The melodies of “You’ve Got That Thing” and “You Do Something to Me” lace the soundtrack; but Hollywood did something to the screen version of the Cole Porter musical Fifty Million Frenchmen: It dropped the songs!
At the time; moviegoers frowned on song-and-dance vehicles; so the studio-tinkered result was a frantic contraption of nonstop jokes; sassy pre-Code double entendres and the antics of vaudeville/radio stars Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson.
The slender plot concerns a $50,000 bet that love-struck American-in-Paris Jack Forbes (William Gaxton repeating his Broadway role) can woo and wed the alluring LuLu (Claudia Dell) without his wealth.
But the sidebars are more fun: Helen Broderick as a randy tourist who wants to be “insulted’; the mischief of Olsen and Johnson (leading the Paris police on a madcap Keystone Kops-like finale chase) and a briefly seen Bela Lugosi as a magician mystic denied his chance to perform.
Not to worry for Bela: Fifty Million Frenchmen shared its 1931 opening day with another opus called Dracula; and the rest is history. Vive le Hollywood!