Roman Scandals

Roman Scandals

Director: Frank Tuttle Cast: Eddie Cantor, Ruth Etting, Gloria Stuart

DVD (Full Frame)

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Easily the best of Eddie Cantor's gargantuan musical comedies for producer Sam Goldwyn, Roman Scandals begins in the middle-America community of West Rome, where our hero Eddie (Cantor) is employed as a delivery boy. A self-styled authority of Ancient Roman history, Cantor bemoans the fact that the local shanty community is about to be wiped out by scheming politicians, certain that such an outrage could never have happened during Rome's Golden Days. After a blow on the head, Cantor wakes up in Imperial Rome, where he is sold on the slave auction block to good-natured tribune Josephus (David Manners). Cantor soon discovers that the evil emperor Valerius (Edward Arnold) is every bit a crook and grafter as the politicians in West Rome, and he intends to do something about it. He gets a job as food taster for Valerius -- a none-too-secure position, inasmuch as the emperor's wife Agrippa (Veree Teasdale) is constantly trying to poison her husband -- and does his best to smooth the path of romance for Josephus and recently captured princess Sylvia (Gloria Stuart). Cantor's well-intentioned interference earns him a session in the torture chamber, but he escapes and commandeers a chariot, setting the stage for a spectacular slapstick climax. On the verge of recapture, Cantor wakes to find himself in West Rome U.S.A. again, where he quickly foils the modern-day despots and brings about a happy ending for all his friends. Co-written by George S. Kaufman, Robert E. Sherwood, George Oppenheimer and Arthur Sheekman (the soon-to-be husband of leading lady Gloria Stuart), Roman Scandals manages to get off a few clever satirical licks, but essentially it's a "lappy" lowbrow vehicle for Eddie Cantor, and in this it succeeds immensely. The Busby Berkeley-staged musical numbers, written by Harry Warren, Al Dubin and L. Wolfe Gilbert, must be seen to be believed: In "No More Love," Ruth Etting, playing the Emperor's cast-off mistress Olga, sings a plaintive torch song as dozens of enslaved Goldwyn Girls (including Lucille Ball and Barbara Pepper), wearing nothing but long, blonde wigs, are chained to a rotating pedestal; and in "Keep Young and Beautiful," these same maidens gleefully cavort around a Roman bathhouse in the near-altogether while Cantor, in blackface, hops about, rolls his eyes and claps his hands -- just before a jet of steam "shrinks" him, at which point he metamorphoses into midget Billy Barty! The quintessence of Depression-era escapism, Roman Scandals is must-see entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/04/2015
UPC: 0888574293215
Original Release: 1933
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Archives
Presentation: [Full Frame]
Time: 1:31:00
Sales rank: 34,559

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Eddie Cantor Eddie
Ruth Etting Olga
Gloria Stuart Princess Sylvia
David Manners Josephus
Veree Teasdale Empress Agrippa
Edward Arnold Emperor Valerius
Alan Mowbray Majordomo
Grace Poggi Slave Girl
Richard Alexander Guard
Stanley Andrews Official
Charles Arnt Caius
Lucille Ball Slave Girl
Bonnie Bannon Actor
Billy Barty Little Eddie
Busby Berkeley Actor
Stanley Blystone Cop/Roman Jailer
Louise Carver Lady Slave Bidder
Lane Chandler Actor
Harry Cording Actor
Jane Darwell Beauty Salon Manager
Stanley Fields Slave Auctioneer
Francis Ford Citizen
Frank S. Hagney Lucius Aide
Jane Hamilton Actor
Harry Holman Mayor of West Rome
John Ince Senator
Lee Kohlmar Storekeeper
Marjorie Main Actor
Michael Mark Assistant Cook
Gigi Parrish Actor
Barbara Pepper Actor
Paul Porcasi Chef
William Wagner Slave Buyer
Leo Willis Torturer
Charles Wilson Police Chief Charles Pratt
Clarence H. Wilson Buggs, museum keeper
Duke York Soldier
Mary Lange Actor
Willard Robertson Warren F. Cooper
John Rutherford Manius

Technical Credits
Frank Tuttle Director
Busby Berkeley Choreography
Richard Day Art Director
Alexis Dubin Score Composer
Stuart Geisle Editor
Samuel Goldwyn Producer
John W. Harkrider Costumes/Costume Designer
Stuart Heisler Editor
Ray June Cinematographer
William Anthony McGuire Screenwriter
Alfred Newman Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
George Oppenheimer Screenwriter
Nat Perrin Screenwriter
Arthur Sheekman Screenwriter
Robert E. Sherwood Original Story
Gregg Toland Cinematographer
Vinton Vernon Sound/Sound Designer
Harry Warren Score Composer

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