Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934)

Hips,_Hips,_Hooray!_FilmPoster Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934)

Run time: Passed 68 min
Rating: 6.6
Genres: Comedy | Musical
Director: Mark Sandrich
Writers: Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby
Stars: Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Ruth Etting
Release Date: 2 February 1934 (USA)

4 responses to “Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934)”

  1. rgkeenan says:

    This one doesn’t showcase W&W at their best (see "Diplomaniacs" or "Half Shot at Sunrise" for that). The verbal badinage is generally lame, and the sight gags and slapstick are mainly of the "seen ’em before" variety. This is rather unfortunate, since the flick definitely has a dynamite premise. The boys are street hucksters promoting flavored lipstick, but thanks to ever-vivacious Dorothy Lee, manage to link up with a high-class, publicity-seeking cosmetics emporium.

    Despite the middling comedy antics, this is a must-see for pre-code aficionados. The opening number, a live radio studio broadcast featuring naked models in bathtubs (their naughty bits discreetly obscured by hair-do’s and foreground objects) is pretty eye-popping, as are the minimal outfits sported by the hot-to-trot sales crew in a risqué scene wherein the boys test the product "in vivo". Thelma Todd and famed songstress Ruth Etting are on hand, and the tunes are catchy enough. If you liked "Roman Scandals" and "Murder at the Vanities", by all means check it out.

  2. IMDBReviewer says:

    Two zany scam artists find it’s all HIPS, HIPS, HOORAY! when they meet the curvaceous owner of Maiden America Beauty Products and her lovely female employees.

    Wheeler & Woolsey (Bert Wheeler is the short guy with curly hair; Robert Woolsey is the bespectacled fellow with the cigar) star in this often hilarious film. The Boys were a perfect comedy duo and their movies are always great fun to watch (here they try to promote flavored lipsticks and get involved in a cross-country auto race, while keeping one jump ahead of the law ). It is indeed a pity that these very talented comics are all but forgotten now.

    Cute little Dorothy Lee returns as Wheeler’s perennial love interest. The beautiful & tragic Thelma Todd, a very gifted comedienne in her own right, puts the spark in Woolsey’s eye.

    Movie mavens will spot an unbilled Bobby Watson, who gets one funny line as a Dance Director.

    Director Mark Sandrich keeps the plot moving at a frantic pace throughout. Some of the sights & situations push the borders of good taste in this pre-Production Code movie.

    The Boys, Miss Lee & Hot Toddy do a wild burlesque of Diaghilev during their performance of `Just Keep On Doing What You’re Doing’. Singer Ruth Etting drops by long enough to trill `Keep Romance Alive’ at a radio broadcast featuring ungarmented bathing models.

    And, yes, those really are frogs climbing out of the race car’s radiator…

  3. IMDBReviewer says:

    Another little gem from the mad 30s boys of RKO as this frenetically paced oddity takes us from flavoured lipsticks to a mad Keystone-like car race in the space of just over an hour. Alongside cigar-chomping Woolsey and irritating little Wheeler we have Dorothy Lee (as per usual) and Thelma Todd playing the cutie romantic interest parts, and a short song right at the beginning from third-billed Ruth Etting (in a rather fetching hat).

    Best sequences in this one – "Just Keep On Doin’ What You’re Doin’", really funny – the whole car race sequence, and the bevy of cuties with flavoured lipsticks ("we’ve got to guess what flavour" – oh, sure …). I bet the set cleaners at RKO were knee-deep in bananas by the end of the shoot though 🙂

  4. rgkeenan says:

    That's what they called Ruth Etting when she appeared in feature films. In the late 20s and early 30s Ruth Etting was the top female singer on the radio. She started with a lilting almost childish delivery but by the thirties it was replaced by a plaintive, haunting quality, especially suited to Depression era ballads ("Body and Soul", "Love Me or Leave Me", "I'm Dancing With Tears in My Eyes"). By the time she was ready for feature films (after having made numerous musical "Vitaphone Varieties") she was in her 30s and her looks were distinctive rather than beautiful. So to take advantage of her popularity she was used as "box office bait" – where her name was displayed prominently on the credits (usually just after the official star), she would come in at the beginning, usually playing herself (so you knew she was not going be a big part of the plot) sing a song or two and exit.

    In "Hips, Hips, Hooray" Ruth sang "Keep Romance Alive" to open the film, then the rest of the songs were given to Dorothy Lee. By 1934 Wheeler and Woolsey were losing their popularity but Dorothy Lee was always the reason to see their movies. The film starts with a song and a parade of scantily clad girls advertising the latest in perfumes. Miss Frisby (the tragic Thelma Todd) is the manager of Maiden America Cosmetics – sales are down even though the latest advertising gimmick has scantily clad girls sitting in shop windows, demonstrating how to put on lipstick. Daisy's (Dorothy Lee) job is on the line -she is not making sales and she is not helped by Wheeler and Woolsey as a pair of traveling salesmen peddling flavoured lipstick just across the road. They help her out and in turn are offered a job by Miss Frisbee.

    There is a funny sketch involving the boy's car – they live in it and have coffee in the radiator, eggs under the seat and an endless supply of bananas. They have told Daisy they are millionaires and Miss Frisbee thinks they will be an answer to her almost bankrupt company's dreams. They manage to secure an office but in the process take the wrong bag that has securities and bonds in it but leave their lipstick bag behind. Miss Frisbee vamps and does her stuff to get them to put up the money that she thinks they have. "Two minds with a single thought" says Miss Frisbee looking at Daisy and Bert – Woolsey replies "That's about all they can handle at the same time". "Just Keep on Doin' What You're Doin'" is a really cute song, first sang by adorable Dorothy Lee and then all do a dance inspired by Diaghilev. The song is reprised through out the film, in a cute park scene and also at the end.

    The boys are being followed by a pair of dim-witted policemen that they engage in a lively game of pool. George Meeker plays Armand Beauchamp, the real rat in the ranks. He is giving the firms advertising secrets away to his girlfriend's company – Madame Irene Cosmetics (Phyliss Barry). The climax is an exciting car-race that is hit by a cyclone. Of course the boys win the race and the girls. There is a really cute scene at the end where the boys are taking their families out for a drive – a little boy (he is a real cutie) is dressed up like Woolsey complete with horn rimmed glasses and a bowler hat.


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