Musical Monday: It’s Love Again (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:
It’s Love Again (1936) – Musical #636

Gaumont-British Picture Corporation

Victor Saville

Jessie Matthews, Robert Young, Sonnie Hale, Ernest Milton, Robb Wilton, Sara Allgood, Warren Jenkins, Cyril Wells, Terry-Thomas (uncredited)

Peter Carlton (Young) is a gossip columnist who invents the glamorous Mrs. Smythe-Smythe, a noble Englishwoman that no one has ever met. Elaine Bradford (Matthews), who happens to be in love with Peter, is a struggling performer who poses as Mrs. Smythe-Smythe to get ahead in her career. Peter doesn’t tell Elaine that Mrs. Smythe-Smythe is a phony.

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Review: Friday the Thirteenth (1933)

When it comes to Friday the 13th films, audiences generally recollect horror films involving a man in a ski mask. But before those gory films came to be, British film released by Gainsborough Pictures follows a group on a bus just minutes before the clock strikes midnight on Friday the 13th.

Directed by Victor Saville, Friday the Thirteenth (1933) the film begins with the following statement:

“You hear of an accident. There are victims. Strangers to one another. Supposing we could put back the clock and see how chance made these strangers share this appalling moment.”

The film begins as we see people riding a bus on a rainy night with the clock ticking closer to Friday the 13th. Lightning strikes a crane, and the bus driver has to swerve to miss the falling debris and wrecks. Newspapers flash on the screen with headlines about the wreck and that two people were killed. Before we know further, Big Ben ticks back to the beginning of Thursday the 12th and we see what lead everyone to get on this bus.

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Musical Monday: First a Girl (1935)

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.

first a girlThis week’s musical:
“First a Girl” –Musical #505


Leigh Jason

Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale, Anna Lee,

Elizabeth (Matthews) is a delivery girl at a dress store with dreams of being a dancer. One day, she borrows a dress for an audition and doesn’t get the part. In the meanwhile, she meets down on his luck Shakespearean actor Victor (Hale) who does female impersonations. After ruining the dress, Elizabeth is too afraid to return to the dress store. Victor allows her to get in on his act. When Victor is too ill to go on stage as a female impersonator, he grooms Elizabeth to act as a female impersonator, even though she is already a woman. Elizabeth becomes a huge success but problems arise when she falls in love with a man.

-Late remade as “Victor/Victoria” (1982) starring James Garner, Julie Andrews and Robert Preston.
-Adapted from a 1933 German film called “Viktor and Viktoria”

-Jessie Matthews drinking with Griffith Jones, who believes she’s a man. However, she is not used to the strong beverages that he keeps ordering.

Jessie Matthews, Sonny Hale and Griffith Jones in "First a Girl"

Jessie Matthews, Sonny Hale and Robert Griffith in “First a Girl”

Notable Songs:
-It’s Written All Over Your Face performed by Jessie Matthews
-Everything’s In Rhythm With My Heart performed by Jessie Matthews and Sonnie Hale
-Half and Half performed by Jessie Matthews
-Say The Word And It’s Yours performed by Jessie Matthews

My Review:
When this film began I kept thinking how similar it was to the 1982 film “Victor/Victoria.” Until seeing this movie, I had no idea it was a remake.
“First a Girl” is an entertaining little British film with a subject matter that would probably not have been seen in a 1935 American film. Not only is Jessie Matthews supposed to be a cross dressing male (though the audience knows she is a female), there are some homosexual innuendos and jokes that probably would not have even been seen in a pre-code American film.
When Elizabeth begins falling for Robert (Jones), it is uncertain if he likes her character because she is a man or because she is a man that seems feminine enough to be a woman. Our main character is even a little confused by this.
When I started this film, I was not familiar with any of the main actors but all of them were entertaining. The songs in this musical are forgettable, but it’s story line that is fairly unique for a 1930s film is pleasant, fun and enjoyable. If you come across this forgetting little gem, give it a whirl.

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