Musical Monday: The West Point Story (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: The West Point Story (1950) – Musical #336

Studio: Warner Brothers

Director: Roy Del Ruth

Starring: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Gordon MacRae, Doris Day, Gene Nelson, Alan Hale Jr., Roland Winters, Jerome Cowan

Plot:
Broadway director Bix Bixby (Cagney) is down on his luck because he has a problem with betting on horse races. Gambling prevents him from getting a good show and from marrying his sweetheart Eve (Mayo). Bixby is persuaded by a producer to help put on an all-male show at West Point Military Academy because the producer wants his nephew, Tom (MacRae) to leave the Academy and come perform on Broadway. Coming from a show business background, Bixby has a hard time understanding the cadets and their schedules. He’s thrown off campus and is only allowed to come back if he enrolls as a cadet.

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Musical Monday: Footlight Parade (1933)

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.

Poster for Footlight Parade. I’m not sure why the girls aren’t wearing clothes.

This week’s musical:
Footlight Parade (1933)– Musical #230

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
Lloyd Bacon

Starring:
James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Frank McHugh, Guy Kibbee, Ruth Donnelly, Hugh Herbert, Claire Dodd, Gordon Westcott, Arthur Hohl, Billy Barty (uncredited)

Plot:
Chester Kent’s (Cagney) Broadway musicals are failing, because of talking films, so he reinvents himself and begins producing the musical numbers shown before the movie begins. His secretary Nan (Blondell) is in love with him and helps him with ideas, but they learn that some of his ideas are leaking out to other similar agencies. To get a movie theater contract, Chester makes a dormitory out of the theater so that no one can leak the ideas.

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Watching 1939: The Roaring Twenties

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:  The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Release date:  Oct. 28, 1939

Cast:  James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Paul Kelly, Robert Armstrong (uncredited)

Studio: 
Warner Brothers

Director:  Raoul Walsh

Plot:
During World War I, three men meet in a foxhole and become friends: Eddie Bartlett (Cagney) who wants to go back to his pre-war job as a mechanic, George Hally (Bogart) who is a bit brash and wants to run a saloon, and Lloyd Hart (Lynn) who is college educated and wants to be a lawyer. When the war ends, Eddie returns home and can’t find work. Prohibition begins and Eddie gets mixed up with bootleggers. He also meets and falls in love with Jean (Lane), who doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, and gets Jean a job singing in a club owned by Panama Smith (George). The years go by and Eddie and George work together as bootleggers and Jean grows closer to Llyod.

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Late to my own party…

Comet Over Hollywood is two years old!

The only problem is I’m late to my own blog anniversary party by three months…Comet’s birthday is actually in May.

Since I’m running so late I decided to tie my blog’s anniversary in with the Summer Under the Stars event Turner Classic Movies holds every August.

Bloggers Michael of I Shoot the Pictures and Page of My Love of Old Hollywood joked I should reenact the grapefruit scene in “Public Enemy” (1931) for one of my monthly beauty tips.

So as a special treat and thank you to my readers….

In the film “Public Enemy,” James Cagney, who is being celebrated today on TCM for Summer Under the Stars, smashes a grapefruit in Mae Clarke’s face at the breakfast table.

Apparently the scene was a joke Clarke and Cagney were playing on the film crew to see how they would react, according to IMDB. Director ‘Wild Bill’ Wellman decided to keep it in the movie.

It also created caused American women’s groups to protest Clarke’s abuse and for Cagney to stomach a lot of grapefruit when restaurant patrons would order it for him as a gag.

Though the scene is rather humorous and well remembered by film goers, Public Enemy is a very gritty drama with a disturbing ending.

The film is an example of how great and versatile an actor Cagney was: playing maniacal criminals to song and dance men.

Make sure to read out other posts on James Cagney during the TCM Summer Under the Stars blogathon at http://scribehardonfilm.wordpress.com/ and http://sittinonabackyardfence.com/ for the month long classic film celebration!

Stop by back in September for another classic actress beauty tip.

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