What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)

We’ve got one last go-round for the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon (while still doubling for new releases on disc this year), and we’re taking the opportunity to go with the 1967 musical Thoroughly Modern Millie starring Julie Andrews, James Fox, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Channing!

Coming Up Shorts! with… School’s Out (1930)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 2 (1930-1931) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 51 seconds)

When a man (Creighton Hale) shows up to meet Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe), the Gang try to dissuade him from marrying her (not knowing that he is actually her brother). Another very fun and cute one with Miss Crabtree, and Jackie (Jackie Cooper) expressing his crush on her. Of course, the biggest bit of humor is the kid’s oral test “answers” that they got from Bonedust (Clifton Young), who “got them from a book.” Overall, still very fun, and still full of warmth. Easily one I look forward to revisiting again and again!

And Now For The Main Feature…

It’s 1922. Millie Dillmount (Julie Andrews) has just finished putting herself through Belle Weatherill’s Girl School for Business, and is ready to seek out a job as a stenographer. However, it’s not so much the job that she is seeking, as she is planning to marry her boss (whoever he may be). So, Millie decides to ditch her old-fashioned look, and “modernizes” herself to become a flapper girl. She is staying at the Priscilla Hotel for Single Young Ladies, which is run by Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie). There, Millie meets Miss Dorothy Brown (Mary Tyler Moore), an orphan who is hoping to become an actress. At a Friendship dance hosted by Mrs. Meers, Millie meets Jimmy Smith (James Fox), a paperclip salesman. He quickly falls for her, and while she has some affection for him, Millie still tells him of her ambitions to marry her boss (when she gets a job). After trying several places, she finds out that there’s a job opening at the Sincere Trust Insurance Company. She finds her new boss, the single Trevor Graydon (John Gavin), to be a very handsome man, and sticks with the job. However, Trevor doesn’t really notice her (except essentially as one of the guys, since he keeps calling her “John”). Jimmy is still trying to gain her affections, though, and takes both Millie and Miss Dorothy to a party hosted at the mansion of the wealthy Muzzy Van Hossmere (Carol Channing). While listening to Muzzy’s life story, Millie starts to consider the possibility of ignoring her plans to marry her boss, and instead marry Jimmy. However, that night, Millie sees Jimmy inviting Miss Dorothy into his room, and feels heartbroken. Once she returns to the city, she decides to go with her original plan even more. She tries to get Trevor’s attention, but fails. She finds it in her heart to forgive Miss Dorothy, but soon finds her dreams completely shattered when Miss Dorothy and Trevor meet and fall for each other. Meanwhile, Jimmy keeps trying to reach out to her, but she keeps turning him away. Faced with no other way to see her, Jimmy climbs the Sincere Trust Insurance Company building, and Millie finds it in her heart to forgive him. Trouble arises, though, when Miss Dorothy disappears. Millie realizes that Mrs. Meers must have been part of a white slavery ring in the area, and, with the help of Jimmy and Trevor, they try to find out where Miss Dorothy has been taken. But will they succeed, or will Mrs. Meers get rid of them, too?

In 1954, Julie Andrews made her Broadway debut in the musical The Boy Friend. The producers of My Fair Lady saw her performance in that show, prompting them to cast her in My Fair Lady, continuing her rise to superstardom. Later, when she broke into the movies and became a big star at the box office in the mid-1960s, producer Ross Hunter wanted to bring The Boy Friend to the big screen. However, the film rights proved too expensive, and he decided to do his own take on the idea, basing it on the 1956 British musical Chrysanthemum. Meanwhile, Mary Tyler Moore was coming off the successful TV series The Dick Van Dyke Show, and signed with Universal Pictures. Their intention was to essentially mold her in the vein of Doris Day in light comedies. However, Julie Andrews’ casting in Thoroughly Modern Millie changed everything, including turning the film into a musical and shifting more of the focus to Andrews’ character. The film’s director, George Roy Hill, and producer Ross Hunter clashed a lot over what they wanted to do with the movie (eventually resulting in the director being removed from the film on post-production). Still, the movie proved to be a big hit with audiences as Universal’s most successful movie up to that time (and won an Oscar for Best Score), with a stage version eventually coming around in 2002.

I’ve had the chance to see this movie a few times over the years, but I will readily admit that I didn’t initially care for the film after the first time that I saw it. To be fair to the movie itself, I was a bit younger (I want to say in my teens, but it’s been long enough that I’m not completely sure) and a bit more prudish at the time (so some of the opening scene with the references to Julie’s chest and how her beads hang didn’t exactly go over well with me at that time). Over time, I’ve loosened up a little, and found myself more able to enjoy some of that type of humor, which has made it easier to enjoy this movie (I’m still a little prudish, though only in the idea that while I may enjoy that type of humor, I generally don’t make use of it myself). Still, in between that, and one fairly obvious sexual moment in a car (although nothing is actually shown) plus some cursing here and there certainly make this film a little less than kid-friendly.

Regardless, we’re here at least partly for the film’s musical aspects! The film made use of some new music for the film, while also incorporating music of the era as part of the score. While I think most of the musical numbers are fun, two in particular really stand out. The title tune (heard over the opening credits) is easily the most memorable song, and one I find myself listening to over and over again! While the song itself isn’t quite as catchy, I find the dancing to “The Tapioca” to be just as entertaining (and it certainly makes me want to get up and dance)! But, fun as they are, it’s hard not to bring up one of the most fun aspects of this musical: that elevator! Seriously, I thoroughly (okay, pun intended) like the idea of an elevator that just about requires its occupants to dance for it to work (now if only somebody could invent one for a reasonable price, I’d love to have one in my home, even if it is for one floor)! On the musical side of things, the only complaint I have is that, aside from her dance with Julie Andrews on the elevator, Mary Tyler Moore is very much in the background for the musical numbers that she is in. We know from her time on The Dick Van Dyke Show that she could sing and dance, so the fact that she otherwise only has a few seconds in the “Tapioca” and the Jewish wedding scenes (both times when her character nervously tries to get into it before becoming part of the chorus) just doesn’t make any sense.

Still, the musical moments are hardly the only parts of this movie that are worthwhile, as the humor is also part of the appeal! Now, I know that some think the white slavery stuff might be a bit much, but, for me, it provides some of the most hilarious moments in the movie (mostly the failed attempts to kidnap Mary Tyler Moore’s Miss Dorothy). Also, without it, the scene at the theatre with Carol Channing’s Muzzy doing acrobatics with the troupe becomes pointless as well (and *spoiler alert* the final “showdown” between the slavers and Millie and her friends is too much fun to be removed). I will also admit to liking how much they made the film feel like it’s from the twenties, including the scene of James Fox’s Jimmy climbing the Sincere Trust building (no doubt a reference to Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last!). Of course, that also brings up one of this movie’s problems: double-exposures for some scenes. Now, while it’s there for the scene with Carol Channing’s Muzzy being shot out of a cannon, I can understand its usage there (since I can’t really see any of the actors being shot out of a cannon). It’s the building climb that doesn’t work as well for me, especially since it’s such an obvious reference to Safety Last!, and Harold Lloyd didn’t do anything with double-exposures (or at least made it look better). Of course, I said before in my review of Hello, Dolly! that I would have struggled with Carol Channing in the title role for that film’s entirety. Here, in spite of this film’s similar length, I don’t have that issue (but then again, she’s not exactly the film’s lead and therefore isn’t around for as much). She is at least some fun here (although her slight segment playing some instruments at the end of “Jazz Baby” isn’t as fun, especially not her dancing on the xylophone, which I think was done MUCH better by Donald O’Connor nearly a decade earlier in Call Me Madam). Another problem I have with this movie is the Jewish wedding scene, which seems to have very little to do with the rest of the story (but I can’t deny that it is still otherwise entertaining). Regardless of any of my complaints, this is still a very fun musical to see every now and then! Good music, good humor and a fun cast equals good comfort cinema in my book, so I have no problem whatsoever with enthusiastically recommending this one!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. This release makes use of a 4K restoration undertaken by Universal themselves. The picture quality is quite good. This transfer really brings out the details and the film’s color very well! The Blu-ray contains the roadshow version of the film, complete with overture, entr’acte and exit music. I don’t have the tech to be able to determine this myself, but from what I’ve heard, the main flaw of this release is that the audio during the overture, entr’acte and exit music is in mono instead of stereo (even though it’s been stereo in other incarnations, including Universal’s previous DVD release). The audio for the rest of the movie is otherwise correct. Sadly, it sounds like this will be the way that the Blu-ray remains (according to Kino’s Insider on a few forums), so it’s up to everybody as to what they are willing to tolerate. Personally, I’m happy with the release. I wish the audio was fully correct, but without the technology where it’s more noticeable, this disc fulfills my two main criteria where audio is concerned: 1) I can understand all the actors clearly and hear all the various sound effects, and 2) there are English subtitles in case I can’t hear or understand everything. So, in spite of its slightly incorrect audio, I am certainly willing to recommend this release!

And with that, I finish off all my posts for the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon for the month of September! As far as my “Star/Genre Of The Month” blogathons are concerned, I’m taking a break for the month of October. But, I should be back with one more for the month of November (and the announcement/signup for that will be posted in a little over a week)!

Film Length: 2 hours, 32 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart (September 2021)” featuring… Deep In My Heart (1954)

For today’s entry in the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon, we’ve got the 1954 all-star musical biopic on composer Sigmund Romberg, Deep In My Heart, starring Jose Ferrer, Merle Oberon and Helen Traubel!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Strauss Fantasy (1954)

(Available as an extra on the Deep In My Heart Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 9 minutes, 49 seconds)

Johnny Green conducts the MGM Symphony Orchestra in a medley of tunes by the three Strausses: Johann Strauss Sr., Johann Strauss Jr. and Josef Strauss.  It’s a nice, short little concert with some fun, recognizable classical music (even if it is slightly edited to fit in the short runtime).  This short is probably best played in the background of whatever you might be doing, but it’s still enjoyable!  My only real complaint is that, on this Blu-ray, this short is using an old, unrestored, non-anamorphic transfer, and I wish that could be improved upon.

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Farm Of Tomorrow (1954)

(Available as an extra on the Deep In My Heart Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection or as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 6 minutes, 32 seconds)

We are shown the “farm of tomorrow.” This one has some fun, but I’ll admit it quickly goes a little sour for me. Instead of being as much about farming, it quickly devolves into gags revolving around the crossbreeding of different animals (and some objects). There are some good gags to be found here, don’t get me wrong, but it just seems like it goes the wrong direction. Still, it’s one I’ll probably find myself returning to here and there (with my expectations in check).  Of course, the transfer for this cartoon is older on the Deep In My Heart Blu-ray, so it doesn’t look as good as it does on the Tex Avery set released several years later.

