Sunday, 26 July 2015

For the Love of Mike (1932)

Bobby Howes

Oh dear. Where do I start? Much as I would like to be able to say something positive about this film, I’m afraid I can’t. It’s supposedly a musical, but there are hardly any songs - we have to wait 20 minutes for the first one - and those few there are really aren’t very memorable.

Someone, somewhere, somehow managed to come up with the notion that Bobby Howes (the father of Halfway House and Dead of Night star Sally Ann Howes) could be a star. OK, he had a successful stage career, but as a comic lead in films he really doesn’t have what it takes. His singing voice isn’t particularly impressive, he’s no dancer, he isn’t funny, he isn’t good looking and he is way too old to be playing the romantic lead. And he's quite camp ... he's more convincing sitting on Arthur Riscoe's lap ...
Arthur Riscoe & Bobby Howes
... than with Constance Shotter sitting on him:
Bobby Howes & Constance Shotter
So does he have any talents whatsoever?

Well, he does do quite a good impression of a monkey. Yes, you heard it right, the highpoint of this film is Bobby Howes pretending to be a monkey.
Bobby Howes
Yes, you read that correctly: the highpoint of this film is a man doing a monkey impression. After all, if that scene had not been included, I would have argues watching Wylie Watson sing and play the cello was the most impressive thing:

And I quite liked the rather surreal image of Wylie Watson's face mixed up with the mechanism of a clock:
Wylie Watson

It’s an hour or so of my life I am never going to get back … so a word of advice: If you think you fancy watching a British musical comedy from the 1930s may I recommend you watch something starring Stanley Lupino (such as Cheer Up or Over She Goes). Unless you are an obsessive completist, who needs to see every musical ever made in the UK (or a masochist), you should probably avoid Bobby Howes.
Here's the cast:

But if you are an absolutely devoted fan of British cinema, with no concerns over whether a film actually has any merits, For the Love of Mike is currently available on DVD: