Living up to the brilliant promise of its title in every respect, "The Thrill of Brazil" provides a visually and vocally irritating intermission between "Crack-Up," inexplicably billed as the second feature, and the pictures of the Army-Notre Dame game. Keenan Wynn, one of the funniest and most amiable of Hollywood's products, manages to save some scenes. But the concerted opposition of Tito Guizar, Ann Miller, and Evelyn Keyes proves too much for him, and even he is overcome by the morass of bad songs, bad production numbers, and typical South American musical plot, complete with mismated couples and a fortunate marital reassortment at the end.
"Crack-Up," however, features an adequate melodramatic plot and some first class direction. Pat O'Brien's train ride, under the pressure of trying to remember a night lost when he was drugged, makes a phantoin scene of great tension and force. But the rest of the picture is anticlimactic. It's all about O'Brien's efforts to clear himself of a murder while simultaneously busting open a huge fraud having to do with forgeries of great art masterpieces. This is the sort of thing that Humphrey Bogart shows up in every year or two, to everybody's huge delight, but the aging O'Brien isn't quite in the same league when it comes to evading cops and prowling in dark rooms.
As for the Army-Notre Dame pictures, which are shown in much more detail than the usual football summaries, they are worth seeing. Of course, nobody breaks loose for long, but Blanchard's tackles compensate for that. The only thing that gets out of control in the entire show is Tito Guinar. Somebody block out that smile.