If money talks, then "Smiles" easily takes the first place among the musical comedies of this year, for Mr Ziegfeld has dug deep into the family coffers to furbish his present opus with such a wealth of talent and personality as has not been seen on the Boston stage for many a year.
First, but in this instance not particularly foremost, there is Marilyn Miller. Her dancing is perfection, and what she sings is indeed well sung. Then there are the inimitable Astaires, a brother and sister team that is mostly sister but which as a unit is at all times thoroughly diverting. And although their names are not printed on the programs in black-faced type there are Eddie Foy Jr., and Tom Howard, the former one of the few that can raise a drunk scene to high art, and the latter one who makes no pretensions as to art but who can get far more whole-hearted laughs than a score of ordinary musical comedy wise-crackers Mr Ziegfeld has given his faithful public nothing to complain of as far as the personal of "Smiles" is concerned.
The plot, from the pen of William Anthony McGuire, will probably not go down in history as one of the great dramatic sages of the age, but then audiences have long since stopped worrying about the trials of despondent suitors, knowing that in the end true love will triumph, and in "Smiles" the usual wedding bells are clanging as the curtain descends and the evening is theoretically a success. It would have been a greater success . It would have been a greater success had Vinsent Youmans provided a better score for the music in this production is woe fully weak. There are one or two pleasant exceptions to the musical mediocrity for instance "Be Good to Me" and the lyrics are really clever. The latter some by Ring Lardner, some by Clifford Grey and Havold Adamson the last of whom wrote the lyrics for the Hasty Pudding Show last spring are consistently good.
Taken all in all "Smiles is fair enough in the musical comedy world, though the final result does not justify the amount of talent that went into its preparation. The glorified girls are a good stimulant to eyesight weakened by over study. As for the beach pajamas in the bar room scene. Sssh!