The Bing Crosby Collection: ‘We’re Not Dressing’

Last week, I picked up Universal’s The Bing Crosby Collection, which features six movies Crosby made for Paramount Pictures. The first four are form 1933 through 1935, so very early in his film career. That last two are from 1938 and 1947.

we're not dressing

Although it’s the second film in the set, I rushed to see 1934’s We’re Not Dressing, since it co-stars Carole Lombard, one of my favorites. The film, directed by Norman Taurog, also has a great selection of supporting players, including Ethel Merman and the comedy duo George Burns & Gracie Allen. There’s also an incredibly young Ray Milland – credited as Raymond Milland.

The plot is pretty simple, since Paramount has to squeeze in as much Bing songs as possible. Bing is sailor Stephen on a ship owned by heiress Doris (Lombard) and they get shipwrecked. They wash up on a deserted Pacific island, where scientists George and Gracie (well, Gracie is just there to annoy George) are studying. George and Gracie let them know that that someone’s coming to rescue them and, while they wait, Stephen convinces the lazy Doris that they love each other.

Unless I missed something, I don’t quite see what the title has to do with all this. Several times, the film veers off in bizarre directions, since there’s a bear on the ship (whose presence is never quite explained). There’s also a curiously dark moment towards the end where it looks like Bing is about to have his way with Carole after tying her up. Of course, he doesn’t because he’s too good a man to do that, but it made me raise an eyebrow.

The film is in amazingly good shape and the only extra feature is a trailer (which makes sure you know the names of all the songs). I have never even seen any of the other films in this set, so this will be an interesting journey through an ignored part of Bing’s career.

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