And Now For The Main Feature…

In New York City, composer Sigmund “Romy” Romberg (Jose Ferrer) works at the Café Vienna, run by his friend Anna Mueller (Helen Traubel).  One night, a music promoter named Berrison, Sr. (David Burns) listens to Romy’s music, but determines it to be old-fashioned.  Inspired by Berrison’s descriptions of what type of music he wants to promote, Romy writes a ragtime tune that quickly becomes a hit.  That song’s success attracts the attention of theatrical impresario J. J. Shubert (Walter Pidgeon), and Romy auditions a new song for Shubert’s upcoming show.  Shubert’s leading lady, Gaby Deslys (Tamara Toumananova), is at first indifferent to Romy’s new song, but when a visiting actress, Dorothy Donnelly (Merle Oberon), praises it, Gaby decides to have Shubert buy it.  When he sees the show on opening night, Romy is disgusted with the overall presentation of his song.  Anna holds a party at the Café Vienna afterwards, where Romy is offered a five-year contract by producer Bert Townsend (Paul Stewart).  Initially, Romy turns it down.  As he explains to his new friend Dorothy Donnelly, he had wanted to bring his show Maytime to Bert and Shubert, but couldn’t bring himself to do it after what they did with his song.  Dorothy encourages him to sign the contract, so that he can become better-known and gain enough clout to get them to do the show.  He signs, although he frequently finds himself at odds with the shows he writes for.  Still, he keeps doing them because of his free-spending habits with the checks he is given.  He tries asking Bert Townsend to produce Maytime again and again, but he keeps turning Romy down.  Going back to Dorothy for advice, she suggests a slight deception.  The two of them go to a fancy restaurant, where they run into Florenz Ziegfeld (Paul Henreid).  While being watched by Shubert, they pretend to show Ziegfeld Maytime, and he goes along with their ruse.  It works, prompting Shubert to finally do it. Maytime becomes such a big hit, that they have a second company performing it at the same time.  Romy’s success goes to his head, and he comes up with another show called Magic Melody.  With Bert unwilling to produce it, Romy decides to do so himself (but it fails).  Broke and humbled, he returns to Bert repentant.  Of course, Bert needs him back, and he sends him along with two of his writers to Saranac Lake to work on a show.  They work hard on the show, but when frustrations run high, the two writers push Romy to go out for a bit.  While out riding his bicycle, he meets and falls for Lillian Harris (Doe Avedon), who is staying at Saranac Lake with her mother (Isobel Elsom).  Lillian develops some affection for Romy, but her mother thinks he is too vulgar.  Things go wrong when Bert visits and insists on hearing what Romy and the two writers have put together (all, of course, while Lillian and her mother are trying to visit).  Bert likes what he hears, but it horrifies Lillian’s mother.  Lillian is willing to make up with Romy, until Bert sends flowers to all the women at Saranac Lake (in an attempt to get Romy to come back to Broadway), which is too much for Lillian.  A year later, Romy has helped put together another show, but he still hasn’t gotten over Lillian.  Dorothy tries to rouse his spirits by asking for his help in writing music for a show she’s been adapting, but he is feeling too low and plans a trip to Europe after the opening of the show.  Will Lillian return and help him out of his funk, or will he make that trip to Europe (and be miserable the whole time)?

In the early 1950s, MGM made plans for a musical biopic on composer Sigmund Romberg, with producer duties assigned to Arthur Freed. Originally, the plan was to have the real Sigmund Romberg make an appearance as himself in a prologue to introduce the film, but he died before the film could go into production. Producer Arthur Freed ended up giving this one to his regular associate producer, Roger Edens, as he attempted to launch his own unit at MGM, and Roger Edens hired Stanley Donen as the director. It wasn’t necessarily a movie that either of them wanted to make, though. The musical biopics that MGM had produced tended to be more like revues featuring some of the big-name talent at MGM for various songs, without much plot, which didn’t appeal to Stanley Donen (but he did the project because Roger Edens, who had been championing Stanley’s rise, asked him to do it). Being his first producing gig, Roger Edens felt that he needed something that would have been a success, even if he didn’t find the material appealing (and ended up producing only one more film, Funny Face, after this). The original plan was to have Kurt Kasznar star as Sigmund Romberg, but rising star Jose Ferrer expressed interest in doing a musical, and that was the end of that.

To be perfectly honest, this is a movie that I have both a difficult time recommending and yet also an easy time recommending.  If you find that confusing, then allow me to explain.  I first saw this movie as part of the nine-film DVD set Classic Musicals From The Dream Factory Volume 3, which included films like Hit The Deck (1955), Kismet (1955), Broadway Melody Of 1936 (1935), Born To Dance (1936) and a few others that I haven’t gotten around to reviewing yet.  At that time, I hadn’t seen ANY of those films, just clips here and there.  Of that group of nine films, I originally came out with the lowest opinion on Deep In My Heart.  Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it a little bit, but I also would have told you at that time that that first viewing was also going to be my last.  My biggest problem (at that time)?  Complete lack of familiarity with composer Sigmund Romberg and his music.  I had already seen some of the other musical biopics on different composers like Jerome Kern (Till The Clouds Roll By), Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (Words And Music), Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby (Three Little Words), etc., and was at least familiar with their music from some of the various film musicals that they had written for.  But Sigmund Romberg?  I hadn’t heard of him, and I hadn’t heard any of his music (not helped by the fact, if I am remembering correctly, that the only clips with his music in any of the That’s Entertainment films came from the Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy film New Moon, which I hadn’t seen at that time and had no plans to see).  So I went in blindly, and came out barely remembering anything with any fondness (maybe the song “I Love to Go Swimmin’ with Wimmin” done by Gene Kelly and his brother, Fred Kelly, but that was it on my first time).

So, that’s what I held against the film (and why I have a difficult time recommending it).  But, as you will look at my score (and the fact that I also feel I CAN easily recommend it), my opinion has changed.  What caused me to go back and give this film a second chance?  Maytime (1937).  I will grant you that, to the best of my knowledge, only one song from the original Broadway show’s score made it into that film, which was “Will You Remember?”, but that song alone gave me a very positive feeling towards that whole movie.  In the back of my mind, I somehow remembered the song being included in Deep In My Heart, and the name “Sigmund Romberg” seemed familiar, so I was willing to revisit this movie. I found myself enjoying it much more the second time around, now that I was a little more familiar with Sigmund Romberg’s music. I’ve since seen a few other films with Sigmund Romberg’s music and enjoyed them (mostly just the Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy films The Girl Of The Golden West and New Moon, but I certainly hope to see more when I get the chance).

I will say that, more than anything, the music (and dancing here and here) is what makes this movie so appealing to me. I certainly enjoy the song “Will You Remember” by Vic Damone and Jane Powell quite a bit (it’s not as good as the version from the 1937 Maytime, but that is partly because that film gives the song an actual context as part of the story, leaving me much more emotionally attached, but I can still enjoy this film’s version, too). It is also kind of fun seeing Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney (married offscreen, with her appearance in this film due to Jose Ferrer pushing MGM to borrow her from Paramount) doing the rather appropriate song “Mr. And Mrs.” Gene Kelly joined by his brother Fred Kelly for the aforementioned song “I Love to Go Swimmin’ with Wimmin” is quite entertaining, and one of the better dance routines in the film. The other is Cyd Charisse and James Mitchell dancing to the song “One Alone,” which is just breathtaking to watch (and a little steamy, too). The closest objection that modern audiences might have (besides the overall lack of recognition of Sigmund Romberg) is the “Jazz-a-doo” stuff with Jose Ferrer putting on soot that resembles blackface (although that would likely be historically accurate, given that he was imitating Al Jolson, who did that, from what I’ve seen and heard). Personally, while it took me a few tries to like this film, I’ve come to enjoy seeing it every now and then, and consider it my second favorite composer biopic from that period (trailing only Three Little Words). If you can familiarize yourself with the music of Sigmund Romberg beforehand, then I do think that this is a fun movie worth seeing (without that recognition, it’s much harder to recommend)!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 2 hours, 12 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Caine Mutiny (1954) – Jose Ferrer

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) – Walter Pidgeon – Hit The Deck (1955)

Now, Voyager (1942) – Paul Henreid – Never So Few (1959)

White Christmas (1954) – Rosemary Clooney

Brigadoon (1954)Gene KellyInvitation To The Dance (1956)

Athena (1954) – Jane Powell – Hit The Deck (1955)

Athena (1954) – Vic Damone – Hit The Deck (1955)

Kiss Me Kate (1953) – Ann Miller – Hit The Deck (1955)

Brigadoon (1954) – Cyd Charisse – Silk Stockings (1957)

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954) – Howard Keel – Kismet (1955)

Music In My Heart (1940) – Tony Martin – Hit The Deck (1955)

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954) – Russ Tamblyn – Hit The Deck (1955)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

We’re back again to keep things musical this month with today’s entry in the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon, as we take a look at MGM’s all-star musical from 1945, Ziegfeld Follies!

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Luckiest Guy In The World (1947)

(available as an extra on the Ziegfeld Follies Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 21 minutes, 9 seconds)

Charles Vurn (Barry Nelson) struggles monetarily, due to his desire to get rich quick (mostly by gambling). When he accidentally kills his wife, his luck “seems” to change for the better. This was the last short in the “Crime Does Not Pay” series of shorts produced by MGM. It’s an interesting short, that feels well-acted and pulls you in for the story. Amusingly, considering this short’s inclusion as an extra on the Ziegfeld Follies Blu-ray, it includes part of Red Skelton’s skit from the movie done as part of a radio program heard in a car. I’m still no fan of the “Crime Does Not Pay” series, but this one was interesting to see once, anyways.

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Hick Chick (1946)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1 or as an extra on the Ziegfeld Follies Blu-ray, both from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 7 minutes, 10 seconds)

Hick rooster Lem ends up fighting with a city slicker for the affections of his girlfriend, Daisy. A bit of fun here, with the city slicker rooster imitating Charles Boyer, while Daisy also does an imitation of Katharine Hepburn (if I’m correct). Not the most original, with the hick rooster constantly being punched in the face the same way by the city slicker, but it’s still fun. Enjoyed the chasing around (plus the bull being “stripped” of his fur several times). Maybe not Tex Avery’s best work, but I had a few good laughs here, and that alone makes it worth it!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Solid Serenade (1946)

(available as an extra on the Ziegfeld Follies Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 7 minutes, 25 seconds)

Tom the cat tries to serenade his girlfriend, but when he disturbs the sleep of Jerry the mouse, he lives to regret it! An old classic “Tom & Jerry” cartoon, with him famously singing “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby.” I’ve seen this one for years, and always get a laugh out of watching Tom facing off against Killer, the bulldog, when Jerry lets him loose. The gags just get funnier as the short goes on, and this one never gets old!

And Now For The Main Feature…

(Narrator): Ziegfeld Follies is one of those films with a very simple plot.

(Host): How simple is it?

(Narrator): I expected that from you, so I’ll tell you. Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell) looks down from heaven, and imagines what it would be like to put on just one more of his famous Ziegfeld Follies shows using the talent in Hollywood (especially at MGM).

(Host): Yeah, yeah, what else?

(Narrator): That’s it.

(Host): That’s it?

(Narrator): Yep, and that all takes place within the first ten minutes of the movie. After that, it’s a revue like the earlier reviewed King Of Jazz, with different stars singing, dancing, doing comedy skits, whatever their specific talents were.

(Host): So what’s on the program?

(Narrator): Well, here’s a list of what’s included, and we’ll get into the various segments afterwards:

  • “Here’s To The Girls” sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Cyd Charisse and chorus, Lucille Ball and chorus
  • “Bring On The Wonderful Men” sung by Virginia O’Brien
  • “A Water Ballet” featuring Esther Williams
  • “Number Please” with Keenan Wynn
  • “Traviata” sung by James Melton and Marion Bell
  • “Pay The Two Dollars” with Victor Moore and Edward Arnold
  • “This Heart Of Mine” sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer
  • “A Sweepstakes Ticket” with Fanny Brice, Hume Cronyn and William Frawley
  • “Love” with Lena Horn
  • “When Television Comes” with Red Skelton
  • “Limehouse Blues” danced by Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer
  • A Great Lady Has “An Interview” with Judy Garland
  • “The Babbitt and The Bromide” sung and danced by Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly
  • “Beauty” sung by Kathryn Grayson

(Host): And that’s all?

(Narrator): Yep, that’s all. Admittedly, there was more filmed, but that’s all that made it into the movie. But, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.

(Host): Ok, so start at the beginning.

