Musical Monday: Sunny Side Up (1929)

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:
Sunny Side Up (1929) – Musical #396

Studio:
Fox Film Corporation

Director:
David Butler

Starring:
Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Marjorie White, Sharon Lynn, El Brendel, Frank Richardson, Jackie Cooper (uncredited)

Plot:
Wealthy Jack Cromwell (Farrell) is fed up with his flirting fiance, Jane (Lynn). One night he drives to New York City and meets working girl Molly (Gaynor), who recognizes him from the society pages. Jack decides to take Molly back to Long Island to make Jane jealous. Jack sets up Molly in an apartment and she poses as a society woman. Molly is in love with Jack, but rumors start that Molly is Jack’s “kept woman.”

Trivia:
-Story and songs written by Buddy G. DeSylva
-The original film had a color sequence, which is now lost
-Fourth film pairing of Janey Gaynor and Charles Farrell, as well as their first sound film together and their first musical together.
-Child actor Jackie Cooper appears in an uncredited role

Highlights:
-Gag with a woman talking about birth control to a woman with at least six children
-A brief appearance by Jackie Cooper

Notable Songs:
-“You’ve Got Me Pickin’ Petals Off a Daisy” performed by Marjorie White and Frank Richardson
-“I’m a Dreamer Aren’t We All” performed by Janet Gaynor
-“Keep Your Sunnyside Up” performed by Janet Gaynor

My review:
As we have noted in previous posts, some musicals of the early struggled with blending music and plot. But “Sunny Side Up” (1929) manages to do a fairly good job of making the music and story make sense. This could be because the songs and story were both written by Buddy DeSylva.

“Sunny Side Up” was the fourth pairing of screen couple Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. It was also their first sound film, as well as their first musical. The story is sweet and cute, and it’s a unique opportunity to hear Farrell and Gaynor sing. While their singing voices aren’t amazing, they are passable.

There are some cute songs and we get the opportunity to see Jackie Cooper in an early, uncredited role. But our leads are better than the supporting cast. El Brendel is in the film, and he’s often quite tiresome. Gaynor’s pal, played by Marjorie White, is cute but when put with her on-screen boyfriend Frank Richardson singing fast talking jazz, it’s rather irritating.

It is unfortunate that the color sequence is missing. I also wish that the sound was better on the print I watched, which could be a result of restoration challenges. For musical lovers, it’s interesting to see how the genre grew and this is a good example.

Cast of “Sunny Side Up”

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Musical Monday: Two Tickets to Broadway (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.

broadwayThis week’s musical:
Two Tickets To Broadway (1951) – Musical #130

Studio:
RKO Pictures

Director:
James V. Kern

Starring:
Janet Leigh, Ann Miller, Gloria DeHaven, Barbara Lawrence, Tony Martin, Eddie Bracken, Charles Dale, Joe Smith, Joi Lansing (uncredited), Vera Miles (uncredited)
Themselves: Bob Crosby

Plot:
Nancy Peterson (Leigh) is given a big send off from her hometown, Pelican Falls, as she leaves to get her start on Broadway. On her bus trip to New York, she meets three down-on-their-luck performers: Hannah Holbrook (DeHaven), Joyce Campbell (Miller) and S.F. Rogers (Lawrence). Their agent (and Hannah’s boyfriend), Lew Conway (Bracken) continuously sets them up with dead-end gigs. Nancy also meets (and falls in love with) another down-on-his-luck performer, Dan Carter (Martin). To save face, Lew Conway lies to Dan, Nancy and the three girls; telling them that they have a huge performance spot on Bob Crosby’s TV show. The crew forms an act and starts rehearsing, not knowing that they may not be performing the act anywhere.

