Musical Monday: Step Lively (1944)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

step3This week’s musical:
Step Lively” (1944)– Musical #209

Studio:
RKO

Director:
Tim Whelan

Starring:
Frank Sinatra, George Murphy, Gloria DeHaven, Adolphe Menjou, Walter Slezak, Eugene Pallette, Anne Jeffreys, Grant Mitchell, Wally Brown, Dorothy Malone (uncredited)

Plot:
Gordon Miller (Murphy) wrecking havoc at a hotel where he’s rehearsing a musical comedy. Not only are his actors running rampant and eating all the food in the dining room, but he also doesn’t have any money to pay for the hotel, the actors or the play. Gordon’s brother-in-law and manager of the hotel Joe Gribble (Slezak) is in hot water as Gordon continues to run up his credit. Along the way, playwright Glenn Russell shows up wondering what became of his play that he sent to Gordon to produce. They find that Glenn can sing better than write and leading lady Christine (DeHaven) works to get him in the show.

Trivia:
-Musical version of the 1938 Marx Brothers film “Room Service.”

Frank Sinatra's first on-screen kiss with Gloria DeHaven

Frank Sinatra’s first on-screen kiss with Gloria DeHaven

-Gloria DeHaven gave Frank Sinatra his first on-screen kiss according to The Cinematic Legacy of Frank Sinatra by David Wills

-Frank Sinatra’s fifth feature film and the first time he received top billing.

-Music by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn

-This film was shown overseas in combat areas during World War II with “the compliments of the American Motion Picture Industry.”

-The original working title for the film was “Manhattan Serenade”

Awards:
-Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White

Musical number in Step Lively

Musical number in Step Lively

Notable Songs:
-“As Long As There’s Music” performed by Frank Sinatra
-“Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are” performed by Gloria DeHaven and Frank Sinatra
-“Where Does Love Begin?” performed by Gloria DeHaven, George Murphy and reprised by Anne Jeffreys and Frank Sinatra

My review:
In the grand scheme of film, “Step Lively” may not be a terribly important movie, but it was important in the film career of Frank Sinatra.

After five feature-length films where Sinatra appeared as a supporting role or singing with Tommy Dorsey’s band, Frank Sinatra had top billing, was wooing the leading lady and getting his first onscreen kiss. Critics were ambivalent towards the film but complimentary towards Sinatra.

“The onward and upward advancement of Frank Sinatra as a motion-picture star,” wrote New York Times critic Bosley Crowther in his July 27, 1944, review.

Frank Sinatra and Gloria DeHaven in "Step Lively"

Frank Sinatra and Gloria DeHaven in “Step Lively”

During this phase of his career, Frank Sinatra was generally played naive, sweet little guys who are very likable characters. Early in his career, Sinatra was also quite small, looking scarcely over 100 pounds, which this film makes jokes about. Even Crowther mentions Sinatra’s weight in his review: “But the whole film was rigged up to ride his (Sinatra). And it carries his meager weight quite well.”

Sinatra’s next film was the Technicolor MGM musical “Anchors Aweigh” (1945) with Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson and his film star just continued to climb after that.

“Step Lively is a musical remake of the Marx Brothers film “Room Service” so it has some zany features that the Marx Bros would have had, but it isn’t as over the top.

For a small RKO musical, this is filled with stars. George Murphy is the fast talking, unethical producer leading the zany situations. While he has the most screen time, he isn’t singing and tapping as he usually does. Murphy only has two numbers and no tap dancing. That’s my biggest disappointment with this movie.

Gloria DeHaven is a beautiful leading lady who sings some lovely, soothing songs. Anne Jefferys plays the secondary female lead and is humorous and also sings a couple of songs. However, she is barely in the film for more than 15 minutes, which is a shame because she had a fun character.

Overall, “Step Lively” is a “lively” little film that is an enjoyable romp. If you’re a Frank Sinatra fan, don’t miss this movie that helped kick off his film career.

Frank Sinatra, Gloria DeHaven and George Murphy in "Step Lively"

Frank Sinatra, Gloria DeHaven and George Murphy in “Step Lively”

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Review: Gidget Gets Married (1972) TV movie

Gidget and Moondoggie’s romance started onscreen in 1959 on the beaches of Malibu.
Though the real Gidget didn’t marry “Moondoggie,” the fictional one tied the knot in a 1972 TV movie, “Gidget Gets Married.”