(Narrator): (whispering aside to audience) He asked for it! (winks at audience, then turns back to Host, speaking in normal voice) “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the–

(Host): No, no, NO! Not that far! The making of this movie!

(Narrator): Ok, fine. Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. (1867-1932) was a famous stage producer. On the suggestion of Polish-French singer Anna Held, he started producing the American version of the Parisian Folies Bergère. From 1907 until 1931, he produced a yearly revue of the Ziegfeld Follies, with these shows sporting songs, dances, comedy sketches, and such. They mainly ended when he passed away in 1932. After his death, his widow Billie Burke sold the film rights of his life to Universal Pictures. However, with the rising costs and disagreements between the film’s producer and the studio, Universal ended up selling the rights to MGM. In 1936, MGM released The Great Ziegfeld, to great acclaim, box office, and a Best Picture Oscar win. A few years later, in 1939, studio head Louis B. Mayer planned the idea of a film version of a Ziegfeld Follies show, and gave the project to his new producer, Arthur Freed. However, with Arthur Freed’s new unit only just getting started, it took a while before they could really get into the project. With the success of Ziegfeld Girl in 1941, they really started to focus on the idea. The plan was to try and use some of the various songs, sketches and comedy routines that MGM had been acquiring over the years. At first, George Sidney was assigned to direct the film, but he left after a short while (supposedly, he wasn’t happy with the first month’s worth of shooting) and was replaced by Vincente Minelli (although some of what Sidney filmed was retained for the final product). The movie was originally intended to be released in 1944 to celebrate MGM’s 20th anniversary, but things didn’t work out that way. Filming initially took place between April 10 and August 18, 1944. When the movie was given its sneak preview (with a running time of nearly three hours), audiences didn’t respond as positively as they would have hoped. This resulted in the studio making some changes to the movie, removing many segments and doing some re-takes and additional sequences. Even once finished (as the film is now), they still took their time in releasing it, waiting almost half a year before finally giving it a wide release in 1946.

(Host hands the narrator a small business card)

(Narrator): (reading the card) “And now a word from our sponsor?”

(Pie comes flying in from offstage and hits the Narrator in the face)

(Host): That’s right folks, our sponsor this week is Pie N De Face! If you’re feeling gloomy, and you don’t know what to do (and you’ve got a friend or family member nearby), use Pie N De Face, and you’re sure to bust a gut laughing! Also comes with a portable washing machine (water falls from above the Narrator, drenching him), soap (Narrator is scrubbed with soap, then drenched again), and dryer (a strong gust of wind blows on the Narrator, drying him up and fluffing out his clothing) so that you can use it again in a hurry!

(Narrator): (Angrily walks off-stage, sound of pie hitting him in face again, then sounds of gushing water and wind) (yells) Let’s move on here! Start talking about the movie!

(Host): Alright. Computer, bring in the “This Heart Of Mine” set.

(Computer): Bringing in comedy set.

(Out pops a set with three distinct sections that look like a subway car, a courthouse and a jail cell. There are also two telephone booths and an old CRT television set with what appears to be a bottle of an alcoholic beverage, although nothing inside is visible. A huge pile of sweepstakes tickets drops on the Host, burying him).

(Host): (from underneath the pile of sweepstakes tickets) Ow.

(Narrator): (Walking back onstage) That’s the ticket!

(Audience groans)

(Narrator): Ok, ok, they can’t all be good! Anyways, it may not be what he asked for, but we should mention the comedy sketches. Obviously, opinions will vary for most, but in general, the comedy bits in this movie are among the more controversial aspects of it, as there are those that don’t think they have aged as well as the various musical numbers. There is a degree to which I agree with that. The bit “Pay The Two Dollars” with Victor Moore and Edward Arnold is the worst, as Victor Moore plays a businessman who gets in trouble for spitting on the subway (a minor offense), but, because of the fact that he is unable to pay the fine, combined with the insistence of his lawyer that he fight the charge (even though he just wants to pay the fine), he is sent to jail and then later prison, before being pardoned. In general, this one is just cringeworthy, watching Victor Moore’s character getting in worse and worse scrapes, both financially and with the law, just because his lawyer doesn’t want to lose the case (and charges his client an arm and a leg to do it). Maybe it’s funny once or twice, but eventually this becomes one worth skipping. Computer, drop “Pay The Two Dollars.”

(Computer): Dropping the cheapskate.

(Trapdoor opens up beneath the Host).

(Host): (Falling through the trapdoor with some of the sweepstakes tickets) Aaaaaaaaahhhh!

(Narrator): Moving on, we have the the “Number Please” comedy bit with Keenan Wynn, where he keeps asking the operator for a specific number, but keeps getting the wrong one. This one is decently funny, but, when all is said and done, it’s essentially the “Alexander 2222” (or whatever other name they go with) comedy routine, and, when you’ve seen Lou Costello do that routine, nobody else is as good.

(Phone booth rings)

(Narrator): (Steps in phone booth and picks up phone) Hello? (Muffled voice overheard on phone) Mmm-hmm. (Muffled voice continues) You don’t say. (Muffled voice starts to sound angry). You don’t say! (Muffled voice gets angrier. Narrator cups his hand over the phone and gives the audience a look). I think most of you can predict what I’m about to tell you, so say it with me. (breathes in) “He isn’t saying.” Computer, drop this obscene caller.

(Computer): Dropping the obscene caller.

(Host): (from the other telephone booth, getting quieter as if falling again) Not agaaaaaaaiiiiinnnn!

(Narrator): The next comedy sketch would be “A Sweepstakes Ticket” with Fanny Brice, Hume Cronyn and William Frawley. Fanny Brice was the only featured star in this movie to have actually been one of the big stars from a Ziegfeld Follies show. Different sketches and ideas were thrown around for what to do with her for this movie, but what we got was a sketch in which she plays a housewife that has the winning ticket in an Irish sweepstakes. The problem is her husband, played by Hume Cronyn, has given the ticket to their landlord (William Frawley in what would become a familiar occupation for one of his most famous characters half a decade later) as part of their rent, so they must try to get it back from him. There’s some fun with their attempts to get the ticket back, so it does manage to be slightly more memorable. (speaks loudly) Of course, I’ve got that winning ticket in that pile somewhere…

(Host comes running back onstage and dives into remaining pile of sweepstakes tickets, only to fall through the still open trapdoor)

(Narrator): Knew I forget to take care of something. Computer, close the trapdoor.

(Computer): Closing the trapdoor.

(Trapdoor closes)

(Narrator): Our last comedy sketch is “When Television Comes” with Red Skelton. (Walks over to the television set and takes a swig from the bottle on top) While Red Skelton seems to be one of the more “you love him or you hate him” types, I will admit that I personally like his comedy. I don’t think his comedy bit here is as good as what he did in Lovely To Look At, but it’s still some good fun as he plays an advertiser that gets slowly more drunk on the sponsor’s product while alternating (by the turn of his hat) as a poet with some rather amusing poetry (if you can call it that). Out of all the pure comedy sketches in this movie, this is the one that I enjoy the most. (Takes another swig from the bottle) Ah, that’s good stuff. (To audience) Before you get the wrong idea, I’m drinking the hard stuff. Milk. What? You expected something alcoholic? We wouldn’t let anything of that nature on here! But let’s get back to the movie!

(Host): (weakly from offstage) What about “A Great Lady Has An Interview” with Judy Garland?

(Narrator): Well, that’s kind of a different story. That one is a musical number, which was written by Kay Thompson and Roger Edens for actress Greer Garson, in an attempt to spoof her screen image at the time. When the two writers performed it for Greer Garson and her husband and her mother, they expressed their feelings that it wasn’t for her. Instead, Judy Garland ended up doing it. Personally, while I think that Judy Garland does a good job with it (and I’m glad that she got something in this movie, considering she was another star that had a lot of stuff planned as possibilities that didn’t pan out, and, as big as she was at MGM, she did need to be in this film), I think the humor of the piece falls flat. Maybe I’m saying that coming from a complete lack of knowledge in regards to Greer Garson (having only seen her in the film Blossoms In The Dust which was part of a set of Christmas films I got on DVD a number of years back), but I can’t believe that I’m the only one who has no knowledge of her, which causes this number to age poorly, in my opinion.

(sign drops from above)

(Narrator): (reading the sign) “And now back to our sponsor Pie N De Face?”

(another pie comes flying in from offstage and hits the Narrator in the face).

(Host): (trying to stifle a giggle) If you’re feeling gloomy (starts giggling more intensely), and you don’t know what to do (and you’ve got a friend or family member nearby), use Pie N De Face (busts out in raucous laughter), and you’re… sure to… bust a gut… laughing! (starts rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter)

(Narrator): (wiping pie off his face) Oh, very funny. Veeeeerrrry funny. Are you through yet?

(Host still laughing on the floor)

(Narrator): Fine. I’ll finish the ad. (starts speaking fast to get it over with). Also comes with a portable washing machine, soap, and dryer so that you can use it again in a hurry! (In quick fashion, water drops on the Narrator, followed quickly by soap, more water, and then a strong gust of wind fluffs him up again)

(Host): (still on the floor laughing) Had enough?

(Narrator walks offstage muttering angrily to himself)

(Host): (laughter subsides) Ok, let’s try this again. Computer, bring in the “This Heart Of Mine” set.

(Computer): Bringing in “Beauty” set.

(From above, a bunch of soap suds and bubbles drop down, covering the stage and sticking to the Host)

(Host): (spitting out soap bubbles) No, no, no, not that! Computer! Bring in the “This Heart Of Mine” set!

(Computer): Bringing in “Water Ballet” set.

(Host): (dreading what is coming) Oh, no!

(A glass pane comes down covering the front of the stage, with water filling in behind it and washing away all the suds. The Host suddenly finds himself swimming in all the water as the water level continues to rise.)

(Narrator): (walking back onstage in front of the glass pane) Ah, two musical numbers that ended up being far different than what was originally planned. As I’ve hinted at already, a lot of the various stars were being given numerous songs or sketches in the planning stages, some of which managed to be filmed (but were dropped after the initial preview). One of those stars was singer James Melton, who had filmed at least four songs, but only one was retained: the operatic “La Traviata.” Personally, I think that to be one of the weakest (if not THE weakest) segments retained for the movie. I’ve seen it described as being filmed like a song for a TV variety show, which feels quite accurate. Overall, I don’t really like it at all (and only would have been able to tolerate it if it could have been done, for example, by Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy instead of James Melton and Marion Bell).

(The water level continues to rise. The Host swims his way over to the glass pane and taps on it.)

(Narrator): What? Oh, right, the two different musical numbers. Well, we have the one segment with Esther Williams doing her underwater ballet. Originally, this segment was done with James Melton singing the song “We Will Meet Again in Honolulu,” but after the initial preview, Melton’s appearance was cut, with only Esther Williams’ swim routine sticking around. It’s nothing compared to some of the spectacles she would do in some of her later films (at least, those that I’ve seen), but it’s entertaining enough.

(With the water level at the top, an agitated Host pounds furiously on the glass pane.)

(Narrator): (looking back) Now what? (sees water level) Oh, right! Computer, pull the plug.

(Computer): Pulling the plug.

(A hole opens up in the center of the stage, draining all the water. As the water goes down the hole, the Host goes down with it.)

(Narrator): (When all the water is gone) Computer, put in the plug.

(Computer): Putting in plug.

(The hole in the center of the stage closes up.)

(Host): (from down below) Why can’t that thing work that well for me?!?!?

