Friday, February 08, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Carnival Boat (1932)

CARNIVAL BOAT is a somewhat creaky tale starring William Boyd (aka Hopalong Cassidy) as Buck Gannon, a logger who is torn between loyalty to his logging camp manager father (Hobart Bosworth), and his girl, who works on a show boat (Ginger Rogers). The father, who wants Buck to succeed him as manager, disapproves of the show business girl distracting his son.

I don't "get" Boyd as a leading man, and he and Bosworth (whose career went back to early silents) tend to act at times as though they're in an old-style melodrama. The film's other drawback is that some of the action sequences rely on speeded-up film and poor back projections, which make the film look quite quaint in spots.

The film does get more interesting as it goes along, and a big plus is the evocative location shooting. Much of the film was shot outdoors, and the movie has a real fresh-air feel to it. The movie was filmed at Big Pines, California, in L.A. County (not to be confused with Big Pine on California's Highway 395). A sequence with a river log jam is particularly exciting.

Ginger Rogers is, of course, another plus for the film. As Buck's love, Honey, she doesn't have a great deal to do, but a movie is always interesting when Ginger is on the screen.

The director was Albert S. Rogell. The film runs a short 62 minutes.

CARNIVAL BOAT is not on DVD or VHS but can be seen on cable on TCM. Click here to request that it be added to TCM's upcoming schedule.


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