Fri 13 Nov 2015
COWBOY FROM BROOKLYN. Warner Brothers, 1938. Dick Powell, Pat O’Brien, Priscilla Lane, Dick Foran, Ann Sheridan, Ronald Reagan. Director: Lloyd Bacon.
Dick Powell is at his comedic best in this predictable, yet light and amusing musical comedy about a guy from Flatbush, Brooklyn pretending to be a singing cowboy. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, Cowboy From Brooklyn has an innocent charm to it, allowing us to see Powell as a gifted physical comic, rather than as a hard-nosed film noir man with a gun.
Powell portrays Elly Jordan, an aspiring singer and a man deathly afraid of animals, big and small. On his way to California with his band, Jordan takes a detour in Wyoming and ends up spending time at a local ranch where he befriends the lovely cowgirl, Jane Hardy (Priscilla Lane) who teaches him how to talk like a cowboy.
Pretty soon, Jordan’s dressed up like Roy Rogers and singing ballads. Then, out of the clear blue sky, talent agent Roy Chadwick (Pat O’Brien) and his assistant, Pat Dunn (Ronald Reagan) show up and pretty soon Elly Jordan is transformed into singing cowboy star Wyoming Steve Gibson!
At a running time of an economical seventy-seven minutes, Cowboy from Brooklyn doesn’t have all that much depth to it. There are some hilarious moments, however, with nearly perfect comedic timing. This is the type of comedy that makes you like comedies — fast-talking, wisecracking characters running amok. It’s a timeless story about a fish out of water, a man pretending to be someone he’s not for money and fame, and a rather innocent love story all lassoed together.