(Narrator): (Ignoring the Host’s complaint) Now where were we? Oh, yes. The song “There’s Beauty Everywhere” was also quite different for its original conception. James Melton also originally sang that song, and director Vincente Minelli envisioned having Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer and Cyd Charisse dancing among soap bubbles. However, the bubble machine caused a lot of trouble, with the gas from the bubbles causing the cameraman to faint and otherwise became a constant hazard, not to mention the bubbles themselves getting out of control. As a result, they weren’t able to film it right (with the bubbles generally obscuring parts of Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer’s faces), so most of the idea was abandoned. Some of the footage featuring Cyd Charisse was kept in the film, and James Melton was replaced by Kathryn Grayson with some newly shot footage. Personally, I think it’s not really that memorable of a song, especially as it is, and makes me wish they could have (safely) pulled off their original vision.

(From offstage, the sound of machinery fizzling out can be heard. Then the Host walks onstage)

(Host): Darn it. There goes our sponsor’s machine. All those soap suds and that water shorted it out.

(Narrator): (in a mocking tone). Awww, that’s too bad.

(Host): (imitating the Narrator) “Awww, that’s too bad.” (Normal voice) Oh, you’ll get over it. Getting back to the movie, are you finished with the water ballet and “There’s Beauty Everywhere?”

(Narrator): Yes.

(Host): Anything you want to say about the song “Love” before segueing into discussing the Fred Astaire stuff?

(Narrator): Well, “Love,” as sung by Lena Horne, is a fun piece of music, and she does a wonderful job of singing it. I can’t really say much one way or the other about how it was staged, as that aspect doesn’t really feel that memorable. Still, as I said, the song itself sticks quite well in my memory, and is one of the better songs in the film.

(Host): Ready for Fred Astaire?

(A screen drops down from above)

(Narrator): (ducking behind the screen and popping out on the other side wearing a top hat and a tuxedo with tails, and carrying a cane) Ready!

(Host): Alright. We’ll give this one last shot. Computer, bring in the “Fred Astaire” set. (closes eyes and flinches)

(Computer): Bringing in “Fred Astaire” set.

(Host): (slowly opens one eye and looks around to see a set divided into four sections, with one occupied by a group of ladies all decked out in costumes with big headdresses, another occupied by the Chinatown section of London, another in a park with a statue of a man on a horse, and the other with a barren wintry landscape. Seeing the coast is clear, he unflinches and breathes a sigh of relief) Phew. Finally! (Suddenly, a piano drops on his head, knocking him out)

(Narrator): Hmm. That piano sounded out of tune. Oh, well. (pulls the unconscious Host out from under the piano and drags him offstage) Anyways, back to Fred. Compared to some of the many stars who had multiple segments planned that, for one reason or another didn’t make it into the final film, Fred Astaire managed to get four segments in the movie, besting Cyd Charisse and Lucille Bremer, who were tied at two each (while everybody else had one). Even then, Fred still had at least one segment cut, the song “If Swing Goes, I Go Too” (a song that he himself wrote). While the footage of that song no longer exists, the recording of it does. However, that was not included (for some reason) as an extra on the recent Blu-ray release.

Anyways, to get back to what is actually in the movie, after William Powell’s Ziegfeld introduces the idea behind the movie (in what little exists for a “plot”), he hands things off to Fred Astaire to start things off. Fred introduces everything with a few kind words about Ziegfeld, concluding with a reminder that Ziegfeld was a specialist in glorifying girls before launching into singing the song “Here’s To the Girls.” After singing the song and dancing (very, very briefly) with Cyd Charisse, he leaves the stage, leaving Cyd to dance with some other chorus girls, before we have a merry-go-round with ladies all dressed in pink, leading up to Lucille Ball leading a group of cat-like dancers (with a whip in hand). Of course, after glorifying the ladies, Virginia O’Brien shows up on horseback to “Bring On The Wonderful Men” (although it’s just her onscreen, without any men showing up). Neither song is necessarily that great, but they do help start off the proceedings quite well.

Moving on from there, we have Fred’s third appearance in this film (I know I’m doing this out of order, but we’ll get to his second appearance in a bit), dancing alongside Lucille Bremer for the song “Limehouse Blues.” Now, one thing that should be said here. Fred was worried about his song “If Swing Goes, I Go Too” becoming dated (because of the style of music), which is why that was deleted, but, among his song-and-dance routines that survived, “Limehouse Blues” has fared worse over time, with both him and Lucille Bremer made up to look Asian in appearance. But, if you can get past that, this is a wonderful routine that is out of the ordinary for Fred Astaire. For one thing, it’s a bit more balletic, with him doing some tricks like cartwheels, and, for another, both he and Lucille work with fans throughout the dream sequence. In spite of it’s issues, it’s still a very interesting routine that shows how well he could do with a variety of dance styles.

(Host): (Walking back onstage) Have you gotten to Fred and Gene yet?

(Narrator): No, I was just getting there. Fred’s last appearance in the film is for the song “The Babbitt And The Bromide,” which was originally written by the Gershwins for the Broadway show Funny Face starring Fred and his sister Adele. This time, Fred was paired with up-and-comer Gene Kelly, with the two of them providing the choreography for the different sections of the song. Before starting the song, they both rather amusingly reference each other’s big partners (obviously, for Fred it was Ginger Rogers, but for Gene, it was Rita Hayworth, since Cover Girl was still Gene’s big breakthrough at that point). Whatever the case, it’s still a lot of fun to see the two of them dancing together in their prime, as that was to be the only time they could work anything out (yes, I know they also danced together in That’s Entertainment, Part 2, but that was with them both nearly thirty years older than they were here).

(Host): Ok, that’s all fine and dandy, but what about “This Heart Of Mine?”

(Narrator): Yes, I know you’ve been leading to that one, but that’s why we’ve saved the best for last.

(A moving sidewalk starts up underneath the Host, who starts walking to keep up with it)

(Host): This isn’t too bad. Anyways, “This Heart Of Mine” is, in some respects, a shorter version of the story for the other Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer film, Yolanda And The Thief, with Fred playing a thief out to steal something from Lucille Bremer’s wealthy character.

(The Narrator pulls out a remote and presses a button. The moving sidewalk starts to move faster, forcing the Host to start jogging, then running.)

(Host): (Running out of breath) That’s not so easy! (Angrily points at the Narrator) You were planning this, weren’t y- (Host trips and falls on the moving sidewalk, which is going so fast now that he practically flies offstage. A commotion is heard backstage as he crashes into various objects.)

(Narrator): And off he goes again. Getting back to the “This Heart Of Mine” segment, it’s arguably one of the film’s best moments. We’ve got Fred and Lucille doing a ballroom dance together, with a beautiful piece of music to back them up. I know I like it, and the song itself gives me chills, especially when the chorus sings it near the end. It’s a longer song, clocking in at over ten minutes, but it’s well worth it for me.

Overall, I find this to be a very enjoyable film. As I’ve indicated, it’s a bit uneven, but, let’s be fair. As a revue, it’s going to be hard to keep everything good. Whatever the case, it’s one I’ve seen many times over the years. Most of the music is good, and there’s some fantastic dancing throughout (mostly provided by Fred Astaire, but there are some others doing well here, too). For me, I always like to sit through the whole thing without skipping through anything (in spite of the variation in quality of the segments). If you can get past the essentially nonexistent plot, then it’s a movie worth recommending (and certainly the best movie revue I’ve seen, even if that is a short list)!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray features a new transfer that comes from a 4K scan of most of the original camera negative. While some of the original negative is gone, I would say that overall, this transfer is much improved! The detail is much better, and the colors certainly have that three-strip Technicolor look to them! The picture has been cleaned up of dirt and debris. Extras include (besides the three shorts already mentioned) a featurette on the movie and audio-only outtakes of different musical numbers that were originally planned for the movie. I certainly think that this is the best way to enjoy this movie!

(Host comes back onstage carrying a stack of pies on his left hand, and one lone pie on his right, looking like he might throw them)

(Narrator): What are you doing with those?0

(Host): Well, even though the machine is broken, we do still have a sponsor for this post who needs-

(Narrator): (interrupting) Oh, no you don’t! I’ve had enough of Pie N De Face! Now give me those pies!

(Host): Are you sure? (winks at the audience).

(Narrator): Of course I’m sure! Now let me have them!

(Host gives the audience a look. However, that look is long enough for the Narrator to act and push the lone pie into the Host’s face. The Host falls down, and the pies in his other hand go flying. The Narrator starts laughing hysterically, and then all the pies fall down, covering the both of them. They wipe the pie off their faces, look at each other, and burst into uproarious laughter.)

(Narrator): (After finally calming down) Computer, bring the curtain down.

(Computer): Bringing the curtain down.

(The whole curtain falls down from above, landing on the Host and the Narrator).

(Narrator): Well, it seems that the Writer has thrown in almost everything now.

(A kitchen sink falls from above and lands on the Narrator’s head, knocking him out)

(Host): You just had to go there, didn’t you? Well, that’s all folks!

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart (September 2021)” featuring… Kismet (1955)

Next up among the films that I’ve been looking forward to revisiting for the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon, we’ve got the 1955 musical Kismet starring Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Dolores Gray and Vic Damone!

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Battle Of Gettysburg (1955)

(Available as an extra on the Kismet Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 29 minutes, 37 seconds)

The story of the Battle of Gettysburg is told using footage filmed at the Gettysburg National Military Park.  This short is narrated by Leslie Nielsen, with Frank Ferguson reading off Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at the end.  This is one of those shorts where you will either love it or hate it, as it is filmed without any human actors or reenactors, just narration, some sound effects to help get the idea across, the actual locations and some of the statues of the military men involved.  Without any people onscreen, I personally find it to be very dull, and mainly for education or Civil War enthusiasts.  Of course, watching it on this disc doesn’t help, as it is an unrestored, non-anamorphic transfer that limits the size of the picture, while also not being as detailed as one would prefer.  Overall, I have to give this one a hard pass, as I just didn’t care for it.

Coming Up Shorts! with… The First Bad Man (1955)

(Available as an extra on the Kismet Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection or as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 6 minutes, 35 seconds)

This short tells the story of Texas, circa one million B.C., where Dinosaur Dan laid claim to being the first bad man in Texas. In some respects, a precursor to The Flintstones, with the caveman era combined with modern ideas. Granted, this cartoon seems to have two distinct halves, with the first introducing us to the world it’s taking place in, and then the second, mainly preoccupied with Dinosaur Dan (and the posse chasing after him). It works quite well, even if not quite to the level of some of Tex Avery’s earlier cartoons. Still, it’s a fun cartoon, certain to provide many laughs (it certainly did for me)!  Of course, given that the Kismet Blu-ray preceded the Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 collection by several years, the transfer therefore isn’t as restored as the later version, with some specks and dirt still remaining (and the color not quite as vivid).

