Daily Projection, 12-6-2018: Tanned Legs (1929)

Title: Tanned Legs
Director: Marshall Neilan
Country of Origin: USA
Year: 1929
Screening format: Streaming
Setting: Home
First viewing: Yes

Notes: Early musical in a Broadway review style, the first half or so is mostly musical numbers tied together loosely by plot, though story does begin to dominate as the picture progresses and what starts as a carefree summer holiday becomes increasingly high stakes, culminating in a memorable (for the attendees, anyway) charity show. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds are shameless flirts each aiming to make the other jealous, yet only succeeding in getting swindled and embarrassing their two daughters, the eldest enthralled with the smooth talking Clinton Darrow, while the youngest, Peggy, is nearly engaged to sweet, bumbling Bill (a young Arthur Lake). Much of the dialog, particularly the comedic elements peppered with double entendre, is straight outta Vaudeville (Mrs.Reynolds: “Well, I do it all by myself – just as I have to do everything so far as you’re concerned.”). More than anything else,the real highlight of Tanned Legs is the presence of Follies and Scandals veteran Ann Pennington in the fittingly small (Pennington was only 4’10”) role of Tootie. Pennington sings twice (“Your Responsible”and “Tanned Legs”) and dances a few numbers, though none of her trademark routines appear in this, one of her few recorded performances. Also, a possible Dorothy McNulty sighting in the chorus line of the first number, hard to say for sure, though.

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