Series: Musical

Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: William H. Terhune
Sound: Warren B. Delaplain

Stars: Jeanette Loff, Eddie Foy Jr, Don Barclay, Billy Nelson, William Austin, Arthur Housman
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 12 May 1934
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: M-6
Filming dates: March 1934
Rating: 4/10

A Duke For A Day

It's 11am when the maid wakes the lady of the house and movie star, Gloria Blossom (JEANETTE LOFF) . Gloria breaks out into a song whilst in bed before opening a magazine to read an article of how screen beauties are becoming nobility (including Connie Carmine who is now known as Princess Cytnpltumopoplopolus), and a newspaper advertisement with Gloria promoting Cupid's Caress bath soap. She is not amused and demands to speak to her press agent, Eddie. Eddie is in his office declaring how wonderful he is whilst his reporter repeatedly smashes his nuts into a drawer in order to crack them whilst dumpinbg the empty shelss into Eddie's hat.
After Eddie fails to dictate a coherent memo for his reporter to type up for the newspaper he leaves with the photographer Billy in order to go to Gloria's home and get her morning photograph. The men storm into Gloria's bedroom but she chews Eddie out for the rubbish work he done with her previously and demands better publicity from him, pointing him towards the magazine she was reading earlier. Gloria gives him 24 hours to get her better work or else he will be fired. The men leave when she begind hurling the contents of her breakfast tray in their direction. Meanwhile the hotel valet, one gentleman by the name of Algernon Montmorency Smythe (for God's sake!) is in his apartment listening to one of Gloria's records on his gramophone when the record explodes. Gloria phones Eddie to remind him has to marry her to a titled husband or else he will lose his job.
The valet turns up at Eddie's apartment to introduce himself and offer his services. He produces his card which identifies him as a former valet to His Royal Highness Grand Duke Cyril of Chillblania. This gives Eddie an idea! He offers Algernon $500 to marry Gloria that afternoon. The valet tries to leave but the guys bring him back. That afternoon the couple are married (surely there must be laws?) Gloria sings another song whilst walking down the aisle before having the usual rice and - a shoe - thrown at them both from the guests. Chaos then unfolds when the photographer falls down a manhole and explodes into the air, causing a guest to fall and accidentally pull a lever to activate the lawn sprinklers.
Back at the apartment Eddie gets his crew to take some photographs of the newlyweds and pays the valet-turned unexpected husband the $500 he promised, and offers him a further $500 "after the divorce". But Algernon declares he has a dream wife and has no intention of leaving her and confesses to Gloria that he is only a valet after a drunken hotel guest shows up at the apartment claiming the man stole his trousers. Eddie and Joe forcibly escort the husband out of the apartment but he comes back with the help of a hotel detective who gets clobbered with a vase by Eddie, who is then arrested. The newlyweds fight on the landing which leads to all the hotel guests getting involved in arguments where most of them get wet, one way or another (the scene with Estelle Etterre and Arthur Housman at the fountain is of particular interest!) It all comes to an end when Arthur Housman goes nuts with a fire hose and drenches the entire hotel lobby and everybody in it.

Favourite bit
Billy Nelson gets up on the ledge to get a photograph of the couple but ends up falling backwards out of it. It's the way he falls that made me laugh. No messing about, just straight out!

Copyrighted May 1, 1934.
The 6th film in the series to be produced, the 5th to be released.
There is some audio dubbing (cries of pain) in the scene where Billy Nelson trips over the stool with his camera and crashes into Don Barclay. It is very noticeable.
When Gloria throws the box of chocolates and it hits Billy Nelson, you can see he has some padding in the back of his trousers as he falls backwards.
Jeanette Loff certainly had a pair of lungs on her. Meaning, she could sing very well!
Arthur Housman is in room 411.
When Billy falls backwards out of the bedroom window [see favourite bit] watch the background with the buildings move, proving it was shot on a set.
In the scene where Arthur Housman is soaking Estelle Etterre with water why does she just stand there and let him do it. Surely human instinct would make you want to move out of the way? I'm not complaining though! See the "Risque" section at the bottom of this page. And I do mean "bottom".
My opinion
It's a comedy that tries far too hard to be funny, almost like it is forced. It's not funny; it's desperate.

Jeanette Loff
Gloria Blossom
Eddie Foy Jr.
Don Barclay
Joe Morgan
Billy Nelson
William Austin
Algernon Montmorency Smythe,
hotel valet
Arthur Housman
Harry Bernard
Hotel detective
Symona Boniface
Woman outside elevator
Charlie Hall
Man at wedding with dog
Theresa Harris
Jessie (Gloria's maid)
Fay Holderness
Woman in hotel lobby
Jack Norton
Man falling out of elevator
Rolfe Sedan
Hotel desk clerk
Al Thompson
Hotel guest
Estelle Etterre
Woman with soaked dress
Dick Gilbert
Wedding guest
Ruth Cherrington
Woman in lobby
Malcolm McTaggart
Elevator operator
Fay Holderness' husband

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Richard Finegan (still)
Richard W. Bann (identification of Estelle Etterre)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Ruth Cherrington, Malcolm McTaggart)

This page was last updated on: 28 May 2024