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Musical Monday: Navy Blues (1941)

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:
“Navy Blues –Musical #512

navy blues2

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
Lloyd Bacon

Starring:
Ann Sheridan, Martha Raye, Jack Oakie, Jack Haley, Herbert Anderson, Jack Carson, Jackie Gleason, John Ridgley, Georgia Carroll (uncredited), Leslie Brooks (uncredited), William Hopper (uncredited), Gig Young (uncredited)

Plot:
Cake and Powerhouse (Oakie, Haley) are two Navy seamen on leave in Hawaii and are trying to borrow money to pay their way for fun. They meet prize gunner Homer Matthews (Anderson), who is being transferred to their ship. Their meeting with Matthews sparks an idea to earn more money. They want to enter Homer into the gunner competition to win the trophy for their trip and start taking bets on his abilities with the rest of their shipmates. The only problem is Homer will only be on their ship for a few days before he is discharged from the Navy, leaving before the gunnery competition. Cake and Powerhouse now work to keep Homer from leaving the Navy, but Homer is eager to return to his pig farm in Iowa. They enlist the help of night club performers Marge (Sheridan) and Lilibelle (Martha.)

Jack Haley, Herb Anderson and Jack Oakie in "Navy Blues."

Jack Haley, Herb Anderson and Jack Oakie in “Navy Blues.”

Trivia:
-The first musical comedy to come from Warner Brothers in four years, according to a January 1941 column by Louella Parsons.
-Eddie Albert was orignally slated for the film, according to the January 1941 Parsons article.
-Intro: “Honolulu where Aloha means goodbye and Shore Leave means trouble.”
-Jackie Gleason’s film debut.

Highlights:
-Georgia Carroll performing as a chorus girl
-Ann Sheridan singing
-Herbert Anderson calling pigs

Notable Songs:
-“Navy Blues” performed by Ann Sheridan and Martha Raye
-“In Waikiki” performed by Ann Sheridan and chorus
-“You’re a Natural”performed by Herb Anderson and Ann Sheridan

Martha Raye and Ann Sheridan at the beginning of "Navy Blues." Unfortunately, neither has enough screen time for my liking.

Martha Raye and Ann Sheridan at the beginning of “Navy Blues.” Unfortunately, neither has enough screen time for my liking.

My Review:
The New York Times review, published on Sept. 21, 1941, hit the nail on the head in their review saying, “Oakie and Haley working harder for laughs than a bum vaudeville team in Omaha” and that the script is full of corn.
When I watched this movie looking for an Ann Sheridan vehicle. Sheridan was in a few musicals and I love to hear her deep singing voice. However, if you are looking for a film with a lot of Ann time, don’t look to “Navy Blues.”
The film opens with Sheridan singing “Navy Blues,” looking beautiful in an adorable sailor style costume…but the film goes downhill from there.
The film is centered around the crazy, frantic antics of Jack Haley and Jack Oakie as they do con their friends and will do anything to earn a buck. Our leading ladies Ann Sheridan and Martha Raye have very little screen time in this hour and 48 minute movie.
The antics revolve around getting Herb Anderson’s character to stay in the Navy. One of the biggest highlights of this film for me was seeing Anderson (or Dennis the Menace’s dad, as my family frequently calls him) in a larger role. Before his TV dad fame, Anderson was a film character actor. His character actor roles were usually smaller than other character actors such as James Gleason or William Frawley.
We even have the opportunity to hear Anderson sing. He’s just always someone I enjoy seeing on screen. His demeanor and turtle-like look makes me smile.

Ann Sheridan and Herb Anderson in "Navy Blues."

Ann Sheridan and Herb Anderson in “Navy Blues.”

It was also a great surprise to see lovely Georgia Carroll appear in this film, singing as one of the Navy Blues Sextette Members. Carroll was the singer for band leader Kay Kyser’s band and the two later married. I believe I even shouted “That’s Georgia Carroll!” when she appeared on screen.
“Navy Blues” isn’t the worst musical I have ever seen, it’s simply that Oakie and Haley’s corn got tiresome when all I wanted was to see more Ann Sheridan.

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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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Musical Monday: I’ll See You in My Dreams (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.

ill see you in my dreamsThis week’s musical:
I’ll See You in My Dreams” (1951)–Musical #180

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
Michael Curtiz

Starring:
Doris Day, Danny Thomas, Frank Lovejoy, Patrice Wymore, James Gleason, Mary Wickes, Jim Backus, Hans Conreid (uncredited)

Plot:
A biographical film about lyricist Gus Khan (Thomas) who wrote several popular songs such as “It Had To Be You,” “Pretty Baby,” “San Francisco,” “The Carioca” and “Tootise” just to name a few. The film Khan as he meets his composing partner Grace (Day) who he eventually marries.
Grace is a song plugger and Gus wanted her help publishing songs. She gave him advice to write a love song:
“Do you know why you write a popular song? Boys and girls don’t know how to say I love you, so you help them with 32 bars of music.”
The film shows the songwriter’s ups and downs in his career from getting started and having his songs in the Ziegfeld Follies to losing everything in the 1929 stock market crash and moving to Hollywood and rebuilding his career. The whole way, his wife is there helping him make the next move in his career. The film starts in 1908 and ends in the 1930s.