At the end of the TV movie “Gidget Grows Up” (1969), Gidget and Jeff get engaged. Two years later, Gidget (Monie Ellis) has left her job at the United Nations and is now working as a first grade teacher. Jeff “Moondoggie” Stevens (Michael Burns) returns home from the Air Force and is ready to get married immediately.

Jeff/Moondoggie (Michael Burns) and Gidget (Monie Ellis)

Jeff/Moondoggie (Michael Burns) and Gidget (Monie Ellis)

The two go to Gidget’s dad (Macdonald Carey) who is wary of such a quick wedding but relents when he hears Jeff has an engineering job lined up. Former child star and Gidget’s old landlord Louis B. Latimer (Paul Lynde) attends the wedding and brings his movie cameras to capture the moment.

The movie is less about the wedding and more about the newlyweds adjusting to married life, new jobs and communities.

They move to Florida for Jeff’s job at Worldwide Dynamics. Their home is located in a company owned community and furniture is provided by Worldwide Dynamics, which doesn’t sit well with Gidget, because she can’t decorate her first home. Jets also fly over Gidget’s neighborhood. Worldwide Dynamics is separated into three communities based on status within the company and the neighborhoods aren’t supposed to fraternize.

Jeff works hard in his new job, often working late nights and weekends, so he can prove himself at work and get promoted. This upsets Gidget because she never sees him.

Don Ameche as Moondoggie's boss

Don Ameche as Moondoggie’s boss

Gidget decides to protest the loud jets and caste system like living situations with city hall, only to realize that Jeff’s strict boss Otis Ramsey (Don Ameche) is on city council and that Worldwide Dynamics runs the city. While Ramsey isn’t pleased with Gidget’s missions, his wife Claire (Joan Bennett) agrees with her. Gidget decides to protest for what’s right even if it means Jeff losing his job. All of this leads to marital spats as they adjust to life together.

Gidget protesting loud noises.

Gidget protesting loud noises.

Similarly to “Gidget Grows Up,” “Gidget Gets Married” was another ABC Movie of the Week which aired on TV on Jan. 4, 1972.

“Gidget Gets Married” isn’t quite what I expected. For whatever reason, I expected the show to revolve around planning their wedding and fights leading up to the big day. However, the wedding was within the first 10 minutes of the show, and newlyweds fighting and adjusting to life is a pretty typical plot.

Unlike the last two Gidget feature or TV films—Gidget Goes to Rome and Gidget Grows Up—we do actually see Gidget and Jeff surfing on their honeymoon. They reference their surfing background more than “Rome” or “Grows Up” as well, suggesting to get married on the beach where they met (they don’t) and Gidget gives Jeff surfboard cuff links that say “Gidget and Jeff: Forever in Tandem.”

Actress Mona Freeman with daughter Monie Ellis on the set of "Gidget Gets Married."

Actress Mona Freeman with daughter Monie Ellis on the set of “Gidget Gets Married.”

Monie Ellis is fine as Gidget—she’s pretty, short and perky—but I wasn’t a fan of Michael Burns as Jeff/Moondoggie. I think this would have been a stronger movie had Karen Valentine and Paul Peterson been recast or better yet—if Sandra Dee and James Darren had reprised their roles. Even if the plot was bad, Dee and Darren together again would have been the nostalgic touch this movie needed to engage me. Alas that is a pipe dream.

Monie Ellis may not be a name you’re familiar with, because she had few TV or movie roles. However, you do know her mother—actress Mona Freeman.

The most interesting part of this TV movie is the supporting cast filled with classic Hollywood stars: Don Ameche, Joan Bennett, Macdonald Carey and Elinor Donahue, who plays Gidget’s neighbor friend.

I felt Macdonald Carey was wasted as Gidget’s dad, because he had even less screen time than Robert Cummings in “Gidget Grows Up” (1969). Joan Bennett was still lovely, but I wish she had a larger role. I actually didn’t recognized Elinor Donahue until she had a closeup, because of her short, 1970s hairstyle.

Macdonald Carey as Gidget's dad in "Gidget Gets Married."

Macdonald Carey as Gidget’s dad in “Gidget Gets Married.”

Since Paul Lynde’s character of Louis B. Lattimer was the highlight in “Gidget Grows Up,” I was excited to see that he was reprising his role. However, his character was more exaggerated and over the top almost to the point of annoyance. I’m not sure if this was a director or character choice.

