As history, The Great American Broadcast leaves a lot to be desired, but as escapist entertainment, it's a nice enough way to while away the time. Forget about the plot; like many musicals of the period -- and especially those which involve radio broadcasts in a big way -- the story is of secondary importance. The screenwriters make an effort by setting the tale in the early days of radio, but they shoot themselves in the foot with a standard issue love triangle plot that doesn't make sense, in which characters behave stubbornly and stupidly only to give the plot some place to go. Fortunately, director Archie Mayo keeps things zipping along so that the plot doesn't matter that much. He does an especially good job with the set piece boxing sequence, and of course the musical numbers are quite good (even if some of the pieces would never really work over the sound-only medium of the radio). Alice Faye is her usual appealing self, in fine sultry voice and looking great. John Payne is stiff as expected but okay, and Jack Oakie provides energetic contrast and relief. The Nicholas Brothers dance up a storm, the Ink Spots deliver the goods on "If I Didn't Care" and the strange, whimsical Wiere Brothers add a special panache.
by Craig Butler review