April Showers is a modest little backstage musical, but one which does have a few surprising elements in it. While the basic story is a familiar one and is for the most part not treated with great imagination, it does include a plot point -- the prohibition on performing by children -- that is based in fact and not gone into in most backstagers. It's too bad that the creators of Showers didn't delve a little deeper or with more flair into their story -- although it may have been due to fears that Buster Keaton, on whose life it is unofficially based, might have been prompted to take legal action. As it is, it still has enough going for it storywise to make it interesting. It also affords Jack Carson one of his rare opportunities to tackle a leading role. Carson's an "iffy" proposition for such a role. He had talent, but he also had a personality that could easily rub one the wrong way, and therefore had to be cast with great care. He acquits himself honorably enough here, but one wishes that someone like James Cagney had handled the part instead. Similarly, some may have complaints about Robert Ellis; you either buy him or you don't. There are no qualms about Ann Sothern, however, who turns in a lovely, typically strong performance here. James Kern's direction is adequate; a stronger person at the helm could have made this one more memorable, but as it is, it's a pleasant little tuner.
April Showers stars Jack Carson and Ann Sothern as a pair of small-time vaudevillians whose act gets nowhere until their young son (Robert Ellis) joins them. The threesome form a knockabout acrobatic turn which propels them into the big time. Jealous of his son's success, Carson takes to the bottle, and the act breaks up in a spirit of mutual recrimination. This being a Warner Bros. musical, the three family members are reunited for a sentimental climax. April Showers was based in great part on the vaudeville career of Buster Keaton, who chose after much consideration not to pursue the matter in court.