Paul Lynde in "Gidget Gets Married"

Paul Lynde in “Gidget Gets Married”

However, he did have some humorous lines that would please classic film fans such as:
• “I’m picketing the Freddie Bartholomew film festival at MOMA”
• “I’ll cut in some outtakes from Intolerance” (while filming the wedding)

It wouldn’t be an early 1970s film without a romantic montage set to music. This time it was during their honeymoon, but it was set to the worst song called “Good Morning Love.”

I went into “Gidget Gets Married” without expecting much and it met my mediocre expectations. However, it’s a letdown after coming from the joyous romp that is “Gidget Grows Up.”

Read more about the three Gidget feature films and our interview with Kathy Kohner:

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at cometoverhollywood@gmail.com

Musical Monday: Top Banana (1954)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

top bananaThis week’s musical:
“Top Banana” (1954)– Musical #550

Studio:
United Artists

Director:
Alfred E. Green

Starring:
Phil Silvers, Rose Marie, Danny Scholl, Jack Albertson, Judy Lynn, Bradford Hatton, Johnny Coy, Dick Dana

Plot:
Shot as if you are watching the Broadway play, the plot follows a demanding TV star Jerry Biffle (Silvers) trying to boost the ratings of his flailing TV program. He casts attractive young people Sally Peters (Lynn) and Cliff Lane (Scholl) as leads to raise ratings. It gets complicated when Sally and Cliff fall in love and Phil also loves Sally.

Trivia:
-Film adaptation of a 1951 Broadway musical show that also starred Phil Silvers. Phil Silvers won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical in 1952 for “Top Banana.” The show ran for 350 performances.
-Phil Silvers said that the film was shot in a day and a half and in one continuous shot.
-Many of the original Broadway cast members were in the film.
-Music by Johnny Mercer and Hy Kraft
-Shot in 3D but released in 2D

Highlights:
-Shot like you’re watching a Broadway play

Phil Silvers in "Top Banana" (Photo from Forgotten Films Blog)

Phil Silvers in “Top Banana” (Photo from Forgotten Films Blog)

Notable Songs:
None where memorable enough to note.

My review:
It was a struggle to get through this movie.

I started “Top Banana” without reading anything prior about the movie or its origins so I was a little confused. “Top Banana” was a hit Broadway show that ran 350 performances. It was adapted into a film, but unlike other Broadway shows created to fit the silver screen such as Oklahoma or Little Abner, “Top Banana” was shot just like you’re watching the Broadway play – sets, entrances, actors, curtain call and all.

That’s where I was confused: I knew the plot but I wasn’t sure if we were seeing the TV show Silvers is putting on or the plot outside of the TV show. Turns out that it’s all the above.

“Top Banana” is interesting, because I have never seen another musical shot as if I was watching a play. The cinematographer literally set up a camera facing a stage (mixing in some medium, long and close shots) and let the film roll as the cast put on the same show as it was performed on Broadway. It was even shot in 3D so the audience would feel like they were at the theater. However, that’s about where the novelty ends for me.

A little Phil Silvers can go a long way, and when he’s the lead of the film, it’s exhausting. I don’t necessarily dislike Phil Silvers, I’m just not a fan of his style of comedy.

The film begins with a song and dance number when someone yells cut. We learn that this is a rehearsal for a TV show that went well into the night as they try to perfect performances to raise ratings. Phil Silvers enters, frustrated that the show is failing. Since this was shot like a play, the scenes were very long. For example, the scene when Phil Silvers enters into his dressing room goes on for 20 minutes without cutting.

Judy Lynn and Danny Scholl in Top Banana (Photo from Forgotten Films blog)

Judy Lynn and Danny Scholl in Top Banana (Photo from Forgotten Films blog)

We then are taken to meet our two secondary leads played by Judy Lynn and Danny Scholl. We go back and forth from plot to musical numbers and rehearsals from the TV show. This back and forth is what made it confusing for me at first–I wasn’t sure what was supposed to be the real life plot and what was supposed to be the TV show plot. Eventually I figured it out though.

Other than Phil Silvers, Rose Marie and Jack Albertson, movie fans won’t recognize many of the other actors in this film. Judy Lynn only appeared in three film or TV appearances and mainly seems to have performed on Broadway. I wasn’t a fan of her singing style, because it sounded like she was shouting.