And Now For The Main Feature…

In the city of Baghdad, the Poet (Howard Keel) and his daughter, Marsinah (Ann Blyth) go about trying to sell his rhymes. They have no luck, so they separate, with Marsinah trying to snatch some food for their empty bellies. The Poet finds himself kidnapped by some men, who bring him to the famous robber, Jawan (Jay C. Flippen). The Poet is mistaken for Hajj the beggar, who some years earlier had put a curse on Jawan, resulting in his young son being kidnapped from him. Sensing an opportunity, the Poet charges Jawan one hundred gold pieces to undo the curse, and promises Jawan that he will find his son that very day. Jawan gives him the money and returns to Baghdad to look for his son, while the Poet makes his way back to the city on foot with his new fortune in hand. Meanwhile, Lalume (Dolores Gray), the wife of Baghdad’s judge, the Wazir (Sebastian Cabot), has just returned from Ababu. The Wazir was seeking a much-needed loan from the ruler of Ababu, and Lalume brought the news that the Wazir would be given all the gold that ten camels can carry. The catch? A royal marriage for the three princesses of Ababu, quite specifically to the Caliph (Vic Damone), which could prove troublesome. Elsewhere, the Poet has returned to the city, and gives Marsinah some money to buy herself some new clothes and such. He does some shopping of his own, but he is arrested when the Wazir’s guards notice that the purse of gold bears the sign of a wealthy family that had been robbed. Meanwhile, the Caliph has been walking around the city incognito, and sees Marsinah. Falling for her, he approaches her (without revealing his identity), and, since they are both interested in each other, they promise to meet later that evening. Now in front of the Wazir, the Poet is accused of being a thief, and sentenced to have one of his hands chopped off. He pleads for his hand to be saved, attracting Lalume’s attention. However, his pleas fall on deaf ears, and the Wazir orders BOTH hands to be chopped off, resulting in the Poet calling down curses on the Wazir. Before anything further happens, Jawan is brought in. Upon seeing the Poet, Jawan immediately starts lashing out at him in anger for deceiving him. He quickly changes his tune, however, when he sees the amulet around the Wazir’s neck. As the Wazir claims to have had it since his youth, Jawan declares that the Wazir is his son. The Wazir has no interest in Jawan (and thus sends him to the dungeon), but he is interested in the Poet’s “powers.” Upon realizing that the Poet had cursed the Wazir, he wonders what will happen. The answer comes quickly, as the Caliph makes a quick visit to announce that he will be getting married that night. Frustrated at the prospect of not getting his loan from the ruler of Ababu, the Wazir listens to Lalume’s advice and restores the Poet’s freedom and gold, and even makes him an Emir in exchange for reversing the curse. Lalume, of course, knows the Poet has no powers, but she is intrigued by him (and complains to him in private how bored she is by her marriage to the Wazir). When they hear the Caliph’s procession as he goes after his bride, the Wazir orders the Poet to do something about it. Under threat of being executed, the Poet starts up a big curse reversal ceremony (with Lalume’s help) as a distraction so that he can escape (which he does). The Poet quickly finds Marsinah and tries to explain the situation to her as they run. When they hear that the Caliph didn’t find his bride-to-be, the Poet reconsiders, and decides to go back to the Wazir’s palace to be an Emir. With Lalume’s help, he sends for Marsinah and invites her to stay there, where she will be safe. While the Caliph has the Wazir’s people searching the city for Marsinah, he visits the Wazir’s home. The Wazir still tries to push the princesses of Ababu as a potential marriage alliance, when they both see Marsinah amongst the Wazir’s harem. Believing her to be one of the Wazir’s wives, the Caliph declares that he will instead choose a bride that night from among those seeking a marriage alliance. When the Caliph leaves, the Wazir marries an unconscious Marsinah (so that the Caliph doesn’t catch him in a lie), although upon waking, she declares that she will kill herself if he tries to take advantage of her. Will Marsinah survive this night? And will the Poet be able to see past his own ambitions for his daughter’s sake?

Edward Knoblock originally wrote the play Kismet, which made its debut in 1911. Over the years, it made its way to movie screens several times, in 1914, 1920, 1930 and 1944. MGM had produced the 1944 film, and afterwards, musical producer Arthur Freed made plans to put together a film musical of the play, but held back on those plans when he heard that a musical version was being readied for Broadway. MGM bought the film rights even before the show opened. Luckily for the studio, it turned out to be a hit. Arthur Freed intended to have the film version directed by Vincente Minelli, but Vincente declined at first, stating that he didn’t care for the show. He only came around when he was promised his pet project, Lust For Life, in exchange for directing Kismet. However, a lot of his focus while making Kismet was spent on preparing for Lust For Life, and Stanley Donen had to finish filming when the production ran over and Vincente Minelli left for Europe for his film. As a result, Kismet wasn’t well-received by audiences, which was enough to end Howard Keel’s career in film musicals, as he returned to the stage after this film.

Due to Vincente Minelli’s indifference to the show, this movie has a common complaint of spectacle being emphasized over the actors, and it does seem that way. I will admit, visually, this film is a marvel to look at (even more so on the Blu-ray release from Warner Archive Collection), with the various sets and colors. The acting is a bit more inconsistent, with Howard Keel and Dolores Gray taking a more tongue-in-cheek/theatrical approach, while a lot of the rest of the cast (especially Ann Blyth and Vic Damone) play it straight. Obviously, it boils down to preferences, but I prefer Howard Keel and Dolores Gray’s performances, as I feel like they fit the material better (and they also look like they are having fun doing it). I also think Monty Woolley, who plays Omar (the Caliph’s advisor) leans more towards the theatrical, but he has so little to do beyond his initial two appearances, interacting with the Poet (in Hajj’s place) and walking through the market with the Caliph. Quite frankly, I consider Monty Woolley’s character being relegated to the background a minor strike against the movie.

Regardless of the performance styles one thing I can say about this movie: the music is absolutely beautiful to listen to! For the stage show, the music was adapted from themes of Alexander Borodin, with new lyrics and music written by Robert Wright and George Forrest. While I don’t think their acting style works as well for the film, I DO think that both Ann Blyth and Vic Damone have wonderful singing voices, particularly for the song “Stranger In Paradise,” which is probably my favorite song from this film. I also like the song “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” which is sung (and quite beautifully, I might add) by Ann Blyth. Howard Keel has some fun with stuff like “Fate” and “Gesticulate,” and Dolores Gray has the really fun “Not Since Nineveh” and the sensual “Bored” (even if the way that the song’s ending is staged comes across as a little stiff and unnatural). I first saw this movie on DVD as part of the Classic Musicals From The Dream Factory: Volume 3 set (and saw it twice then), but after upgrading it to Blu-ray after it was released in 2014, it’s become an almost yearly viewing, I’ve enjoyed it so much! So, if you can get past the disparate styles of acting, there is a good film and a wonderful musical to be found here (and one that I would certainly recommend)!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 53 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Howard Keel

Dolores Gray – The Opposite Sex (1956)

Hit The Deck (1955) – Vic Damone

Since You Went Away (1944) – Monty Woolley

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

Film Legends Of Yesteryear (2021): Rita Hayworth in… Pal Joey (1957)

Well, it’s September 17, which means that it’s time for another round of “Film Legends Of Yesteryear” with another Rita Hayworth film! Now, if I was strictly doing things in chronological order (working from the twelve film set I was given for Christmas 2020), then today’s film would be Miss Sadie Thompson. However, I’ve got the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon that I’ve been hosting for the month of September, so I decided to skip around to the one film left in the set that really fits: the 1957 musical Pal Joey, also starring Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Teacher’s Pet (1930)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 2 (1930-1931) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 54 seconds)

The Gang have a new teacher, and, since they don’t think they will like her as much as their previous one, Jackie (Jackie Cooper) makes plans to play some pranks on her. The fun continues in this short, which introduced June Marlowe as their teacher, Miss Crabtree. The humor obviously comes from Jackie’s plans, and how he unknowingly reveals them to Miss Crabtree (and, all things considered, I can’t say as I blame him). Dorothy DeBorba makes a quick appearance, mainly making a nuisance of herself (for the kids, not so much for us) by repeating what the others are saying. Overall, a fun short that manages both humor and warmth, and keeps me looking forward to the rest of the series!

And Now For The Main Feature…

After being kicked out of town for trying to romance the mayor’s underage daughter, Joey Evans (Frank Sinatra) makes his way to San Francisco. He tries looking for work there as a singer, but finds no openings. Finally, he sees a poster promoting his friend, bandleader Ned Galvin (Bobby Sherwood), who is working at the Barbary Coast Club. Joey tries to get a job there, but runs into trouble with the Club’s owner, Mike Miggins (Hank Henry), who knows Joey’s reputation and doesn’t want to hire him. Mike only reluctantly gives Joey a job when his emcee doesn’t show up, and Joey gets up on stage and does it successfully. Afterwards, he is introduced to one of the chorus girls, Linda English (Kim Novak), whom he starts flirting with almost immediately (although she doesn’t respond in kind). Ned invites both Joey and Linda to join the band at a charity event that evening being put on by society lady Vera Prentice-Simpson (Rita Hayworth). Joey recognizes Vera as a former stripper and, when the charity auction doesn’t meet its goal, he proposes the audience bid for her to do one of her old stripper routines. With that, the charity meets their goal (much to Vera’s embarrassment). Later that night, Joey and Ned walk Linda back to the rooming house she is living at. Joey sees a “room for rent” sign and, after Ned leaves, he convinces the landlady to let him rent the room (which just happens to be connected to Linda’s room via the bathroom). Over the next few days, Joey wins over most of the chorus girls at the club, with the two exceptions of Linda and her friend Gladys (Barbara Nichols). One night, Vera comes in to the club, but she and her two male escorts leave without paying. Since her presence there was essentially Joey’s fault, Mike fires him. However, Joey is able to delay his firing by betting that Vera will be back by the end of the week, or he can be fired without pay. To do something about it, Joey returns to Vera’s mansion and tells her that she caused him to lose his job, which gives him no choice but to leave town. Meanwhile, Linda starts to soften and accepts his invitation to dinner that Saturday. However, when Saturday comes around, Vera comes to the Club (thereby allowing Joey to keep his job), and she and Joey leave together. When he tells her about his dream of owning his own club, she decides to invest in the idea. She offers him a place to stay, either on her yacht or at her mansion, and they find a place in a much swankier neighborhood to establish his club. Linda is back to being mad at Joey for missing their dinner, but she (along with everybody at the Barbary Coast Club) are hired to come work at Joey’s new place, “Chez Joey.” While the place is being remodeled ahead of the grand opening, Joey starts getting his show in place. When Vera sees that Linda has been given the love song to perform, she gives Joey an ultimatum: get rid of Linda, or Chez Joey will never open. Will Joey be able to give up on his dream of owning a nightclub for Linda, or will he give in to Vera’s demand?

The stage musical Pal Joey, based on a series of short stories by John O’Hara, made its Broadway debut in late 1940. This show was Gene Kelly’s first lead role on Broadway, and helped him on his rise towards Hollywood. He signed first with David O. Selznick, with his contract later being sold completely to MGM after his film debut, For Me And My Gal, turned out to be a success. While they tried to figure out what exactly to do with him, MGM loaned him out to Columbia Pictures for the 1944 film Cover Girl with Rita Hayworth. With his newfound freedom to choreograph his own routines, Gene Kelly helped make the film a hit. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, had bought the film rights to Pal Joey, intending to have Gene Kelly reprise his role for the big screen, but, now that he was a bigger star, MGM refused to loan him out (at least, not for a price that Columbia was willing to pay), so the idea fell by the wayside. The play’s revival in the early 1950s also brought renewed interest in producing a movie, but the censors were now just as much what was stopping production. After making a number of changes (including some necessitated by the casting of Frank Sinatra, who was a singer as opposed to a dancer like Gene Kelly), the censors allowed production to go forward (of course, by that time, the Hays Office was getting a bit more lax in what they let through, combined with audiences no longer being as in favor of censorship as they had been). The film turned out to be a big hit at the box office, and even received four Oscar nominations.

