Lucky Boy: Directed by Norman Taurog, Charles C. Wilson. With George Jessel, Gwen Lee, Richard Tucker, Gayne Whitman. A young Jewish man works in his father’s jewelry business, but he doesn’t like it at all–he wants to be an entertainer, something he knows that his father would never approve of. He comes up with a scheme to put on his own show in a theater and show his father that he can be a success, but things don’t work out quite as well as he planned.
I found a copy of this on a dvd store’s website, making the (incorrect) assumption that they were legit dvds, but when it arrived in the mail and had a custom store label on a dvd-r, I realized my mistake. There’s no official copies of this out there to my knowledge, but I wanted to check it out since it’s the first appearance of Glenda Farrell, my current movie focus. She’s definitely here as a secretary and she does a great job in the limited role she plays, but the rest of the film turned out to be pretty good too. It’s a very familiar story, with a kid that wants to do more with his life than what his family has planned for him, but what’s of interest to me is that this is 50/50 on being a silent film with dialogue cards mixed in with scenes with ADR and foley work.
There’s two scenes that stuck out to me, the first is in a series of jokes that the main character makes while on stage that feature a whole line about how Ford cars don’t work if you speak Jewish around them, a clear reference to Henry Ford’s antisemitism, it was shocking to hear it be called out so clearly in a movie from 1929.
The second scene is a shockingly familiar one that’s much like the scene from “Smart Blonde”. In that movie they were chasing after a woman at a train station and asked three black porters about where she was and to say the way they went about it was racist would be putting it lightly. Here in “Lucky Boy” there’s a similar scene, this time while on a train a porter / attendant has a couple interactions with the main guy and it’s just atrociously difficult to watch. Was “dummy train attendants” a trope of the time? In both movies the scenes are oddly placed and completely stick out from the rest of the movie.