Though Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to the songs, they weren’t his typical toe tappers. None of the songs really grabbed me and mostly felt frantic. There were some interesting dance numbers though.

The original run time for this film was 100 minutes but current prints (including the TCM print) are 84 minutes. This explains some odd jump cuts in the middle of some numbers. Despite the unexpected edits, I can’t say I was upset that this movie was 16 minutes shorter.

Despite my unenthusiastic review, it seems that movie critics enjoyed this movie at the time. The usually grumpy New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther (who spits on most of the musicals I enjoy in his original reviews) gave “Top Banana” a glowing review.

Phil Silvers as his character Jerry Biffle.

Phil Silvers as his character Jerry Biffle.

“Mr. Silvers is in it, and so long as he is romping around, shouting his head off at people and prodigally tossing out gags—which, we are happy to inform you, is just about all the time—there is gaiety and bounce in ‘Top Banana.’ It is a very amusing mess of film,” Crowther wrote in his Feb. 20, 1954, review.

Crowther’s only complaint is that the “color is shabby” and it’s cheaply shot, but he still says it’s hilarious. I wonder if it’s because “Top Banana” was such a hit at the time that people were still thrilled with the film version at the time. We could compare it to the “Wicked” or “Hamilton” of today: Huge Broadway hits and even if a movie version was released that wasn’t great, audiences would still love it at the time. However, it didn’t do well financially, so maybe Mr. Crowther was just being kind.

While this is one of those movies I could say I “suffered through,” it is indeed “a fascinating curio” (to quote Leonard Maltin) with the way it was shot. If you are a theater fan or enjoy film novelties, check it out. If not, steer clear.

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Review: Gidget Grows Up (1969) TV movie

The world was changing in the late-1960s.

The anti-authority, anti-capitalism, anti-war and free-love movements brought a shift in popular culture.

The surf culture that erupted after Fredrick Kohner’s book “Gidget” hit the shelves was starting to fade with dissatisfaction of establishment. This caused a shift in pop culture, and films and music focused more on social movements and issues rather than wanting to hold hands or surf the USA. There no longer was a place for Technicolor fluff films focusing on beach parties, surfing and wahinis in wild bikinis.

So how does Frances “Gidget” Lawrence, the surfing “girl midget” who first appeared in 1957, fit in a changing world?

She goes to work at the United Nations.

Gidget (Karen Valentine) and her friends Diana (Susan Batson) and Minnie (Helen Funai) become United Nations guides. (Comet Over Hollywood screencap)

Gidget (Karen Valentine) and her friends Diana (Susan Batson) and Minnie (Helen Funai) become United Nations guides. (Comet Over Hollywood screencap)

After three feature “Gidget” films and a 1965 television show that lasted one season, the 1969 television film “Gidget Grows Up” places Gidget in New York City. She’s ready to change the world at the United Nations (UN), which she describes as “one of humanity’s noblest achievements.”

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Musical Monday: Music in the Air (1934)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

music in the airThis week’s musical:
“Music in the Air” (1934)– Musical #549

Studio:
Fox Film Corporation

Director:
Joe May

Starring:
Gloria Swanson, John Boles, Douglass Montgomery, Reginald Owen, June Lang, Al Shean, Marjorie Main, Sara Haden,

Plot:
Set in the Bavarian Alps, small town teacher Karl Roder (Montgomery) is in love with Sieglinde Lessing (Lang), who is the daughter of composer Dr. Walter Lessing (Shean). The two meet a quarreling acting couple- Bruno Mahler (Boles) and primadona Frieda Hotzfelt (Swanson). Bruno and Frieda take advantage of Karl and Sieglinde to make each other jealous. Bruno makes Sieglinde the lead in a new operetta, leaving Karl despondent.

Trivia:
-The “Music in the Air” was originally a Broadway musical. It opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City on Nov. 8, 1932, and ran for 342 performances.
-Directorial debut of Joe May in America. May started his film career in Germany in 1910, but fled in 1934 when the Nazis started to take power.
-Actor Douglass Montgomery was dubbed by Dave O’Brien
-Actress June Lang dubbed by Betty Heistand
-Billy (billed as Billie) Wilder was one of the scriptwriters. Billy Wilder later directed Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Blvd.” (1950).
-Gloria Swanson’s voice coach during the film was Dr. Marifiotti, Caruso’s voice coach, according to Gloria Swanson’s autobiography, “Swanson.”
-Music composed by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein
-The song “The Song is You” was a hit on the Broadway play, but was cut from the film.

