Dr. Rhythm

Sue Horn posted 09/02/04 02:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Dr. Rhythm is one of my favorite earlier Bing movies, partly because it has a song I've always loved, "My Heart is Taking Lessons", and partly because it has a madcap story that makes little or no sense, but is a lot of fun.

Any of you who have seen "Jumanji" might be qamazed at the similarities between the animals in tht modern Robin Williams flick and the scene where the animals escape from the zoo. This one was made a long time ago folks, and they either braved having real animals going berserk or had some special effects that I don't think were possible back then.

Andy Devine is a guy you either love or hate, and he doesn't rub me the wrong way too much here. His voice could be a bit whiny, but he seems to be a good guy, and he's a sufficiently entertaining sidekick for this movie.

Sterling Holloway, with his Winnie the Pooh voice, is a young man here, and he had good comedic gifts. Beatrice Lillie takes the cake, though. Her scene in the shop with the gloves is priceless.

So, though the plot has tons of holes if you analyze it, don't, and you'll enjoy this one. Good music, gorgeous Bing, nice leading lady, sufficient mistaken identity twists and turns to keep you confused yet engaged. Who could ask for anything more?
Ron Field posted 09/02/04 03:39 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Beatrice Lillee's 'dozen damskins (?) napkins' is a real treat.
'On the sentimental side' is a nice song too.
Talking of 'My Heart Is Taking Lessons', back in 1999, Wollongong Council (about 50 miles south of Sydney) started playing Bing's version of this NON STOP from late night to try and stop young people from loitering.
Not sure how long they kept this up. They also had special florecent lighting, you know the lights, make things look purple/blue.
The action received space in the press and on the wireless as well.
Ron Field
Lars posted 09/06/04 07:23 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I watched said movie yesterday together with my girlfriend. We both agreed at once that Bea Lillie wasn't really our cup of tea.... And my girlfriend Maria didn't feel that Bing came off to full advantage in the movie. She thought "My heart is taking lessons" was catchy - and it sure was because I couldn't help myself - I hummed to myself now and then throughout the movie. The story was a strange mix though... Especially Maria enjoyed when Bing knocked down one of 3 sailors - we even replayed the scene once. She enjoyed both the hit and the dive.... But she insists that the best thing was the song "My heart is taking lessons".

I had hoped to have the chance to show Maria some other Crosby movies before DR RHYTHM, but she insisted that we should go ahead with "the movie of the month" - even though I wanted to screen either "Welcome stranger" or "Mississippi" before we went into some of the lesser Crosby flicks like this... now that I've transferred almost every Crosby movie that I've got to DVD. But I hope we'll find time to watch these before the end of the month. I've been moving last week and spent most of the weekend trying to get everything into place, otherwise we might have been able to watch a couple of more Crosby movies. It's a joy to watch these movies together with somebody who's new to it all. It also gives me the chance to tell some anecdotes or stories about the movie or Bing... Loads of fun indeed! Even if it's not one of Bing's best movies...

Lars posted 09/07/04 01:49 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
While not necessarily a comment to the movie after we finished watching the movie, my girlfriend Maria also commented with surprise that she thought it strange Bing was not mentioned more often when they (the media etc) spoke about artists or musicians who influenced the music etc... Especially as she noted Bing was respected by his fellow artists - as a example she mentioned the Sammy Davis when they recorded the soundtrack for Robin and the seven Hoods - or from people in the moviebusiness. She couldn't understand that the common man of today knew not more about him... How important he really was or how big he was especially during the 30's and 40's, but still an icon well into the 1960's. Still it's always Sinatra that is mentioned... I found her reaction interesting. While I've of course told her a lot about Bing, she's also borrowed some books to get to know even more about our man Bing on her own! She really wants to learn about him without (without me putting any pressure on her). Still it's interesting to see how somebody fairly new to Bing reacts very much like most of the people who's been spending many years appreciating and collecting the many facets of Bing's artistry.
Lee posted 09/28/04 10:43 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Well, finally got a chance to watch our Sept. movie, "Dr. Rhythm". The first 5 min. of the movie worried me, it looked like another '30's bizarro type, but then after the initial opening scene in the zoo, the movie turned into a nice little comedy-Bing music film. I thought I wouldn't like it but I did. The plotline has already been fogotten by me, but the "melody lingers on". The songs Bing sings in this movie are some of his very best. From "On The Sentimental Side" to one of my favorite Bing songs, "My Heart is Taking Lessons". Now most of these songs were sung in the most unusual koo-koo settings. At one point Bing is singing a love song to birds while monkeys are swinging and swaying with the melody. Weird, but nice also in a whacky way. But the most effective Bing song sung in an appropriate way and how you'd like to see Bing sing a love song was "This Is My Night To Dream". Wow! This one song alone would have made a great Bing Music Video. It reminded me of when Bing sang "It's Easy To Remember" in the movie "Dixie". Great girl background singers and hummers purred while Bing sang "This Is My Night To Dream" just like they did on "It's Easy To Remember". While "My Heart Is Taking Lessons" might be a better song as a record, "My Night To Dream" was the best Bing movie song to see performed. It was one of those special memorable Bing moments that makes the whole movie worthwhile and stays in your memory of great Bing moments.

Mary Carlisle was very cute and seemed a great girl partner for Bing (as opposed to Joan Blondell in our last movie). I don't think Mary was a sister to Kitty, but she was great in this movie. Andy Divine was in the movie too, but I like Andy better when he got old. He looked odd in his younger days. Beatrice Lillie was quite an entertaining figure in this movie, and I imagine quite a good time in real life. She seemed quite abandoned and wild for girl in the '30's. Her songs were funny, though her "Dibble dabble nipkins" routine got old with me fast. While I have heard tell that Bob Hope was in this movie, I didn't see hide nor hair of him. Maybe he was hiding behind a wall on the set. That's seems to be the only way I can figure saying Bob was in this movie. I didn't see him, if anyone knows where or what scene he is supposed to be in, let us know. So all together this started out as a bizarro type movie but soon turned into a very enjoyable light Bing music comedy with great character actors sprinkled throughout, like Sterling "Winnie the Pooh" Holloway. So a good time is to be had by all if you give a watch to "Dr. Rhythm". I still wouldn't say this is one of my all time favorite Bing movies, but the "Night To Dream" sequence is certainly one of Bing's very best film moments. Guess this movie would get either 2 1/2 stars or if I'm feeling jolly maybe even 3 stars, the song sequence "Night To Dream" gets 5 stars.

One more thing. I believe I caught a film blooper too. If you look real fast, when all the birds and monkeys escape, after Andy lets them out, you see Bing flying backward as birds and monkey come his way and as he goes back his hat comes off revealing a exceedingly receding hair line. He's bald. You'll have to hit the still on your VCR as this happens but his rather sparse hairtop is flashed as his hat flies off. Later he's got a full head of hair back on for scenes shot without his hat.
Ron Field posted 09/28/04 02:16 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Lee, "It's Easy To Remember" was in 'Mississippi' not 'Dixie', although both are 'down upon the swanee river', ie, the south.
Lee posted 09/28/04 03:00 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Oops. Got my South Bing movies mixed. Well then, what was the song Bing sang at the beginning of the color movie "Dixie"? I thought that was "Easy To...". Well, at any rate that "Night To Dream" sequence was a thing of beauty.
Ron Field posted 09/28/04 07:01 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Lee, 'Sunday, Monday or Always' was in the film but I think he was beside a river bank and sang it to Marjorie Reynolds, then there is 'the minstrel' sector and as mentioned 'Swing Low'.
Go to Bing's films on this site and you'll find the songs listed for each film, pluis the plot.

While I'm in here - The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, in Wednesday's paper - 29th. September, that is tomorrow as it is 10am there at this moment in time, Bing is mentioned.
The article talks about the LPGA moving to Mexico next year for an LPGA event.
The paper says "...the last time an LPGA event was held in Mexico was the Bing Crosby International Classic in 1974 and 1975.
Jim Kukura posted 09/28/04 10:00 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I watched Dr. Rhythm last night, and I did not think it was even it the top two-thirds of Bing's films. The film was not really bad, but there was too much of the film that was just bolted on. At this stage of his career, I don't believe that the Paramount execs had recognized that Bing's acting talents were growing by leaps and bounds. To them, each film was still just a flimsy vehicle to showcase Bing singing, and I think they felt they needed to punch up the film with other attractions, such as Beatrice Lillie's napkin routine. That napkin routine may have been state-of-the-art comedy in 1938, but it sure doesn't do much for the film today. Likewise the escaping animals at the zoo is realy stale in 2004, and probably has been for many years since 1938.

Bing was really good, when he was in the film, and a darn good looking officer of the law, and I found Mary Carsile enchanting. Andy Devine and Sterling Holloway (it was him this time I'm sure) were both good actors and good comedians, so they always are an asset, especially in a film like this. Although I did not appreciate the napkin routine, it was good to see Franklin Pangborn again, he of the Crosby Mack Sennett short, "Blue Of The Night".

While the James V. Monaco/Johnny Burke score was not bad, it did not hit on as many cylinders as most of their work. The only song to chart from this film was "On The Sentimental Side" which was able to top out at the number 4 chart position. I'm really surprised that "This Is My Night To Dream", didn't chart. A song that good by Bing was almost sure-fire to chart, but maybe it just missed the top twenty, which is all there was back then. Rounding out the songs worth mentioning is "My Heart Is Taking Lessons", a kind of semi novelty song that is pleasent enough to listen to, but understandably not chart material.

Once again, we have a film with Bing smoking a pipe and lighting a match with his fingernail. There was a Louis Armstrong listed as an entertainer, but I presume a different Louis Armstrong from Satchmo.

Trivia question: name the films in which Bing played a medical doctor.
Lars posted 09/29/04 02:02 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Now that you mentioned it Jim, Bing played a medical doctor several times in his movies; Dr Cooks Garden, Stagecoach and one of my all-time favorite Crosby-flicks, Welcome Stranger (also of course Dr Rhythm). Did I miss any?
Lars posted 09/29/04 02:06 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
About Satchmo; I've read somewhere that it was indeed THE Louis Armstrong - but that his part was deleted (unfortunately) before the premiere.

I didn't appreciate the comedy of Bea Lillie that much. On the other hand she's much funnier than, for instance, Jerry Lewis. The Bea napkin routine reminds me about Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" - it drags out for way too long. Less is more at times... The movie is OK - but could have been improved with more Bing and less Bea (IMO).
Jon O. posted 09/29/04 11:02 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Yes, I think this is the film from which Louis was cut. And the Bob Hope story - about losing a golf bet with Bing and having to appear in one of his pictures? If that story is true, then I think Bob must have ended up on the cutting room floor as well. We were badly cheated in both cases - those two could have really punched up this film. And I hate to be the one to bring up "Petticoat Junction" twice in one month (it's fate; I'm a child of '60's TV), but did anyone notice that the zookeeper/high school relay alumnus was the actor (Rufe Davis) who would play Floyd, the conductor of the Cannonball (alongside Gene Autry sidekick, engineer Smiley Burnett), nearly 30 years later in that CBS show? Just one more: Clark Kent's boss, Perry White (John Hamilton), is one of the police officers. Great Caesar's Ghost.

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