Deanna is a delight as the young Senator's daughter, Caroline Frost, hilariously scheming to marry young calvary officer Robert Latham (David Bruce) against her father's wishes in this adaption of "Girl of the Overland Trail" by Samuel J. and Curtis B. Warshawsky. Jerome Kern wrote some great melodies for the film and E. Y. Harburg gave them lyrics still remembered decades later.
Deanna fakes a fever in hilarious fashion to get out of singing for the president so she can see Robert instead. But when that doesn't work and her dad (Ray Collins) wants to send her to see her uncle in New York, you can see the squirrel cage spinning in her head and the next thing you know she's gone missing, with a 5,000 dollar reward offered by her father for anyone who can find her. She's off to California, of course, as Robert has been sent with the 4th calvary to guard the Carstair holdings.
She gets fleeced along the way and ends up hitching her hopes on a wagon train heading out west. Akim Tamiroff and Leonid Kinskey are a hoot as the bumbling Russian thieves Gregory and Koppa, who spend the entire film attempting to steal Caroline's huge trunk but ending right back where they started! Circumstances pair her with card shark Johnny Lawlor (Robert Paige), who may need to find a new profession.
Of course they have a love-hate relationship which finally becomes just love. Before this one is over Caroline will have to pretend Gregory is her husband to get on the wagon train, then tell Johnny that she's going to California to marry the well known Carstairs (Thomas Gomez)! By the time they arrive in California, of course, all this catches up with Caroline and causes a lot of fun as she has to convince Johnny that he's really the one!
Her dad shows up and knows right away that Johnny's the right pick when he calls Caroline a liar. As her dad explains it, he's a Senator so she can't help it. She comes from a long line of liars! Gomez has a funny bit as Caroline gets him to play along and pretend he's broke up that she's not going to marry him. There is just one fun moment after another in this fine American musical set out west.
A rousing rendition of Californ-I-Ay and songs like Any Moment Now and the fabulous title tune, Can't Help Singing, are quite memorable. Deanna softly sings the Oscar nominated More and More to Johnny by a moonlit lake. This film makes you want more and more.
You'll find out what Cloud 17 is in this most delightful of films, and be glad you had a chance to see one of the greatest of stars in one of the finest American musicals. A real treat you simply can't miss if you love the movies.
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