In the original Broadway production of Pal Joey, there were fourteen songs, but only eight managed to make it into the movie, with four songs originally written for other shows being added. Personally, I think that Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth had the best songs in the film. While it was one of the Rodgers and Hart songs added for the movie, Frank’s rendition of “The Lady Is A Tramp” is one of the most memorable moments in the movie, in between being a great song (and Frank certainly does it justice with his singing) as well as the added comedy from Frank’s Joey using it to insult Rita’s Vera (with Hank Henry’s Mike Miggins groaning at this turn of events in the background). Then there’s Rita Hayworth singing (and when I say “singing,” I mean she was dubbed by Jo Ann Greer) “Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered” and “Zip” (which she also dances to), both of which manage to be quite entertaining. I’ll admit, even with her singing dubbed by Trudy Stevens, Kim Novak’s musical numbers are rather forgettable. She’s not terrible, but the other two leads feel far more at home in a musical than she does. Still, she has her moments in this film, including when her character tricks Joey into buying the dog (thus calling his bluff on a childhood sob story he had told her). I do think another weak spot on this movie is the film’s final musical number, a dream sequence set to the songs “What Do I Care for a Dame,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “I Could Write a Book.” It starts out fine, with Sinatra and the two leading ladies dancing together. The problem is the way it just cuts out, almost as if part of the movie is missing. From what I’ve heard, there was supposed to be more, with choreographer Hermes Pan putting together a much bigger sequence, but Frank Sinatra decided against it and started having stuff cut. I think it works well enough in the movie with the immediate reaction coming out of it, but it still feels cut short. In spite of these complaints, though, this is a movie that I have come to enjoy seeing every now and then. Certainly one I would recommend!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Pal Joey (1957)

This movie has had at least three releases on Blu-ray. The first edition came from Twilight Time waaaay back on February 14, 2012. That was a limited edition (at 3,000 copies) which has since sold out completely. On November 17, 2020, it was made available again as part of the twelve film Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate Collection from Mill Creek Entertainment. And for those who want this movie (but not any of the other Rita Hayworth films), on July 20, 2021, it was made available again individually by Sony Pictures Entertainment. I’ve seen both the Twilight Time and Mill Creek releases (but not the recent release from Sony), so the best I can say is that these appear to be the same transfer (which itself looks quite good), with the main differences being the disc encode. On that, the Twilight Time is better (but, again, it is out-of-print and very hard-to-find). Mill Creek releases tend to be done on the cheap (usually reflected in the pricing on their products and a poorer disc encode), so, unless you want any of the other films in the Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate Collection, I would sooner suggest the Sony release (but, again, it all boils down to what you are willing to pay for quality).

Film Length: 1 hour, 49 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Fire Down Below (1957) – Rita Hayworth – They Came To Cordura (1959)

High Society (1956)Frank SinatraKings Go Forth (1958)

Phffft (1954) – Kim Novak – The Notorious Landlady (1962)

Fire Down Below (1957)Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate CollectionThey Came To Cordura (1959)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… That Certain Age (1938)

For today’s recent Blu-ray release (and Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon entry), we’ve got another Deanna Durbin film from 1938, That Certain Age, also starring Melvyn Douglas!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pups Is Pups (1930)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 2 (1930-1931) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 18 minutes, 39 seconds)

Farina (Allen Hoskins) gets a job as a page at a pet show, and the rest of the Gang get their pets ready to enter in the show. This was another fun short, with all the various goings-on. While the main “story” of this one is focused on the kids preparing for the pet show, the real focus seems to be on Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) as he plays with his five puppies (which have been trained to come when he rings a bell). The other humorous recurring bit is Dorothy DeBorba (making her series debut) getting all dressed up, only to go jump in a mud puddle. Overall, a very fun entry in the series, which continues to suck me in!

And Now For The Main Feature…

To help some poor Boy Scouts go to camp, Alice Fullerton (Deanna Durbin) offers to help put on a show with her Boy Scout boyfriend, Kenneth “Ken” Warren (Jackie Cooper). However, they run into trouble because they want to use the guest cottage at her home as a rehearsal space, and her father, newspaper publisher Gilbert Fullerton (John Halliday), has effectively ordered his reporter Vincent Bullitt (Melvyn Douglas) to come stay there to work on a series of articles. Alice and her friends are furious when they are chased out by the servants as they prepare the cottage for Vincent, but Alice gets an idea when her mother, Dorothy Fullerton (Irene Rich), says that the idea is to provide Vincent with peace and quiet so that he can do his work. When Vincent arrives, Alice and her friends try to make the cottage seem haunted. At first, Vincent is scared, but quickly realizes he’s being fooled when he finds a wire being used to move some furniture around. He gets them all in the cottage, and finds out why they are trying to scare him away. When he admits that he doesn’t want to be there himself, they all come up with a plan to fool Alice’s father so that Vincent can leave. However, when Alice learns that Vincent is a little sick with a fever, she makes sure that he has to stay. In the process, she develops a crush on Vincent, and starts spending a lot of time with him. Ken starts getting jealous over this development, and offers Alice’s part in the show to Mary Lee (Peggy Stewart), who had also offered them some rehearsal space. However, Ken still wants to make up with Alice, and sends his younger sister, Butch (Juanita Quigley), to tell her so. She doesn’t find Alice, who is busy buying a birthday present for Vincent. Instead, Butch finds Alice’s diary, in which she tells of her feelings for Vincent, and Butch proceeds to show it to Ken. At Vincent’s birthday party, Alice tries to wear a more grown-up dress. Upon seeing her in it, her parents force her to go back up and change (which she does, while also refusing to come back). Ken brings her diary back to her, admitting to having seen some of it, and she admits to her feelings for Vincent (and how she views Ken as her friend). Despondent, Ken fakes relief and prepares to leave the party. Before he leaves, though, he tells Vincent off (thereby revealing to Vincent that Alice has feelings for him). Unsure of what to do, Vincent tells her parents, and they all try to figure out how to help her past this infatuation. But will they be able to help her get over Vincent before Ken up and joins the Navy?

That Certain Age had four new songs written for it. Those songs are “My Own,” “Be A Good Scout,” You’re As Pretty As A Picture” and the title tune, all of which were written by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson. Two other songs, “Les Filles de Cadiz” (by Léo Delibes) and the Aria from “Romeo et Juliette” (by Charles Gounod) were also included. I’ll admit, after the last two Deanna Durbin films I saw (three if we go all the way back to It Started With Eve), I was slightly disappointed with the music here, as none of it really stuck with me that strongly. I’ll admit, after listening to them again, that I did like “My Own” (which was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar, one of two nominations this film received) as well as “You’re As Pretty As A Picture.” They’re not as good as some of the other songs she’s done, but I think they are still worth listening to. Realistically, though, I love listening to Deanna sing, even with less memorable music, so it’s only a minor complaint with this movie.

So far, though, of the six Deanna Durbin films I’ve seen, this one was the weakest (but, if you’ll notice my score on it, I still have a VERY favorable opinion of it). One of my biggest problems is that it seems to be fairly similar to the later Nice Girl?, and that film had, in my mind, better music and better comedy. Don’t get me wrong, this film certainly has its moments in the comedic territory. The section where all the kids try to “haunt” the guest cottage in an effort to get Melvyn Douglas’s Vincent Bullitt out of there is quite funny (especially after he realizes what’s going on). There’s more fun later on when watching the three adults trying to dissuade Alice’s interest in Vincent (and how their attempts backfire). I still had a very enjoyable time with this one, even if the music and comedy weren’t quite as strong as in some of the others. It’s still one worth recommending, in my book!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Studios. This film has a pretty good transfer for the Blu-ray release. There are some scratches and other dirt here and there, but nothing that would seriously mar the viewing experience. Like Nice Girl? and Mad About Music, this was one of the nine titles Kino Lorber Studio Classics licensed for Blu-ray releases before being dropped (along with three others) when what was intended to be the first volume of three 3-film sets bombed. I’m certainly glad that this one made it out just the same (and, much to my delight, no sooner had I finished watching this movie than the other three dropped titles were announced for Blu-ray release at the beginning of this month, along with a fourth Deanna Durbin title that hadn’t been licensed out)! A highly recommended Blu-ray release!

Film Length: 1 hour, 41 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Mad About Music (1938)Deanna DurbinThree Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)

Melvyn Douglas – Ninotchka (1939)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart (September 2021)” featuring… Hit The Deck (1955)

Today’s entry in the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon is the 1955 film Hit The Deck starring Jane Powell, Tony Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Walter Pidgeon, Vic Damone, Gene Raymond, Ann Miller and Russ Tamblyn!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Prefabricated Pink (1967)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2 (1966-1968) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)

The Pink Panther sees a “Help Wanted” sign at a construction site, and hops right in to help out the workers.  I found this one to be middle-of-the-road as far as the Pink Panther is concerned.  It has its moments, as everything the Panther does keeps causing trouble for the various Little Men.  Honestly, I was slightly disappointed when the short started out with the Panther causing trouble for some of the workers, who would then get in trouble with the foreman (which was quite hilarious!) before dropping that idea entirely.  I’ll admit, sometimes jokes can go on too long, but that one wasn’t used enough in my opinion, with the remainder of the short just being similar to a lot of the stuff that the Panther has done before.  There is some fun and humor to be found here, that’s for sure, but I just feel I’ve seen the Panther do better with similar situations.

And Now For The Main Feature…

Chief Boatswain’s Mate William “Bilge” F. Clark (Tony Martin) and his two buddies, Rico Ferrari (Vic Damone) and Danny Xavier Smith (Russ Tamblyn), are on leave in San Francisco.  Bilge wants to go see his nightclub performer girlfriend, Ginger (Ann Miller), but Rico and Danny have some other plans.  When Bilge offers to have Ginger find them some dates, they agree to meet back at the club later.  However, none of them find things to be as they expect.  Bilge surprises Ginger, but she is mad at him for the fact that they have been engaged for six years, and tells him that she has met somebody else.  Rico goes to visit his mother, Mrs. Ottavio Ferrari (Kay Armen), but she is spending time with her neighbor (whom she likes), Mr. Peroni (J. Carrol Naish).  However, when Mr. Peroni sees just how old Rico is (as opposed to the picture his mother has of him at the age of nine), he leaves.  At home, Danny finds his father, Rear Admiral Daniel Xavier Smith (Walter Pidgeon), leaving for a meeting that will last the duration of his leave, and finds his sister Susan (Jane Powell) getting ready to go out and audition with the star of a Broadway show, Wendell Craig (Gene Raymond).  Danny goes to the theatre (which is right next to Ginger’s nightclub) to see Susan audition. There, he meets actress Carol Pace (Debbie Reynolds), who tells him that Wendell’s “auditions” usually happen at his hotel room.  The three buddies gets back together and commiserate over their troubles.  The three decide to go over to Wendell’s hotel room to get an unsuspecting Susan out of there.  Rico takes her away while the other two duke it out with Wendell, but she gets away from him.  When she arrives, she finds Danny and Bilge gone, and the place is a mess.  Wendell has already called the shore patrol, with intentions of filing charges (especially when he learns that one of the men was Susan’s brother).  She leaves with the intention of warning them and immediately runs into Rico. He takes her to his mother’s apartment, where everybody (including Carol) has gathered, with Ginger joining them later on.  They all try to figure out how to get the guys out of the mess they are in, but all that happens is everybody starts getting mad at everybody else and leaving.  The next day, the guys try to reconcile with the gals, and try to fix things.  But, with the shore patrol constantly breathing down their neck, can Susan and the guys convince Wendell Craig to drop the charges?

In 1922, a play called Shore Leave (by Hubert Osborne) was produced for the stage.  After that, the story would be adapted in many ways, including the 1927 stage musical Hit The Deck (with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Leo Robin, Clifford Grey and Irving Caesar), plus different movie versions coming from both versions of the tale.  As early as 1947, MGM bought the film rights to the stage musical from RKO studios.  However, the delay in actually doing anything with the property hurt its chances.  By the time the studio got around to it, television had become big, keeping more and more people at home instead of going to the movie theaters.  As a result, the studios would try cramming a bunch of stars into one film, hoping their star power would be enough to get audiences into theaters. For Hit The Deck, their star power wasn’t *quite* enough, and most of the cast were fired by MGM either directly after this film, or within one or two more.

