Saturday, October 1, 2011
Joyce in Sing, Sinner, Sing (1933)
Was it the blonde hair? Joyce got another chance to play a temptress in Sing, Sinner, Sing, a 1933 production from the budget-level studio Majestic.
Sing, Sinner, Sing is a rather ordinary pre-Code drama based a the real life fraças between singer Libby Holman and her husband, tobacco heir Zachary Smith Reynolds, who was found shot to death under mysterious circumstances in their apartment. Actress Leila Hyams plays the Holman stand-in, a torch singer who shares a stormy romance with gambling ship captain Paul Lukas. She escapes his clutches with a wealthy playboy (Don Dillaway), but after they marry she finds that her new husband is carrying on with a hotsy-totsy blonde — and that's where Joyce Compton comes in. Probably the best reason to see this hoary drama would be Leila Hyams, who is attractive and somewhat fragile in a way that reminds me of the slightly later Virginia Bruce. She also sings a few numbers in an agreeable (apparently non-dubbed) low voice. The story is pretty blah, with lousy turns from Lukas and Dillaway. The production is moderately nice for a low-budget picture, indulging in the usual settings of shipboard, nightclub, and penthouse (on sets probably borrowed from the big studios). This kind of material has been done much better in several Warner Bros. potboilers of the era — only die-hard Pre Code devotees would glean anything worthwhile from this.
Sing, Sinner, Sing debuted on DVD in a 2009 Alpha Home Video release. Like most Alpha product, the picture is scratched up, the sound is muddy and there are zero extras. It's better than nothing, however! Buy at Amazon.com here.