Wednesday, October 01, 2014

College Coach (William A. Wellman, 1933)

As the author of the indispensable coffee table book The Hollywood Musical: Every Hollywood Musical From 1927 to The Present (New York: Crown, 1981), Clive Hirschhorn is an oedipal father I have to kill. So I get snippy when I watch a film he deems a musical that turns out to be no so such thing. Hence College Coach, a tough, punchy campus flick typical of the programmers Wellman was pumping out in the early 1930s.
Of the five songs listed by Hirschhorn (and IDMb), one is a school song heard over the opening credits and five minutes later sung by a group of students around a piano. Another has only one line sung - a news reporter modifies "Just One More Chance" as "Just One More Pose." I heard neither "Meet Me in the Gloaming" nor "What Will I Do Without You?" at any point in the film (perhaps they formed part of the non-diegetic score). Which leaves only one song, "Lonely Lane" sung by Dick Powell for no discernible reason.

It's a serviceable enough hour-plus, though, that touches on corrupt college football coaches. Future Ed Wood luminary Lyle Talbot is in it and so is John Wayne in a brief speaking role.

Bresson scholars might want to check out a fight scene played out, in part, below the waist.
And I was partial to the moment when two boys dance together after a score.
But yeah, so not a musical.

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