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Artists and Models Reviews

In his first real starring role, Jack Benny plays the off-the-wall Mac Brewster, head of a struggling advertising agency dedicated to meeting the needs of its biggest (and damn near only) client, Alan Townsend (Richard Arlen), whose silver products are pitched in a variety of glitzy musical numbers. That much of the plot serves as an excuse for plenty of singing and dancing, but the rest of the film concerns the efforts of pretty Paula (Ida Lupino) to land the spot as the Townsend Silver Girl and to win the coveted crown of the queen of the Artists and Models Ball, with debutante status a prerequisite for entrance. Of course, Paula not only isn't a deb, she's a professional model (definitely not a plus); however, don't bet a couple of minor obstacles like these are going to stop her. Cynthia (Gail Patrick), a stunning society snob, has the inside track to the title, but Paula wins more than just the crown in the end. Benny, who plays the romantic lead as well as handling the main comedy chores, contributes a couple of hilarious bits, and a dance number by longtime Benny sideman Ben Blue and Judy Canova is another of the film's comic highlights. The song "Whispers in the Dark" (Leo Robin and Frederick Hollander), earned an Oscar nomination. Other numbers include "Pop Goes the Bubble," "Stop, You're Breaking My Heart," (Ted Koehler, Burton Lane); "I Have Eyes" (Ralph Rainer, Leo Robin); "Public Melody Number One" (Koehler, Harold Arlen), a massive production number choreographed by Vincente Minnelli, who left Hollywood after this film, thinking his first try a failure); and "Mr. Esquire" (Koehler, Victor Young) performed by the Personettes, a fanciful puppet act. This fast-paced film, directed by Raoul Walsh, also offers a knockout set piece featuring Louis Armstrong and Martha Raye.