review for Stand up and Cheer on AllMovie

Stand up and Cheer (1934)
by Hal Erickson review

For something that was supposed to be a "feel good" movie, Fox Studios' Stand Up and Cheer seems curiously grim when seen today. This "happy-go-lucky" musical seems at times to be as carefree as a funeral dirge: The two musical production numbers performed by Nick (later Dick) Foran, "I'm Laughin'" and "We're Out of the Red," are as grotesquely photographed and staged as a Frankenstein picture, while the climactic parade of America's uniformed "working class" -- policemen, milkmen, maids, garbagemen, domestics, all marching in lock-step -- looks like something out of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. The racist routines of black comedian Stepin Fetchit go far beyond tasteless, reaching a nadir when Fetchit chases after a bigoted talking penguin (whose "Jimmy Durante" voice was supplied by Lew Brown, one of the film's musical composers). Equally hard to take are the knockabout antics of Frank Mitchell and Jack Durant and the monumentally unfunny hillbilly routine by John "Skins" Miller (though all three of these comedians received excellent reviews when the picture was first released!).