Remote Control (1930)

Article 4797 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-11-2015
Directed by Nick Grinde, Edward Sedgwick and Malcolm St. Clair
Featuring William Haines, Charles King, Mary Doran
Country: USA
What it is: Comedy / Thriller

A cocky opportunist attempts to save a dying radio station by hiring new talent. However, he ends up hiring a phony spiritualist who uses his airtime to pass info on to a criminal group known as the “ghost gang”.

From what I read on IMDB, William Haines was a phenomenally popular actor of the time who was one of the top draws near the end of the silent era. He is the one who dominates this film and I gather from this movie’s high rating on IMDB (7.6 at the time I write this), there are many who find his shtick irresistible. Unfortunately, I don’t appear to be one of them; I sat stone-faced through his antics in this film, though I will entertain the possibility that he may have to grow on you a bit, as I found myself growing less annoyed with him as I got used to him. At any rate, the most amusing scene in the movie is when he auditions a series of questionable radio-star-wannabes, including a hog caller and a stuttering piccolo player. The movie eventually becomes more of a crime thriller when Haines gets kidnapped by the gang, and must find a way out of his captivity and to let the police know where the gang will strike next. The fantastic content is the phony spiritualist act, which really doesn’t come into play that much during the movie, so it’s pretty light in this regard. Ultimately, I would probably only recommend this to Haines devotees.


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