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All Movie GuideParamount's final Big Broadcast musical had perhaps the least exciting musical lineup of the series Tito Guizar, The Shep Fields Orchestra, and opera singer Kirsten Flagstad are hardly household names today, but a slightly stronger storyline than the others, as well as a top-notch comic cast. This time out, most of the action takes place as sea, as S.B. Bellows W.C. Fields shows off his new invention: an ocean liner that can turn radio signals into electricity and part the waves at 100 miles per hour. He challenges another ship to a race while a number of music and comedy acts appear in the ship's showroom. Along with Fields, who performs several classic pool and golf routines, Martha Raye, Dorothy Lamour, and Ben Blue add to the laughs; Bob Hope made his feature debut here, and he even sings his future theme song, "Thanks for the Memories".
It's hard to go wrong with such stars as Bob Hope, Burns & Allen, Martha Raye and Edward Everett Horton, and College Swing doesn't-go wrong, that is. The film begins in 1738, when a pact is drawn up between the Alden family and a highly respected Colonial college: If any female member of the family can pass her college exams within a 200-year period, ownership of the institution will be turned over to her. Comes 1938, and the last of the Alden girls, giddy Gracie Alden Grace Allen, of course hires glib-tongued tutor Bud Brady Hope to help her pass her exams. She also tries to win over no-nonsense professor Hubert Dash Horton, who has no intention of handing his college over to a blithering idiot like Gracie. Once she has inherited the place, however, Gracie turns it into a jumpin'-jivin' joint, complete with jitterbugging students, swing bands and remote radio broadcasts. Though George Burns' role is nearly nonexistent, he does get to indulge in his patented cross-talk with Gracie. Others contributing to the fun are Ben Blue, Jerry Colonna, Betty Grable, and Betty's then-husband Jackie Coogan. Highlights include Gracie's spirited Irish jig and her endearing song duet with Horton. College Swing is the sort of high-powered, all-star entertainment that is virtually impossible to reproduce today.