Swing High Swing Low is a new coat of paint on the old stage play Burlesque, first filmed in 1929 as The Dance of Life. Ex-serviceman Skid Johnson (Fred MacMurray) rises to the uppermost rungs of show business as a bandleader. As his fame swells, so does his head, and he becomes impossibly arrogant, forgetting the friends who helped him get to the top -- not to mention his ever-faithful sweetheart, band vocalist Maggie King (Carole Lombard). Consuming great quantities of booze, Skid hits the skids, ending up a skid-row derelict (there seems to be a pattern here). The ultimate humiliation comes when he isn't even allowed to return to the Army because his insides are shot. In the film's calculatedly teary finale, Skid is rescued emotionally and professionally by Maggie, now a big star in her own right. As indicated by the synopsis, the film is banal and old-hat, but the stars are terrific, especially Carole Lombard, who sings in several scenes (and not all that badly!) Swing High, Swing Low was remade in 1948 as When My Baby Smiles at Me.
by Hal Erickson synopsis