"Louisiana Purchase," one of Broadway's topflight musicals of last year, has been turned into a movie with the same songs, almost the same cast, the identical story, and none of the zip that made the original the hit it was. As a matter of fact, this close adherence to the original probably accounts for a large part of the film's weakness; long scenes don't ruin a stage-play, but when they're translated literally on the screen, they become tiresome. And "Louisiana Purchase" has so many of them that even the actors are tired when it's all over.
After reminding you that any resemblance between the characters in the picture and a bunch of crooks in Louisiana is exactly what the authors intended, the film proceeds to chronicle the attempts of Victor Moore, a Caspar Milquetoast Senator from "a No'th'n state," to root out the stench that made New Orleans famous. Moore is superb, and he is the only member of the cast who isn't handicapped by the failure to speed up the tempo of the movies. Bob Hope plays William Gaxton's original role and while Hope is always good for his share of laughs, his somewhat peculiar talents are rather wasted here.
When it comes to who's missing from the cast, the big gap is the absence of Carol Bruce, who put over a number of songs in the stage original. Paramount has dug up somebody named Donna Drake to fill in for her. Donna looks like Carol, all right, but that's all, and what were hit tunes on the stage are flops here. The other songs are effectively handled, although some of the best ones, especially "It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow," are either left out or merely used as background music.
The second feature, "Pacific Blackout," is a slightly fantastic account of what might go on during a practice black-out, and it may give you some idea of what not to do when the next black-out catches you on the Widener steps without anything to do.