LUCY'S MOVIE GUIDE
Roman Scandals (1933)
(featuring Lucille Ball as Slave Girl)
Easily the best of Eddie Cantor's gargantuan musical comedies for producer Sam Goldwyn, Roman Scandals begins in the middle-America community of West Rome, where our hero Eddie (Cantor) is employed as a delivery boy.
A self-styled authority of Ancient Roman history, Eddie bemoans the fact that the local shanty community is about to be wiped out by scheming politicians, certain that such an outrage could never have happened during Rome's Golden Days.
After a blow on the head, Eddie wakes up in Imperial Rome, where he is sold on the slave auction block to good-natured tribune Josephus (David Manners). Eddie soon discovers that the evil emperor Valerius (Edward Arnold) is every bit a crook and grafter as the politicians in West Rome, and he intends to do something about it.
He gets a job as food taster for Valerius — a none-too-secure position, inasmuch as the emperor's wife Agrippa (Veree Teasdale) is constantly trying to poison her husband — and does his best to smooth the path of romance for Josephus and recently captured princess Sylvia (Gloria Stuart). Eddie's well-intentioned interference earns him a session in the torture chamber, but he escapes and commandeers a chariot, setting the stage for a spectacular slapstick climax.
On the verge of recapture, Eddie wakes to find himself in West Rome U.S.A. again, where he quickly foils the modern-day despots and brings about a happy ending for all his friends.
Special Notes: This is Lucille Ball's first appearance in films playing a bit part as a slave girl as part of the Goldwyn Girls. Lucy was a Goldwyn Girl in Roman Scandals (1933) and Kid Millions (1934). Shortly after appearing in this film she moved permanently to Hollywood to appear in films.