Teamed at the University this week with a conventional bit of backstage vicissitude imaginatively dubbed "Sing, Baby, Sing", is an exhilarating anachronism from the days when baby still occasionally meant infant: a bona fide, unblushing Westerner called "The Texas Rangers".
On the theory that Indians' being made to bite the dust, three in a row, from a range of a mile and a half, is worth salvaging from the fifteen-minute parodies on the nickelodeon days and brought back to feature-length standing, "The Texas Rangers" sets out to curdle the blood in the grand old style. Free from this now-fangled nonsense about Indians' being human beings, at least four of the reels are devoted to shots of the atrocious savages' being shot down in fabulous quantities by plucky little bands of Rangers. Fred MacMurray is the unblenching avenger who fears nothing but a woman, so Jean Parker has to propose to him, Jack Oakle is the picaresque here who gets a bullet in the stomach, fighting the good fight. The man who put it there is that irredeemable villain Lloyd Nolan, but he gets his from Fred. It's a strong picture, and lest anyone should miss the point, the moral is aptly drawn at the end.
"Sing, Baby, Sing" endeavors to show what happens when a night-club singer is not a gold-digger. Alice Faye is that phenomenon, and her conduct is so amazing that even a movie news-reporter (Michael Whalen) is induced to take off his hat, and eventually to marry her. She really should have married Adolphe. Menjou, but then he was always drinking and reciting Shakespeare. Miss Faye is meant to be a personality girl in this picture, but she impresses us as being as pudgy and insipid as ever. The asininities of Ted Healy are a definite detraction; those of Gregory Ratoff, neutral. But Adolphe Menjou in his decay is proving himself more than a tailor's dummy: a genuine comic artist. His rendition of the simple, high-minded inebriate is perfect.