Gus (Thomas) missed the birth of his child because he was writing "It Had to Be You." Day wrote this scene made her emotional because of her life experiences.

Gus (Thomas) missed the birth of his child because he was writing “It Had to Be You.” Day wrote this scene made her emotional because of her life experiences.

Trivia:
-When Danny Thomas sings to Doris Day at her maternity bedside in the film, Day got very emotional thinking about how her first husband, Al Jordan was not present when her son Terry was born, she wrote in her autobiography, Doris Day: Her Own Story.
“In the way Danny played the scene, there was a sense of his remorse in having not been with me when the baby came (in the movie. His character was writing a song and lost track of time.),” she wrote. “When Danny started his song, I couldn’t help but cry, for what came to mind was the birth of my own baby, how Al Jorden had not been with me, and how alone and unfulfilled I felt.”

-Grace Kahn, Gus’s wife, was the technical adverser for the film, according to TThe Casablanca Man: The Cinema of Michael Curtiz by James C Robertson.

-Gordon MacRea was director Michael Curtiz’s first choice to play Gus Kahn, according to Robertson’s book.

The real Gus Kahn (left) with composer Arthur Johnson in 1935 at MGM.

The real Gus Kahn (left) with composer Arthur Johnson in 1935 at MGM.

-Grace LeBoy Kahn, who Doris Day portrayed, was still alive when the film was made. Gus Kahn, played by Danny Thomas, died in 1941. The two were married in 1916 until his death. Grace died in 1983.

-“I’ll See You in My Dreams” was Warner Brother’s second top grossing film for 1952 and was Curtiz’s last financial success for the studio, according to Robertson’s book.

-The album soundtrack from this film reached number one on the Billboard charts.

 

 

Notable Songs:
-“Gee, I Wish That I Had a Girl” sung by Doris Day
-“My Buddy” sung by Doris Day
-“Pretty Baby” sung by Danny Thomas
-“She’s Nobody’s Sweetheart Now” sung by Doris Day
-“The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else) sung by Doris Day
-“It Had to Be You” sung by Danny Thomas
-“Makin’ Whoopee” sung by Doris Day and Danny Thomas
-“Ain’t We Got Fun” played on a record but sung as a duet by Day and Thomas on the album

Review:

The record my Mom and I nearly wore out.

The record my Mom and I nearly wore out.

I knew all the songs before I saw this movie.
When Mom was in middle school, her father (my grandfather) had a 78 record of the “I’ll See You in My Dreams” soundtrack. He was going to throw it away, so she asked to keep when she saw Doris Day on the album cover. When I began getting interested in Doris Day when I was 13, my mom pulled out the record and I listened to it constantly.
When I first saw this movie back in 2005, Mom and I both knew all the words to the songs Kahn made popular because of that 78 but neither of us had ever seen the movie before.
When Mom and I rewatched this movie on Sunday, we both softly sang along to all of his hit tunes.
Clearly this movie has a special place in my heart.
Sentimentality aside, I love the cast and the music. Mary Wickes is always hilarious and Day and Thomas are wonderful.
Though it is questionable about how accurate biographical films are, this one is still a lot of fun with an excellent score to accompany a fairly touching story.

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Musical Monday: “You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941)

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.

richposterThis week’s musical:
You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941) –Musical #48

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Sidney Lanfield

Starring:
Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley, Osa Massen, John Hubbard, Frieda Inescourt, Guin ‘Big Boy’ Williams

Plot:
Broadway choreographer Robert Curtis (Fred Astaire) gets mixed up in the philandering of producer Martin Cortland (Benchley). Cortland buys a bracelet for a pretty chorus girl Shelia Winthrop (Hayworth) but Cortland’s wife (Frieda Inescourt) find the bracelet after Shelia refuses it. Robert gets mixed up in Courtland’s explanations to his wife, and is able to escape the confusion when he is drafted into the Army.