Hit The Deck has a number of wonderful musical moments, but I’d be remiss to not talk about the film’s best-known one, the song “Hallelujah” (which is done twice in the movie). The first time is done within the first ten minutes (give or take) by Tony Martin, Vic Damone and a (dubbed) Russ Tamblyn (with backup by The Jubalaires). That version is kind of fun, but it pales in comparison to the second time (done as the film’s finale by the majority of the cast). I’ll tell you, that finale is about as joyful a musical number as any that I can think of, and is easily enough reason for me to stick this movie on every now and then! I love the singing, I love the orchestration, and I enjoy Ann Miller’s dance routine. Admittedly, done as a tap routine where she “drills” the sailors with her tap steps reminds me very strongly of Fred Astaire’s dance to “I’d Rather Lead A Band” in Follow The Fleet (1936) (incidentally, that was another filmed version of the play Shore Leave, albeit with a score by Irving Berlin). Personally, I prefer Fred’s version, but Ann Miller still does quite well here.

Of course, the song “Hallelujah” is hardly the only reason I like to watch this movie. I also enjoy some of the other music, including “Lucky Bird” (sung by Jane Powell), “Why, Oh Why?” (done twice, once with the men, and once later with the ladies), “Chiribiribee” with most of the cast, “Lady From The Bayou” with Ann Miller, and “A Kiss Or Two” and the Funhouse dance with Debbie Reynolds and Russ Tamblyn (and quite frankly, the last two I mentioned make me wish that Debbie Reynolds and Russ Tamblyn had been teamed up for more films together). Of course, I know this movie is not without its issues. There is some argument to be made that, with its huge cast, not everybody gets equal screen time, and that is fair. Quite frankly, I also think the first few minutes of the film with the three guys before they get to San Francisco have little to do with the rest of the movie, and could be removed without losing much of the story. It’s not the MGM musical at its absolute best, but I do enjoy this movie, and it’s one I’ve enjoyed sticking on every now and then. If for nothing else, it’s certainly good for cheering me up when I’m down! Definitely a movie I would recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 52 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Jane Powell

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Tony Martin

Athena (1954) – Debbie Reynolds – The Tender Trap (1955)

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Walter Pidgeon

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Vic Damone – Kismet (1955)

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Ann Miller – The Opposite Sex (1956)

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Russ Tamblyn

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Mad About Music (1938)

I hinted at the idea that I would be well-represented in this month’s Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon, and that continues to be true! Today, we’re looking at the 1938 Deanna Durbin musical Mad About Music, also starring Herbert Marshall, Gail Patrick and Arthur Treacher!

Coming Up Shorts! with… A Tough Winter (1930)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1 (1929-1930) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 35 seconds)

On a cold winter’s day, the gang spend some time inside with handyman Stepin Fetchit before getting together for a taffy pull. This one is one of the weaker shorts in this bunch, purely because of how poorly Stepin Fetchit and his very stereotyped comedy have aged (i.e., not well). There is some fun to be had with the taffy pull, as it starts out with the old “radio recipe switch”-type of gag (you know, where it starts off with one recipe and switches to another while nobody is listening). Then, there is all the mess the gang creates as they try to pull the taffy through the house (and boy, is it sticky). I would say that there is some enjoyment to be had here, but it mostly requires also being able to stomach the altogether too prominent Stepin Fetchit and his schtick.

And Now For The Main Feature…

Gwen Taylor (Gail Patrick) is a big Hollywood actress, with an equally big secret: she has a fourteen-year-old daughter! However, much to Gwen’s dismay, her manager, Dusty Turner (William Frawley), believes it’s better that the public doesn’t know about her daughter, as Gwen is considered a glamour girl. So, her daughter, Gloria Harkinson (Deanna Durbin), is going to a boarding school in Switzerland run by the Fusenot sisters, Annette (Elisabeth Risdon) and Louise (Nana Bryant). Gloria can’t talk about her mother, and since her father, a Navy flier, died when she was a baby, she decides to make up stories about a world-traveling, big-game hunter father. To help maintain these stories, she writes herself letters to send through the mail using different stamps from around the world collected by her friend, Pierre (Christian Rub), and has her mother send her different gifts, like an elephant tusk (although her mother has no idea why Gloria wants any of these things). However, another one of the girls at the school, Felice (Helen Parrish), doesn’t believe Gloria, and is bound and determined to prove that Gloria is making everything up. At a church service, Gloria meets a young boy named Tommy (Jackie Moran) from a nearby military boarding school who has a crush on her. When she finds out that he is also an American, she makes plans to meet him the next day. However, she gets into trouble and is punished. Being that the Fusenot sisters don’t like the girls mixing with the boys, Gloria’s only way to get out of there is to pretend to be meeting her father at the train station. However, all the other girls (including Felice) follow her, so she picks out the newly arrived composer Richard Todd (Herbert Marshall), telling him lies while making it appear to the other girls like he is supposed to be her father. Later, the Fusenot sisters come to Richard (via his butler/secretary Tripps, played by Arthur Treacher) to invite him to lunch. Upon learning why, he decides to come and tell the truth, but Gloria’s pleading convinces him to go along with her stories and pretend to be her father. For a few days, Richard enjoys acting as Gloria’s father, but then he is called to Paris on business. At first, Gloria plans to say goodbye, with plans to later “kill off” her father, but, upon seeing a newspaper story saying that her mother is in Paris, she decides to sneak on the train with Richard to go see her. But, with her mother being accompanied by her manager, Dusty Turner (who is trying to help Gwen maintain appearances as a glamour girl), will Gloria be able to see her mother? Or, for that matter, will she be able to maintain all the stories that she’s been telling about her father?

Following on from what I said about Deanna Durbin’s 1941 film Nice Girl?, I enjoyed Mad About Music as much for the music as I did for the rest of the film. This film had her singing four songs: three new ones written for this movie (“A Serenade To The Stars,” “I Love To Whistle” and “Chapel Bells”) with music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Harold Adamson, plus the classic hymn “Ave Maria.” I will admit, her version of “Ave Maria” is a little different than what I’m used to whenever I have heard the song. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just slightly jarring compared to how I’ve heard others do it. I do kind of like it, though and it’s one I hope will grow on me more with subsequent viewings. Of the three new songs, though, I quickly grew fond of “I Love To Whistle.” Of course, I should warn you that, if you don’t like that song, this movie will be harder to enjoy, as it’s sung at least three times in the movie (with Cappy Barra’s Harmonica Ensemble joining in for some fun on the second time). Again, I like it (and I thought the harmonica band was fun to watch), so, for me, it’s a plus to hear it so much!

Of course, the music is hardly the only reason I like this movie, as I certainly think the comedy adds something to it as well! Most of the comedy stems from the lies that Deanna’s Gloria tells about her father, and some of the lengths she has to go to to maintain them. The funniest moments are when Herbert Marshall’s Richard Todd decides to go along with them, particularly when he’s telling stories at the lunch, even managing to go along with the curve balls that Helen Parrish’s Felice is determined to throw to disprove everything. Overall, it’s a very heartwarming tale as we see Gloria and Richard becoming a father and daughter. The only complaint I have is how quick Richard and Gail Patrick’s Gwen Taylor become a couple at the end, without anything happening beforehand to indicate that they would like each other, but it’s a very minor thing. Overall, a very entertaining movie that I know I look forward to revisiting again and again in the future, and one I have no problem whatsoever in recommending!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Universal Studios. The transfer on this one is pretty good. A lot of the dust and dirt has been cleaned up. There are some scratches and dirt here and there, but they are relatively easy to miss (and forget). Like the previously reviewed Nice Girl?, this film was one of nine licensed by Kino Lorber Studio Classics (and one of the six that were dropped when the first three-film set bombed), so I’m glad to see that it did make it out to Blu-ray just the same, in a release I would certainly recommend!

Film Length: 1 hour, 36 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #5 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2021

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937)Deanna DurbinThat Certain Age (1938)

The Good Fairy (1935) – Herbert Marshall

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart (September 2021)” featuring… All-American Co-Ed (1941), Fiesta (1941) and Flying With Music (1942)

We’re here today for the first regular (Sunday) post as part of the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon, and it’s a triple-feature, as we delve into All-American Co-Ed and Fiesta from 1941, and Flying With Music from 1942!

Now why, you might be asking, am I doing a triple-feature in one post, as opposed to three like I’ve done before?  Well, the answer is simple.  These three titles are all streamliners!  For the uninitiated (which would also have included me a few years back), Hal Roach had been producing a number of short subjects (including the likes of Laurel and Hardy and the Little Rascals), up through the 1930s.  However, he felt that, by the mid-30s, they were becoming less popular with audiences.  With the rise of double-features, Hal Roach came up with the idea of films that were somewhere between the length of a short subject and a regular movie.  As not all theatres were equipped for regular double-features, this new format allowed them to show two streamliners in the space of one movie.  Due to their length, about four streamliners could be produced for the same cost of one regular movie, while also being more profitable.  So, since we have three streamliners that fit the musical bill, I figured it would be best to stick them all together in one post.

All-American Co-Ed (1941)

Film Length: 48 minutes, 26 seconds

When the Zeta Fraternity at Quinceton College puts on a big show, the publicity helps out that college.  Seeing what it has done for Quinceton, the publicist at Mar Brynn Horticultural School for Girls, Hap Holden (Harry Langdon), enlists the help of student Virginia Collinge (Frances Langford) to convince her aunt and college president Matilda Collinge (Esther Dale) that their college needs some publicity to attract more students.  They convince her to look into some horticultural beauty queens, designating them the “Girls Most Likely To Succeed.”  To help gain more attention, they also label the men from Quinceton’s Zeta Fraternity as the “Men Least Likely To Succeed.”  Now, the men of the fraternity don’t like that, and decide to send in one of their own “undercover” as one of the beauty queens.  Much to his regret, Bob Sheppard (Johnny Downs) is elected, and is given the alias “Bobbie DeWolfe,” who is the “Queen Of The Flowers.”  Once he arrives, he finds himself falling for Virginia, and wants to call off the stunt.  However, Virginia assumes that he and “Bobbie” are going together, and decides to break things off with him.  Meanwhile, his fraternity brothers are angry with him for trying to back out, and send in some local members to give him a nudge.  With all this trouble going on (and a show he’s helping the girls prepare), can Bob get himself out of this mess and back into Virginia’s good graces?

I’m more or less writing my comments now after having watched all three of these “films.” All-American Co-Ed was the middle of the group for me. I very much enjoyed this one for its story and some of its comedy. The music itself is only so-so, even “Out Of The Silence,” which was nominated for the Best Song Oscar that year. Again, the music is not really that memorable, but it’s enjoyable enough within the film. The dancing is nothing to write home about, with the opening number rather terrible (to be fair, that’s on purpose), although the final tune, “The Farmer’s Daughter” (which was written by Walter G. Samuels and Charles Newman) has some decent dancing. The film’s biggest trouble, in some respects, has to do with the concept of a straight male going undercover as a female at an all-girls college (even if he does otherwise try to keep to himself and keep sex out of it). Apart from that, this is an otherwise entertaining musical.

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Born To Dance (1936) – Frances Langford – Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Zenobia (1939) – Harry Langdon

Marjorie Woodworth – Flying With Music (1942)

Fiesta (1941)

Film Length: 44 minutes, 17 seconds

In a Mexican village, everybody is awaiting the return of Cholita (Ann Ayars), the niece of Rancho de las Flores owner Don Juan Hernández (Antonio Moreno).  In particular, her sweetheart José (Jorge Negrete) is planning to marry her.  However, when she arrives, Cholita quickly announces her engagement to radio star Fernando Gómez (George Givot).  When Fernando, who is not a native Mexican, makes some disparaging remarks about the town and the “bandits” in the area, José and Don Juan Hernández decide to teach him a lesson.  José and a few of his friends pretend to be bandits, and come riding into town.  They scare Fernando, and “kidnap” Cholita.  However, she gets away from them, and quickly realizes what they have done.  The next day, she announces her intentions to leave, along with Fernando.  Will she and José come back together, or will they go their separate ways?

