Musical Monday: The Balloon Goes Up (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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
The Balloon Goes Up (1942) – Musical #692

Studio:
New Realm Pictures

Director:
Redd Davis

Starring:
Ethel Revnell, Gracie West, Ronald Shiner, Donald Peers, Gordon McLeod, Gertrude Maesmore Morris, Elsie Wagstaff

Plot:
Ethel (Revnell) and Gracie (West) try to enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) so they can go to a dance. In the process, they capture German spies and join the Balloon Command.

Trivia:
• The third film starring Ethel Revnell and Gracie West.
• First film of singer Donald Peers.
• New Realm generally produced musical shorts. The Balloon Goes Up was an experiment in creating a feature-length film.

balloon goes up

Ethel Revnell and Gracie West

Highlights:
• The real footage of the WAAF Balloon Command.

Notable Songs:
• “I’ll Be Coming Home soon” performed by Donald Peers
• “The Balloon Goes Up” performed by Ethel Revnell and Gracie West
• “We Do See Life” performed by Ethel Revnell and Gracie West
• “You’ve Gotta Smile” performed by Donald Peers

My review:
“The Balloon Goes Up” is a brisk 53-minute musical with musical numbers that were better than the plot.

The plot follows two women, Ethel and Gracie, who decide to join the WAAFs so that they can go to a dance and meet men. Not exactly cut out for the work, they still manage to catch German spies.

This was my first introduction to comedic team Ethel Revnell and Gracie West, who were a comedic team. They were pretty funny and I enjoyed their musical numbers together.
To me, the most interesting aspect of the film was the real-life footage of WAAFs in the Balloon Command. It also had interesting credits, showing the sheet music for each song that will be performed.

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