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The Big Broadcast of 1938

USA 1938
produced by
Harlan Thompson, William LeBaron (executive), Leon Schlesinger (animation sequence only) for Paramount
directed by Mitchell Leisen
starring W.C. Fields, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Shirley Ross, Leif Erickson, Martha Raye, Lynne Overman, Ben Blue, Patricia Wilder, Grace Bradley, Rufe Davis, Lionel Pape, Dorothy Howe (= Virginia Vale), Russell Hicks, Kirsten Flagstad, Wilfrid Pelletier, Tito Guízar, Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra, Richard Denning, Leonid Kinskey, Lal Chand Mehra, Edgar Norton
story by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, adaptation by Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse, sceenplay by Walter DeLeon, Francis Martin, Ken Englund, music by Gordon Jenkins, John Leipold, George Parrish, Victor Young, musical direction by Boris Morros

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A race across the Atlantic between the super-modern cruise liners Gigantic and Colossal. Gigantic owner Bellows (W.C. Fields) wants to leave nothing to chance to win the race, so he sends his brother (also W.C. Fields) onto the Colossal - to do nothing in particular, but he knows his brother just attracts chaos, and him just being there will be enough to (innocently) sabotage the Colossal's chances to win the race. However, brother Bellows is so chaotic that he actually boards the Gigantic by accident, and in a matter of minutes, he has pretty much ruined the Gigantic's engines, but is so obsessed with himself that he won't let the ship's engineer (Leif Erickson) repair them, and he locks the whole crew away to steer the ship through iceberg infested waters himself. However, the engineer manages to repair the engine anyhow, and in the end, the Gigantic defeats the Colossal by no more than a few feet.

A subplot involves the Gigantic's master of ceremonies (Bob Hope) losing his fiancée (Dorothy Lamour) to the engineer but getting back together with his third ex-wife (Shirley Ross).


Simply put, a rather disappointing movie: Basically, the premise has potential, but instead of being developed into an actual story with build-up, highlights, resolution and everything it's just a series of sketches in which W.C. Fields' central character seems more than a little inconsistent even (though he has quite a few funny moments at least). And the ending seems to come out of nowhere. Then the story is even interrupted by the lovestory revolving around Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour which is more than a bit disappointing (whoever thought it would make a compelling story to have Dorothy Lamour leave loveable loser Bob Hope for your typical bland handsome guy Leif Erickson ... well, was wrong) and musical numbers that set in a bit too randomly and lack any real panache.

Oh, and by the way, Fields and Hope share next to no screentime in this film and do not actually interact with one another.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD