Musical Monday: Hitting a New High (1937)

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:
Hitting a New High (1937) – Musical #634

Studio:
RKO Radio Pictures

Director:
Raoul Walsh

Starring:
Lily Pons, Jack Oakie, John Howard, Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Eduardo Ciannelli, Luis Alberni, Vinton Hayworth, Leonard Carey

Plot:
Suzette (Pons) as ambitions to be an opera singer, but finds herself singing in Jimmy James’ (Howard) night club jazz band in France. She meets Corny Davis (Oakie), who is the assistant of eccentric rich man, Lucius B. Blynn (Horton), who is always looking for a new singing to promote. Corny tells Suzette to meet them in Africa, where they are heading on Safari. Suzette poses as Oogahunga, the Bird-Girl with a beautiful voice. Lucius brings Suzette/Oogahunga back to the United States to make her an opera star. At the same time they arrive in New York, Jimmy James and his band arrive in New York City, planning on Suzette to sing with his band.

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Watching 1939: You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult.

1939 film: You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

Release date:
Feb. 17, 1939

Cast:
W.C. Fields, Edgar Bergen, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd, Constance Moore, John Arledge, James Bush, Thurston Hall, Mary Forbes, Edward Brophy, Arthur Hohl, Irving Bacon (uncredited), Grady Sutton (uncredited)

Studio:
Universal Studios

Director:
George Marshall

Plot:
Larsen E. Whipsnade (Fields) runs a financially failing circus. His children Victoria (Moore) and Phineas (Arledge) are trying to figure out how to help him. Phineas thinks Victoria should marry a rich man, Roger Bel-Goodie (Bush), to help out the family. Victoria visits the circus and meets The Great Edgar (Bergen) and his ventriloquist dummy, Charlie. Though she falls in love with Edgar, she thinks she should marry Roger.

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Musical Monday: Pepe (1960)

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:
Pepe (1960) – Musical #637

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
George Sidney

Starring:
Cantinflas, Dan Dailey, Shirley Jones, William Demarest, King Cotton the Horse
Themselves: Billie Burke, Ann B. Davis, Greer Garson, E.E. Fogelson, Bing Crosby, Maurice Chevalier, Michael Callan, Richard Conte, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy Durante, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hedda Hopper, Joey Bishop, Ernie Kovacs, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Peter Lawford, Jack Lemmon, Jay North, Kim Novak, André Previn, Donna Reed, Debbie Reynolds, Edward G. Robinson, Cesar Romero, Frank Sinatra,

Plot:
When his horse Don Juan (King Cotton) is sold, Pepe (Cantinflas) goes to Hollywood to get him back from has-been movie star and director Ted Holt (Daily). Along the way, Pepe meets a bevy of stars and Suzie Murphy (Jones) who wants to become a star but is jaded by the entertainment business.

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Musical Monday: Song of Freedom (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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Song of Freedom (1936) – Musical #639

Studio:
British Lion Films

Director:
J. Elder Wills

Starring:
Paul Robeson, Elisabeth Welch, Esme Percy, Robert Adams, Joan Fred Emney, Robert Adams, James Solomon, George Mozart, Jenny Dean, Cornelia Smith, Ronald Simpson, Bernard Ansell

Plot:
John Zinga (Robeson) works on the English docks and wants to travel to Africa to learn more about his heritage. While driving by, composer and impresario Gabriel Donozetti (Percy) hears John singing in the street. Struck by his voice, Donozetti seeks out John to make him an opera star. With the encouragement of his wife Ruth (Welch), John reluctantly accepts; seeing that this career could allow him the opportunity to travel to Africa. After one performance during an encore, John sings a piece of a song that he has known all his life, but isn’t sure of the origins. A professor in the audience tells John that the song is a war song for an African tribe and that John may be king based on a pendant that John has worn since childhood. John and Ruth travel to the small African island so he can lead the island and his people, but they aren’t welcomed with open arms.

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Musical Monday: Jazz Boat (1960)

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:
Jazz Boat (1960) – Musical #641

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Ken Hughes

Starring:
Anthony Newley, Anne Aubrey, Lionel Jeffries, David Lodge, Bernie Winters, James Booth, Joyce Blair, Leo McKern
Themselves: Ted Heath and his Music, Jean Philippe

Plot:
Bert (Newley) brags to Spider (Booth) and his gang that he is an experienced jewel burglar. He’s not, but he gets mixed up in the gang’s jewel heist. After the robbery, he tries to outrun the gang, and they all end up on the jazz boat.

