Musical Monday: Carmen Jones (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.

This week’s musical:
Carmen Jones (1954) – Musical #585

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Otto Preminger

Starring:
Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, Brock Peters, Diahann Carroll, Olga James, Joe Adams, Roy Glenn, Nick Stewart, Alvin Ailey (uncredited), Carmen De Lavallade (uncredited), Bernie Hamilton (uncredited)

Plot:
Set during World War II in North Carolina, the plot is a modern version of the opera “Carmen.” Joe (Belafonte) is in the Army and is about to be sent to flight school to become a pilot and officer. His girlfriend Cindy Lou (James) comes to see him off and wants to get married before he leaves. All of these plans are thwarted when Carmen Jones (Dandridge) sets her eyes on Joe. Carmen works in a parachute factory on base and gets in a fight with another worker and is sent to jail. Joe has to take her to jail, but she escapes, which cause Joe to be thrown in the brig and be demoted in rank. When he gets out of jail, Joe tells Dorothy he’s still going to flight school, but she is angry that Joe would think of leaving her. The two run away to Chicago, making Joe A.W.O.L. With Joe in hiding from the military police, Carmen starts to see boxer Huskey Miller (Adams).

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Musical Monday: At War with the Army (1950)

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.

This week’s musical:
At War with the Army (1950) – Musical #581

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Hal Walker

Starring:
Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Polly Bergen, Mike Kellin, Jimmie Dundee, Tommy Farrell, Danny Dayton, William Mendrek, Angela Greene, Jean Ruth

Plot:
Set on an Army base during World War II, Pfc. Alvin Korwin (Lewis) and 1st Sgt. Vic Puccinelli (Martin) were friends before the war and had a nightclub act. Private Korwin wants to go home to see his newly born baby and Sgt. Puccinelli wants to be transferred overseas. Confusion ensues when a pregnant old girlfriend arrives to visit Sgt. Vic Puccinelli.

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Christmas Musical Monday: By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)

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.

This week’s musical:
By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)– Musical #174

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
David Butler

Starring:
Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Leon Ames, Rosemary DeCamp, Billy Gray, Mary Wickes, Russell Arms, Maria Palmer, Walter ‘PeeWee’ Flannery, Merv Griffin (uncredited)

Plot:
A sequel to On Moonlight Bay (1951), the story picks up in 1918 when Bill (MacRae) returns from World War I. Marjorie (Day) is anxious to discuss their wedding plans, as he promised when he left, but Bill doesn’t want to rush into wedlock. This causes a rift in their relationship. Marjorie’s brother Wesley (Gray) is still causing trouble in this film.

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Christmas Musical Monday: On Moonlight Bay (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.

This week’s musical:
On Moonlight Bay (1951) – Musical #118

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
Roy Del Ruth

Starring:
Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Leon Ames, Rosemary DeCamp, Billy Gray, Mary Wickes, Jack Smith, Ellen Corby

Plot:
Starting in 1916, the film looks at a year in the life of the Winfield family. The films starts when the family moves to a new neighborhood hoping to refine their tomboy daughter Marjorie (Day). Marjorie falls in love with college student William Sherman (MacRae), whose has college ideas have him saying he doesn’t believe in marriage and that banks are parasites. These ideas don’t please her parents (Ames and DeCamp), so Marjorie dates several other young men, but she is preoccupied with thoughts of William. The film is filled with antics of her younger brother (Gray).

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Musical Monday: Sunny Side of the Street (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.

sunny side of the streetThis week’s musical:
“Sunny Side of the Street” –Musical #487

Studio:
Columbia Pictures Corporations

Director:
Richard Quine

Starring:
Frankie Lane (as himself), Billy Daniels (as himself), Terry Moore, Jerome Courtland, Amanda Blake, Lynn Bari, Dick Wesson, Tori Arden (as herself), Audrey Long, William Tracy

Plot:
CBS Television Studio tour guide Ted Mason (Courtland) wants to be a singing star like Frankie Lane. Studio receptionist Betty Holloway (Moore) helps push him towards his goal and get him on television. But it’s his rich former girlfriend Gloria Pelley (Long) who lands Ted a high dollar contract. Romantic jealousy ensues.

Trivia:
-Filmed in “Super Cine Color”
-Scenes in this film show executives watching color television. By 1951, CBS created a color TV system. However, it failed because it was incompatible for most viewers. Color TV systems were later adopted in 1957.
-William Tracy, who plays Pepi in “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940), plays “Al Little” in this film and never speaks a word of dialogue. The character only whispers to others.
-Singers Frankie Lane, Tori Arden and Billy Daniels play themselves in the film.

Jerome Courtland wants to be a singing star in "Sunny Side of the Street."

Jerome Courtland wants to be a singing star in “Sunny Side of the Street.”

Notable Songs:
-“On the Sunny Side of the Street” sung by Frankie Lane
-“I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” sung by Frankie Lane
-“I May Be Wrong (But I think You’re Wonderful) sung by Frankie Lane and Tori Arden

Frankie Lane and Terry Moore

Frankie Lane and Terry Moore

My Review:
This is an interesting little film. It focuses on television when most film studios were wary of this new form of entertainment that could take audiences away from movie theaters.
None of the actors are remarkable in “Sunny Side of the Street.” Lynn Bari, who generally played a siren in 1940s films, plays the role of the older friend- skeptical of men but looking for love. Prior to this film, the only place I had seen Jerome Courtland prior was as “Tex” in “Battleground” (1949).
Most of the songs were pop standards when this film was released and are sung by recording stars such as Frankie Lane, Tori Arden and Billy Daniels. It’s entertaining to get a glimpse of popular music during this time.
“Sunny Side of the Street” is 71 minutes long, which is long enough for it’s plot. It’s not a remarkable film, but an interesting glimpse at how Hollywood incorporated television into a film.

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