on occasion.

This film always reminds me of the way Bing's great upbeat song,"Smarty," was sabotaged by that well remembered director Theadore Wassname. Bing fires off one bouncing chorus before being drowned out as he attempts to repeat it by some overweight buffoon bellowing in a mock operatic style. I find the decision to do this inexplicable, though it was not the first nor the last time that it was done to Bing by people who evidently had no idea that the crowds came to hear him sing and not to watch their third rate tricky camera work.

I'm older now. People were different then and their expectations were lower. They probably whistled the songs on the way out of the plush cinema. As Bing remarked on radio over here about a different film he'd recently made:-

"While it was no great shakes as a picture, it did have some nice songs."

It did indeed.
Lee posted 10/12/04 09:54 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I watched Double Or Nothing over the weekend. A one word reaction to the movie? Weird. But as Dean says these were different times and different standards of entertainment. It was a bit of the bizarro world, but not completely. For the postitive side, Bing "looked mahvelous", sounded fantastic (at least of what I could hear of him with that clown bellowing each time Bing opened his mouth in one of the Bing songs featured). The songs Bing sang, "Smarty" "Moon Got In My Eye" (or something like that?) "All You Wanna Do Is Dance" were great. My favorite scene? When Bing was dancing and singing with Mary Carlisle, "All You Wanna Do Is Dance". It was clearly filmed live and with much ad-lib commenting from Bing as they both danced rather wildly. Great impromptu moment in Bing film history. For some reason though I didn't find Mary Carlisle as cute in this movie as I found her in "Dr. Rhythm". Don't know why, but she was still good. Conversely, Andy Divine was more likeable in this movie than he was in "Rhythm". Seeing my favorite grouch, Fred Mertz, in his younger days was a treat for me. Though he didn't look much different here than he did on Lucy and My 3 Sons 25 years later. Also enjoyed seeing the guy who always plays a drunk in the Laurel and Hardy shorts show up here playing a drunk in "Double or Nothin'" I will admit though to fast forwarding through some of the way out bizarre acrobatic acts that were part of the "show" Bing, in the movie, put on. These were really bad, even for '30's standards.
All in all for a '30's movie this one wasn't too bad. This one sure ranks though in the bottom half of quality fun Bing movies. Not the worst Bing movie, but it has plenty of worst moments to share with the others. Best part of this movie as with all these wierd '30's Bing movies are the songs Bing sings. These are always great and make even the worst of these turkeys worth watching. That's why I watch these movies, to see Bing sing and see how great he looked back then. I don't watch these movies because I consider them film classics.
David Lobosco posted 10/12/04 11:37 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I agree with Dean and Lee that DOUBLE OR NOTHING is a strange movie and the plot is bizarre, but the big draw is Bing Crosby and his great songs. I even didn't mind the opera singer/chef butting in on Bing's version of SMARTY. The big draw back characterwise was Martha Raye. Her character was just bizarre, but the film was not bad.

On a side observation, I was wondering how Dean could even watch DOUBLE OR NOTHING. Being from a poor backwards cockney village in England, he must watch American films with subtitles in his own dialect so he can understand them! Just kidding...

DOUBLE OR NOTHING...I rate it a 7 out of 10.
Lars posted 10/15/04 09:38 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I watched this movie only a couple of months ago. It was the second "watching" as I got a copy of it only the other year. I haven't passed that much water since I watched it maybe a month ago and I must admit that I can't make myself watch it again for a while. Two things that anoyed me the most was how Bing's first song was spoiled by that so called operasinger... It's totally impossible to understand how they decided to film the song in this fashion.... The other things was the many corny numbers during the show they put on during the end - I (like Lee) pushed the fastforward button too! There's a couple of nice songs in the movie and many great actors, but Martha Raye always put me off. I love Andy Devine and William Frawley though. I only get the feeling they could have used this story better. It could have been much funnier. It's not one of my favorite Crosby flicks but still worth watching. But I think I'll need a few years between...

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