Highlights:
-Hearing Gloria Swanson and John Boles sing

Al Shean, Reginald Owen, Douglass Montgomery, Gloria Swanson, June Lang and John Boles

Al Shean, Reginald Owen, Douglass Montgomery, Gloria Swanson, June Lang and John Boles

Notable Songs:
-“I’ve Told Every Little Star” performed by June Lang and Douglass Montgomery
-“One More Dance” performed by John Boles
-“I’m Alone” performed by Gloria Swanson

My review:
“Music in the Air” is a quaint little film.

The cast is excellent, the songs are beautiful and the set designed to look like the Bavarian Alps is lovely.

For contemporary classic film audiences, many are mainly familiar with Gloria Swanson in her silent films and in “Sunset Boulevard.” Like audiences forget that Irene Dunne can sing, it’s also overlooked that Swanson was in multiple musicals and has a lovely operatic voice. I think these go overlooked because they aren’t aired on television often and can be difficult to find.

John Boles also has a very pleasant singing voice.

While John Boles and Gloria Swanson are the leads, June Lang and Douglass Montgomery have the most screen time as the secondary leads. They are pleasant actors, particularly Douglass Montgomery, who is handsome (you may recognize him as Laurie from “Little Women” (1933). However, both of them were dubbed in the movie.

One thing I think is interesting about this film is that it is almost divided up into acts, as the Broadway play was. But it also isn’t obvious that it was a play (as some early talking films were), with long scenes with too much talking.

The plot isn’t very dynamic and is an old story: couples using someone else to make their lover selfish. I think that is where the film lost me a little bit. While I enjoyed it, 75 minutes of the 90 minute film is the couple making each other jealous-in between songs. That seemed a bit excessive.

The most interesting fact about the film is that director Joe May was a successful director in Germany, starting from 1910. However, May, who was Jewish, had to flee the the United States when the Nazis took power in 1934. May was unable to regain the success he once had in Germany. He made his last film 1944.

Another interesting point is that Billy Wilder (then spelling his name as Bille) is billed as one of the screenwriters. Wilder and Gloria Swanson were later re-teamed for “Sunset Blvd.”

While I find the movie pleasant, it wasn’t a success.

“We all felt fairly certain of success during shooting, but the picture flopped,” Swanson wrote in her autobiography. “The nation at large ignored Music in the Air and rushed instead to see Stand Up and Cheer, a musical starring a six-year-old Shirley Temple.”

“Music in the Air” is a film I’m on the fence about. While it was light and entertaining, I also didn’t feel very engaged. However, it was a treat to see John Boles and Gloria Swanson singing together.

John Boles and Gloria Swanson in "Music in the Air" (1934).

John Boles and Gloria Swanson in “Music in the Air” (1934).

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at cometoverhollywood@gmail.com

Musical Monday: Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

GoldDiggers1937001This week’s musical:
“Gold Diggers of 1937” (1936)– Musical #216

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
Lloyd Bacon

Starring:
Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell, Victor Moore, Lee Dixon, Osgood Perkins, Rosalind Marquis, Irene Ware, Carole Landis (uncredited), Jane Wyman (uncredited)

Plot:
Sickly Broadway producer J.J. Hobart (Moore) is broke but doesn’t know it. His scheming assistants, who are responsible for the financial downfall, decide to take out a $1 million insurance policy on Hobart so they can collect when he dies. While they work to keep him unhealthy with the help of Genevieve Larkin (Farrell), insurance salesman Rosmer Peck (Powell) and his girl Norma Perry (Blondell) try to keep him healthy.

Trivia:
-Choreography by Busby Berkeley
-Carole Landis and Jane Wyman played uncredited chorus girls in the film
-The song “Hush Mah Mouth” was written for the film but not used.
-This film follows four “gold diggers” movies made from 1923 to 1936: The Gold Diggers (1923), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935). One more movie follows this film, “Gold Diggers in Paris” (1938)

Dick Powell and Joan Blondell in "Gold Diggers of 1937"

Dick Powell and Joan Blondell in “Gold Diggers of 1937”

Highlights:
-The “All’s Fair in Love and War” number choreographed by Busby Berkeley

Notable Songs:
-“With Plenty of Money and You” performed by Dick Powell
-“Life Insurance Song” performed by Dick Powell
-“Speaking of the Weather” performed by Dick Powell and Joan Blondell
-“All’s Fair in Love and War” performed by Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Lee Dixon, Rosalind Marquis

Dancers during the "All's Fair in Love and War" number in "Gold Diggers of 1937"

Dancers during the “All’s Fair in Love and War” number in “Gold Diggers of 1937”

My review:
“Gold Diggers of 1937” may not be as well known as it’s pre-code counterparts with “We’re in the Money” and “Lullaby of Broadway,” but I think it’s just as fun–if not more.

