Legendary Broadway comedian Joe Cook, who was capable of reducing audiences to paroxysms of helpless laughter by telling them what he wasn't going to do that evening, was invariably better than the shows in which he appeared. Fully aware of this, director Frank Capra brought Cook's 1928 stage musical Rain or Shine to the screen, cutting all of its songs and concentrating almost exclusively on the star. The mere wisp of a plot focuses on the tinker-toy travelling circus owned by heroine Joan Peers. Advance-man Cook does his best to stir up business and to avoid the sheriffs and process-servers, but it's an uphill battle. The climactic tent-fire scene is a cinematic tour de force for Capra, who'd improve upon it one year later in The Miracle Woman (1931). While Joe Cook's non-sequitur patter seems more bizarre than funny at times, he is always worth watching, as are his perennial stooges Tom Howard (who looks astonishingly like Robert Woolsey of Wheeler & Woolsey fame) and Dave Chasen (yes, the same Dave Chasen who later became a celebrated Hollywood restaurateur).
by Hal Erickson synopsis