Out of the three musical streamliners, Fiesta was arguably the one I came out of with the lowest opinion. This film’s biggest problem is that it leans fairly heavily on a few Mexican stereotypes (although, to be fair, it admits that with one of its characters spouting a few, and the other characters take advantage of that to try to scare him away). I would say that most of the music is forgettable. The main exception to that (for me) would be the song “Never Trust A Jumping Bean” (which was written by Edward Ward, Chet Forrest and Bob Wright and sung by Armida). After watching this streamliner twice, I find that that song manages to get stuck in my head (with no complaints from me!), and also has some fun Mexican dancing to go along with it. The story concept itself has certainly been done elsewhere (and better than here). While my comments may lean negatively here, I will still say that it was an enjoyable film, and one which I would have little trouble recommending for some (hopefully) harmless fun!

My Rating: 7/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

George Givot – Flying With Music (1942)

Flying With Music (1942)

Film Length: 46 minutes, 11 seconds

Harry Bernard (George Givot) has been hiding out on a Caribbean island, but finds himself pursued by two men: Joe (Edward Gargan) and his assistant, Wilbur (Jerry Bergen).  When Harry meets a man who is supposed to act as a tour guide for a group of American women (but is too scared to fly on the plane with them), Harry volunteers to take over as the guide.  The group includes one chaperone and five young women.  They are all on this trip because Ann Andrews (Marjorie Woodworth) convinced her father that it would be an “educational” trip.  So, their chaperone, Miss Mullens (Norma Varden), insists on just that, and Harry goes along with her orders to keep his job.  However, Ann’s real reason for taking the trip is to meet a Latin singer that she has fallen in love with (but has never met or seen, outside of a photograph).  When their pilot, Don Terry (William Marshall), asks her out, she takes the opportunity to go to a nightclub where her “flame” has been reported to perform at. At that nightclub, she finds that he is not there, but on the island of La Monica. Don learns why Ann is going out with him to the nightclub in the process, but decides to keep fighting for her interest. The island of La Monica is not on their itinerary, but, when they learn the truth about Harry, Ann and Don blackmail him into changing it (which works for him anyways, as Joe and Wilbur had once again found him). Don tries to keep romancing Ann, but will he be able to get her to forget her Latin “lover?”

Of the three, I find Flying With Music to be the most fun overall. It took a second viewing for me to come around to it more, but I find it to be quite enjoyable. The music for this film was written by Edward Ward, Chet Forrest and Bob Wright, and is overall the most memorable of these three streamliners. It contains songs like “If It’s Love,” “Pennies For Peppino” (which received a nomination for Best Song Oscar), “Rotana” (which, when all is said and done, feels like a poor man’s version of “Carioca” from the Astaire-Rogers film Flying Down To Rio, but it’s still entertaining), and the two I enjoyed the most, “Caribbean Magic” and “Song of the Lagoon.” More fun is added by Edward Gargan as a detective following George Givot’s Harry Bernard with the assistance of Jerry Bergen as Wilbur (who keeps his partner from actually catching Harry, since he would not be paid any further once they catch him). Admittedly, this also leads into one of the film’s more dated sections, with Harry getting knocked out and Wilbur putting clay on Harry’s face (thus making him look black), which is made worse by Harry leaning heavily into a cringeworthy black stereotype. Thankfully, it’s fairly brief. Even with that problematic moment, I will admit to enjoying this one quite a bit!

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Fiesta (1941) – George Givot

All-American Co-Ed (1941) – Marjorie Woodworth

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection Volume 4: The Musicals

These streamliners are available on DVD as part of The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection Volume 4: The Musicals from Classicflix. All-American Co-Ed and Flying With Music are both black-and-white films, and Fiesta is in color. The two black-and-white films look pretty good, save for a lot of dust and dirt and scratches that remain. I have no prior experience with Fiesta (and how it should look), so I can only guess, based on some of the other Technicolor films of the era that I’ve seen, that the color is off (again let me strongly emphasize, I AM GUESSING AS TO HOW IT SHOULD LOOK, I DO NOT KNOW FOR SURE). I wish all three could receive full-fledged restorations, but, at the same time, I fully understand why not. These are part of Classicflix’s DVD-only Silver Series, where they release films/streamliners/TV series that either don’t have the elements, or what they have is in bad enough shape that it would be too expensive to restore (compared to what the expected sales would be). It’s not perfect, but at least they are making sure these are made available for audiences to discover and potentially learn to love, anyway. I would say that the three musical streamliners in this set certainly are not big classics on their own, and there are some issues that date them. Still, they are quite entertaining, and I feel the set is well worth it, if only to enjoy some good music, some entertaining stories, and all within a shorter time span (seriously, if you can watch the entirety of an episode of an hour-long show in one sitting, you can watch one of these)! So I would definitely recommend it!

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Nice Girl? (1941)

For today’s movie review, we’ve got a movie doing double-duty again, both as a recent Blu-ray release as well as starting off my Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon! That film, of course, is the 1941 musical Nice Girl? starring Deanna Durbin!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Bear Shooters (1930)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1 (1929-1930) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 29 seconds)

The gang all go camping to hunt bears, but they unknowingly come across a pair of bootleggers who try to scare them off. While it’s not quite as good as some of the previous few Little Rascals shorts, this one was still quite entertaining. Of course, this one provides the laughs through two gags: Chubby (Norman Chaney) putting limburger cheese on the sick Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) instead of the grease he was supposed to, and one of the bootleggers dressed up as a gorilla. The gang are also joined by Leon Janney as “Spud” (apparently a one-time appearance), who is a rather forgettable character. Still, like the others that I’ve seen so far, it was fun, and worth seeing!

And Now For The Main Feature…

In the town of Stillwater, Connecticut lives high school principal Oliver Dana (Robert Benchley) and his three daughters. His oldest, Sylvia (Anne Gwynne), is a wannabe actress. His youngest, Nancy (Ann Gillis), likes to flirt with some of the boys (to the point of them physically fighting over her). His middle daughter, Jane (Deanna Durbin), helps him out with some of his dietary experiments. Jane resents her “nice girl” image, especially since her boyfriend, Don Webb (Robert Stack), seems to pay more attention to his car than to her. Due to the dietary experiments that he is working on, Oliver is being considered for a fellowship by the Van de Meer Foundation. They send their field man, Richard Calvert (Franchot Tone), to see for sure whether he merits it. As Richard turns out to be younger (and better-looking) than they had imagined, all three girls start vying for his attentions. Jane in particular attempts to impress him, although her attempts don’t quite work out. When Richard has to go back to New York ahead of a proposed trip to Australia, Jane volunteers to drive him. Since Don is working on her car, he offers to let her drive his car. When Don tells her that he would trust her no matter what she does, she is infuriated and decides to try to do something about her “nice girl” image. Using an idea she had gotten from something he had shown her before, she delays the car (without Richard knowing), which causes him to miss his train. In the process, she offers to drive him all the way back. On the way, they encounter a rainstorm (and, of course, the car malfunctions), resulting in them getting drenched. At Richard’s home, they both change clothes, and she attempts to seduce him. However, when Jane overhears him on the phone with his mother (in which he says that she is just “one of the Dana girls”), she feels foolish and leaves immediately for home. She arrives in town in the early morning, where she runs out of gas and accidentally wakes everybody in town up when the car’s horn gets stuck. Of course, that sets everyone’s tongues to wagging, and she locks herself in her room. She manages to tell her father the truth of what happened later, to which he is relieved. However, at the town’s charity bazaar, the gossip continues to flow, with everyone coming to the conclusion that she and Richard are engaged. Don hears the gossip, but doesn’t believe a word of it, and tells Jane so when she arrives. Furious at the fact that he is taking her for granted, she proceeds to tell everyone that the news of her “engagement” is true. Richard has also just arrived in town to tell Oliver that he is getting the fellowship, but, upon learning of the gossip, decides to go along with it. With some now pushing for an immediate ceremony, though, can they get out of this jam (especially since Jane realizes that she loves Don)?

Nice Girl? was based on a play called Nice Girl by Phyllis Duganne. The slight change in title was a reflection of actress Deanna Durbin being cast in the film. The young Deanna, who had up to this point been playing young girls, turned nineteen during the production of this film. As such, she was now making the transition into adult roles, and the film’s producers decided to add the question mark to the title to make it more ambiguous about whether she was indeed a “nice girl” (as her screen image had essentially been). When all was said and done, the movie essentially had three different endings: one where she sang the song “Thank You America” (which was the original one shown to U.S. audiences), one with her instead doing the song “There’ll Always Be an England,” which was mainly intended for their audience in the U.K., and a third version with her singing “Thank You America” in Spanish (for the Latin American countries).

As I’ve previously indicated, I had very little experience with Deanna Durbin prior to this year (outside of her being mentioned briefly in That’s Entertainment). Earlier this year, I experienced three of her films for the first time (and enjoyed all three quite a bit). Now, two of them, I mainly enjoyed for the stories and the performances, with the music not really sticking with me that much (although she certainly had a wonderful singing voice to handle it). With It Started With Eve, however, I found myself not only enjoying the story and her performance, but also at least the song “When I Sing.” Nice Girl? follows the trend of that film, not only with a good story and good performances, but also some very enjoyable music! I certainly know I enjoyed her opening song “Perhaps” quite well. But, the film’s best musical moment for me, was when she sang “Swanee River.” I’ve been hearing that song (and numerous versions of it) since I was a child, with my favorite being Bing Crosby’s version from the film Mississippi. However, with her voice, the chorus, and the overall orchestration, I found myself REALLY enjoying this version, and I would say it’s one of my favorite moments from her films so far!

Of course, I’ve enjoyed the comedy from her films as well, and this one still had it in spades! Admittedly, the best moments are when Franchot Tone’s Richard Calvert arrives at the Dana home, and all the girls start making themselves up for him (and never let him finish his story). Then, there’s later that evening, where they’re doing their exercises before going to bed (and he’s in the next room doing the same), and they talk about him (and how old they think he is), when he knocks on the door to tell them his age (and they then scurry off to bed). Honestly, both of those moments left me in stitches! Overall, this was a wonderful film, well-supported by a great cast, and it’s one I have zero hesitation in recommending!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Universal Studios. The transfer on this release is pretty good. Most of the dust and dirt has been cleaned up. There is an occasional speck or scratch, but nothing serious enough to ruin the enjoyment of this film. Sadly, of the three endings I mentioned, this release only contains the U.S. one (with her singing “Thank You America” to the troops), but, to be fair, this was one of nine titles originally licensed out to Kino Lorber Studio Classics (and one of the six that they dropped when the first set of three sold so poorly), so I’m grateful to be getting this one at all! It is a wonderful release, and highly recommended!

Film Length: 1 hour, 35 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #5 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2021

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)Deanna DurbinIt Started With Eve (1941)

Mutiny On The Bounty (1935) – Franchot Tone – Because Of Him (1946)

The Story Of Vernon And Irene Castle (1939) – Walter Brennan – Sergeant York (1941)

Robert Stack – To Be Or Not To Be (1942)

Dancing Lady (1933) – Robert Benchley – You’ll Never Get Rich (1941)

Swing Time (1936) – Helen Broderick – Because Of Him (1946)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!