Mad About Money (1938)

aka Stardust
Article 4570 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-30-2014
Directed by Melville W. Brown
Featuring Ben Lyon, Lupe Velez, Wallace Ford
Country: UK
What it is: Musical

Two men trying to put together a feature-length musical film to demonstrate a new color film process find themselves in trouble when they lose their biggest backer. One of them romances a rhumba dancer who is posing as an heiress in the hopes that he can convince her to finance the film; she’s actually trying to get her best friend into the picture.

There are two fantasy musical numbers here (one in which a songwriter finds himself on trial by the ghosts of famous composers for trying to lift the melody of “The Blue Danube” for his film, and the other where various members of the cast go to outer space on a rocket) that give the movie its fantastic content. As for the rest of the movie, well… unless you happen to find the above plot description intriguing, most of the movie consists of an insignificant, over-complicated story told with maximum dullness; it’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie in which I cared less about what was going on. Yes, there’s a certain entertainment value in the weirdness of the two musical numbers mentioned above, but neither of them are staged in a particularly interesting fashion, and the other musical numbers have even less going for them. There is a certain interest factor in the presence of silent screen funnyman Harry Langdon in the cast, but he’s barely in it and isn’t really given much to do. Quite frankly, this one is a waste of time.

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