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Whoopee Reviews

After the smash hit Broadway show in 1928-29 finished its long run, Sam Goldwyn joined forces with Flo Ziegfeld to re-create "Whoopee" for one of the first Technicolor films, making Eddie Cantor a Goldwyn star and the song "Making Whoopee" a standard. Cantor plays Henry Williams, a hypochondriac whose supposedly poor health causes him to travel West with his nurse-companion Mary Custer (Ethel Shutt). They wind up in Arizona, where busybody Henry pokes his nose into the affairs of Sally Morgan (Eleanor Hunt). Sally is engaged to local sheriff Bob Wells (John Rutherford), but really loves Indian brave Wanenis (Paul Gregory). Henry manages to extricate Sally from Bob's arms into those of Wanenis, who, it later turns out, is really a paleface who had been abandoned and raised by local Native Americans. Several splendid Busby Berkeley production numbers, a bevy of "Goldwyn Girls" (among them a very young Betty Grable), and Oscar-nominated art direction by Capt. Richard Day enliven the silly plot--but the real drawing card is Cantor (just as it was Danny Kaye, when Goldwyn remade this movie as 1944's UP IN ARMS). Neither Goldwyn nor Ziegfeld enjoyed working with a partner, and the two split when Ziegfeld wanted his name first in the billing of the company. Goldwyn released the film in the nadir of the Depression and charged $5 per ticket, the equivalent of a day's pay back then.