Mill Creek Musings: Rhythm in the Clouds (1937)

Judy Walker (Patricia Ellis) is an aspiring songwriter who is down on her luck. She has been desperately trying to get her music noticed, but has had no success at all. She gets the latest rejection letter from a lyricist named Phil Hale, who says he can’t look at her music until he finishes his next tour.

Judy’s behind on her rent by a few months, and with no songwriting gigs on the horizon, desperate times call for desperate measures. Knowing that Phil Hale will be away on tour, she forges a letter and sneaks her way into his apartment, pretending that he’s asked her to house sit while he’s away.

(Image: Hollywood Classic Films Online)
(Image: Hollywood Classic Films Online)

Things begin looking up for Judy. She’s got a place to live, and she’s weasled a few music business connections out of her faux-friendship with Phil Hale. But she can only enjoy this lifestyle for so long before Phil returns!

John H. Auer directs 1937’s Rhythm in the Clouds, a minor musical from Republic Pictures. The screenplay was written by Olive Cooper and Nathanael West.

After an upbeat song rolls along with the credits, the film has a pretty fun opening, panning between different windows with all kinds of day-to-day commotion going on in different city apartments. An opening may not be able to make or break a film, but it can certainly aid in the film’s success in engaging the viewer, and this one does just that.

For a film that appears in Mill Creek’s “50 Classic Musicals” boxed set, Rhythm in the Clouds isn’t actually incredibly packed with musical performances. The film’s plot heavily involves the music industry and there is a lot of music played throughout, but there are none of the lavish numbers one might expect from a ’30s musical.

Luckily, though the plot is light, the film is entertaining. Patricia Ellis carries it pretty well. She’s quite funny, especially in her earliest scenes of living her new “rich” life in Phil’s apartment. Patricia’s character has a bit too much fun acting the part of the rich girl, and it’s a delight for the viewer to watch. She cooks up sneaky schemes and pulls them off with no trouble at all.

Rhythm in the Clouds is a fun little watch with some nice music, but it’s nothing spectacular. This is one that I enjoyed,  but at the same time I can definitely see why it has faded into obscurity. Nothing about it stands out. However, I would recommend it to those who enjoy discovering forgotten films or those interested in seeing more of Patricia Ellis’ work. The score: 2.5/5

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