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Watching 1939: Navy Secrets (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Navy Secrets (1939)

Release date: 
Feb. 8, 1939

Cast: 
Fay Wray, Grant Withers, Craig Reynolds, Wilhelm von Brincken, Robert Frazer, Dewey Robinson, Joseph Crehan, Joseph W. Girard, André Cheron

Studio: 
Monogram Pictures

Director: 
Howard Bretherton

Plot:
After spending his Navy shore leave with Carol Evans (Wray), CPO Jimmy Woodford (Reynolds) is arrested for suspicion of espionage. Not knowing he was arrested, Carol waits to meet Jimmy for a date but is met by his friend CPO Steve Roberts (Withers). While the two spend an evening together, Steve tries to figure out where a suspicious envelope is to be delivered, encountering Navy spies along the way.

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Musical Monday: Here Come the WAVES (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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Here Come the WAVES (1944) – Musical #640

Studio:
Paramount Studios

Director:
Mark Sandrich

Starring:
Bing Crosby, Betty Hutton, Sonny Tufts, Ann Doran, Noel Neill, Gwen Crawford, Catherine Craig, Anabel Shaw (billed as Marjorie Henshaw), Mona Freeman (uncredited)

Plot:
Susan (Hutton) and Rosemary (Hutton) are twin sister singers. Rosemary is more serious, and Susan is a bit more energetic and in love with famous singer Johnny Cabot (Crosby), a crooner who women go crazy for. Susan and Rosemary join the WAVES (the women’s reserve of United States Naval Reserve). Shortly after, Johnny is also drafted into the Navy. When Susan doesn’t want Johnny to be sent for active duty, she hatches a plan.

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Watching 1939: Fast and Furious (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Fast and Furious (1939)

Release date: 
Oct. 6, 1939

Cast: 
Franchot Tone, Ann Sothern, Ruth Hussey, Lee Bowman, Allyn Joslyn, John Miljan, Bernard Nedell, Gladys Blake, Mary Beth Hughes, Margaret Roach, James Burke, Frank Orth, Phillip Terry (uncredited), Claire James (uncredited)

Studio: 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: 
Busby Berkeley

Plot:
Garda Sloane (Sothern) convinces her husband Joel (Tone) to take a vacation. However, rather than a relaxing trip, they find themselves in Seaside City in the same hotel as a beauty contest with Joel signed up to be a judge to the contest, which he was convinced to invest in by Mike Stevens (Bowman). Garda isn’t pleased with Joel’s task, and Joel realizes something is amiss with the contest, especially when the pageant’s promoter Eric Bartell (Miljan) is murdered.

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Musical Monday: Flower Drum Song (1961)

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:
Flower Drum Song (1961) – Musical #160

Studio:
Universal International Pictures

Director:
Henry Koster

Starring:
Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Benson Fong, Jack Soo, Miyoshi Umeki, Juanita Hall, Reiko Sato, Patrick Adiarte, Kam Tong, Victor Sen Yung, Soo Yong, James Hong, Ching Wah Lee, Virginia Ann Lee (uncredited), Cherylene Lee (uncredited)

Plot:
Mei Li (Umeki) and her father (Tong) arrive in San Francisco from Hong Konh. Through traditional customs, Mei Li was selected as a “picture bride” for Sammy Fong (Soo). When they arrive, they find that Sammy wasn’t expecting them and owns a night club and not interested in the bride selected for him, as he is in love with clubs lead performer, Linda Low (Kwan). He knows a family looking for a bride for their son Wang Ta (Shigeta). The story looks at tradition versus living a modern, American life.

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Watching 1939: Bulldog Drummond’s Bride (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Bulldog Drummond’s Bride (1939)

Release date: 
July 12, 1939

Cast: 
John Howard, Heather Angel, H.B. Warner, Reginald Denny, E. E. Clive, Elizabeth Patterson, Eduardo Ciannelli, John Sutton

Studio: 
Paramount Studios

Director: 
James P. Hogan

Plot:
On the eve of the wedding of Capt. Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond to Phyllis Clavering (Angel), there is a bank robbery in London involving an explosion. Drummond irritates Colonel Nielson (Warner) and Inspector Tredennis (John Sutton) by trying to solve the case. Unbeknownst to Drummond and Phyllis, the robber hid the money in a radio in Drummond’s new flat. Phyllis takes the radio with her to her aunt’s (Patterson) in a small French village. Drummond follows Phyllis and the radio to solve the case and tie the knot.

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