This was filmed during what we should call “The Dick Powell mustache years.” This movie is the start of the end of his crooning days, which ended officially in 1944 with Meet the People. However, Powell still sells a song as good as ever.

Glenda Farrell and Victor Moore in "Gold Diggers of 1937"

Glenda Farrell and Victor Moore in “Gold Diggers of 1937”

While Ruby Keeler and Ginger Rogers aren’t part of the gold digging teams, this film has an excellent cast. Glenda Farrell and Joan Blondell are wonderful, as always, and the lesser known Rosalind Marquis is also adorable.

While this film is fun and very witty, the best part of this musical are the songs. They are all so catchy and you’ll keep singing them for the rest of the day, especially “Plenty of Money and You.”

The “All’s Fair in Love and War” is a really fun musical number as well with a fun tune.

Catch this one. It will keep you smiling throughout the whole 100 minutes.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at cometoverhollywood@gmail.com

Musical Monday: Song of the Islands (1942)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

islandsdThis week’s musical:
Song of the Islands” (1942)– Musical #393

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Walter Lang

Starring:
Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Thomas Mitchell, Jack Oakie, Billy Gilbert, George Barbier, Hilo Hattie, Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiians

Plot:
Eileen O’Brien (Grable) returns to her beach combing father’s (Mitchell) home in Hawaii after going to school in the states. At the same time, Jeff Harper (Mature) shows up on the island with his buddy Rusty (Oakie) on the island to help transport his father’s (Barbier) cattle. Jeff and his father want Dennis O’Brien’s (Mitchell) land to build a pier to help transport the cattle. The cattle business gets in the way of the budding romance of Jeff and Eileen.

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Musical Monday: It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

fair1This week’s musical:
It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963)– Musical #547

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Norman Taurog

Starring:
Elvis Presley, Joan O’Brien, Gary Lockwood, Vicky Tiu, Yvonne Craig, Kam Tong, H.M. Wynant, Kurt Russell (uncredited)

Plot:
Mike (Elvis) and Danny (Lockwood) play two crop-duster pilots. Danny loses all of their pay gambling so the two are broke. While hitchhiking, they end up on Uncle Walter (Tong) and Sue-Lin’s (Tiu) truck to the Seattle World’s Fair. Uncle Walter isn’t able to take Sue-Lin to the fair, so Mike volunteers; giving him the opportunity to meet pretty nurse, Dianne (O’Brien).

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Musical Monday: Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

paintingThis week’s musical:
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)– Musical #409

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
David Butler

Starring:
Dennis Morgan, Virginia Mayo, Gene Nelson, Lucille Norman, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Virginia Gibson, Tom Conway, Wallace Ford

Plot:
Vince (Morgan) has a gambling problem and his girlfriend Abby (Norman) has had enough and leaves for Las Vegas with her two singing partners, Carol (Mayo) and June (Gibson). The three are in search for millionaires, but one follows him there: millionaire dancer Ted Lansing (Nelson). However, Ted’s family isn’t keen on him marrying a performer.

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Musical Monday: Flirtation Walk (1934)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

flirtation walkThis week’s musical:
Flirtation Walk (1934) – Musical #265

Studio:
First National Productions Corporation

Director:
Frank Borzage

Starring:
Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Pat O’Brien, Ross Alexander, John Arledge, John Eldredge, Henry O’Neill, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams

Plot:
Dick Dorcy (Powell) is a private in the Army station in Hawaii. He is assigned to drive visiting general’s daughter, Kitt Fitts (Keeler). Kitt ditches a reception she is required to go to, ordering Dick to show her around Hawaii. This puts Dick in hot-water, and to avoid court martial, the two-part. Dick heads to West Point to become an officer to be the equal of Kitt’s boyfriend, Lieut. Biddle (Eldredge).
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