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"More Than a Secretary," the second half of the current double bill at the Loew's State and Orpheum runs off with all the honors of the program, such as they are, far outstripping the feeble efforts of Bing Crosby in a particularly juvenile vehicle called "Pennies From Heaven."
"More Than a Secretary" shows Jean Arthur in a rather futile effort to appear plain-looking as secretary to George Brent, who, as a sort of streamlined Bernarr MacFadden, publishes a health magazine. Mr. Brent is kept in condition by his Brooklyn masseur, Lionel Stander, who reaches new heights as a comedian in this production.
Although considerably hampered by its hackneyed plot, or rather lack of plot, "More Than a Secretary is a better than average comedy, due principally to the efforts of the amazing Miss Arthur. By virtue of her work in "The Ex-Mrs. Bradford," she acquired the reputation of being Hollywood's premier comedienne, and her laurels are in no danger now.
"Pennies From Heaven," on the other hand, is about as thoroughly insipid a bit of sentimentality as we have encountered in a long time. Based on an ancient theory that an actor already firmly established as a feminine drawing card, will be twice as appealing in company with a small child, Columbia saddles Mr. Crosby with a weepy, tear-stained child named Edith Fellows.
Crosby, determined to be a romantic troubadour at all cost, opens a road-house, from the proceeds of which he hopes to keep young Miss Fellows out of an orphanage. Madge Evans, the only one who emerges from the picture without loss of reputation, is the feminine gendarme who is ordered to put the little girl into the young people's jail. The roadhouse folds up, the orphanage refuses the Fellows menace, and Crosby falls in to Park lake in New York, So it all ends happily.
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