Sing and Like It (1934) starring Zasu Pitts, Pert Kelton, Edward Everett Horton, Nat Pendleton, Ned Sparks, Richard Carle, John Qualen directed by William A. Seiter Movie Review

Sing and Like It (1934)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Nat Pendleton and Edward Everett Horton in Sing and Like It (1934)

Your Mother

"Sing and Like It" is the sort of old movie that you have to be in the right frame of mind to watch, an almost forgiving mind because of one joke which is repeated again and again. That joke is Zasu Pitts singing, although it's more like squawking, "Your Mother" which we hear again and again and again and unless you are in the right mood to have your ear drums comically hurt you won't enjoy it. And that would be a shame because Pitts singing "Your Mother" is not the only joke and "Sing and Like It" features a good cast delivering some sharp dialogue which is full of biting comedy even now almost 80 years since "Sing and Like It" was made.

Gangster T. Fenny Sylvester (Nat Pendleton) decides that he and his men should go in to the safe cracking business except whilst on their first job Fenny hears Annie Snodgrass (Zasu Pitts - The Thrill of It All) singing "Your Mother" and it reduces him to tears as he thinks of his dear mother. So in love with Annie's singing Fenny decides she must be in a show and along with his right hand man Toots (Ned Sparks) forces theatre producer Adam Frink (Edward Everett Horton - Here Comes Mr. Jordan) to put Annie and her song into his show despite no one else liking it.

Pert Kelton and Zasu Pitts in Sing and Like It (1934)

"Sing and Like It" is basically a gangster farce with a storyline which has been recycled a few times since, as such the story of Fenny putting Annie on stage despite having a poor voice is not that original, still fun but lets say familiar. But in truth whilst we have this storyline which evolves to include kidnapping this is a movie where the star is the writing more than anything else and it is full of sharp dialogue. There are so many witty put downs it is easy to miss some because they are thrown in with little set up especially those which come from right hand man Toots. But they all work especially with the amusing idea that Toots has to translate English into Gangster speak and back again for Fenny to understand people and for people to understand him.

Of course it's not all just sharp writing and there is the comedy of Zasu Pitts squawking out "Your Mother" which whilst amusing to start with does begin to grind by the time she sings it for the umpteenth time. But that isn't the only joke and there is a hilarious series of scenes surrounding an influential critic being forced to cheer at some bad jokes. Pretty much all the humour works with the exception of jokes surrounding Fenny's treatment of his moll Ruby as whilst jokes surrounding her chewing gum are funny those about her getting black eyes now fall embarrassingly flat.

What this all boils down to is that "Sing and Like It" is a simple take on the gangster interfering in show business storyline but a comedy version with a gangster with a mother complex. It is fun but because of the constant use of Zasu Pitts squawking out "Your Mother" is a movie you have to be in the right mood for or else it becomes too painful too quickly.