Trivia:
-Rita Hayworth’s first starring role in a large budget film for Columbia Pictures. It was successful at the box office and turned Hayworth into a star.
-During the filming of this movie, the famous LIFE photo of Rita Hayworth in a negligee on a bed was published, making her even more famous along with this movie.
-Nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Music, Original Score by Cole Porter for the song “Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye.” The second was for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture by Morris Stoloff.

Robert Benchley tries to woo Rita Hayworth with a bracelet in "You'll Never Get Rich"

Robert Benchley tries to woo Rita Hayworth with a bracelet in “You’ll Never Get Rich”

-Fred Astaire appeared in two pictures with Hayworth. This film and “You Were Never Lovelier.” Though he liked dancing with Hayworth, he didn’t want to do any more pictures with her. He wanted to get away from being associated as a team with any particular actress, such as Ginger Rogers, according to “Encyclopedia of American Cinema.”
-Astaire said Hayworth danced with “trained perfection and individuality,” according to his autobiography “Steps in Time: An Autobiography.”
-The film had a working title of “He’s My Uncle,” according to “The Complete Lyrics Of Cole Porter.”

The Stars on the Film:
Rita Hayworth on the film:
-“The brass at Columbia had forgotten the fact that I was a dancer, until Fred Astaire, who knew my background, reminded them,” Rita Hayworth is quoted in the book “Hollywood Gold: Films of the Forties and Fifties” by John Howard Reid. “When Fred came to Columbia to make ‘You’ll Never Get Rich,’ they asked who they wanted as a dancing partner. Fred asked for me! That surprised me, but Fred knew what he was about. He knew my work. The film was a huge success and as a result, I was loaned out to Fox for ‘My Gal Sal.'”

Fred Astaire on the film:
Rita danced with trained perfection and individuality. Of course, she knew through experience what the dancing business was all about,” Fred Astaire is quoted in the book “Hollywood Gold: Films of the Forties and Fifties” by John Howard Reid. “That was apparent when I started working with her. I enjoyed making both ‘You’ll Never Get Rich’ and ‘You Were Never Lovelier‘ because of Rita.”

“She’s a natural. She’s constantly surprising me. Nothing is too difficult for her. She watches, goes up, practices up and the next day she has it perfect,” in the Oct. 1941, “Born to Dance-Together” in Movie Stars Parade.

Highlights:
-The film begins with Robert Benchley riding in a vehicle. He tells the chauffeur to slow down and we see the credits in the form of billboards along the road.
-The first musical number is an interesting dance number that mixes modern dance and tap dancing together.

-Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth’s duet tap dance at the beginning of the film when Astaire is showing her how to do a dance in the show. The number show’s off just how good a dancer Hayworth is.

-Popular 1940s singer Martha Tilton shows up at the end as a specialty performance for the “Wedding Cake Walk” number.

Singer Martha Tilton makes an appearance singing "The Wedding Cake Walk."  (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Singer Martha Tilton makes an appearance singing “The Wedding Cake Walk.” (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Notable Songs:
-Shootin’ the Works for Uncle Sam sung by Fred Astaire
-The Wedding Cake Walk sung by Martha Tilton

My Review:
The biggest point of interest with “You’ll Never Get Rich” is this is the film that made Rita Hayworth a star and showed Fred Astaire could have other dancing partners besides Ginger Rogers.
While Fred Astaire sings a few songs and we hear two songs from the Four Tones group, this musical seems to focus more on dancing. It’s a vehicle for Rita Hayworth, showing off how good of a dancer she is, so she isn’t dubbed like she is in musicals in the future.
The plot is a bit zany and runs on miscommunication jokes, however it’s a fairly cute and entertaining film. The thing that stands out the most are the excellent dancing numbers with Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire.

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in the "So Near and Yet So Far" number.

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in the “So Near and Yet So Far” number.

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Musical Monday: “Two Weeks with Love” (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.

two weeksThis week’s musical:
Two Weeks With Love” (1950)-Musical #71

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Ray Rowland

Starring:
Jane Powell, Ricardo Montalban, Ann Harding, Louis Calhern, Debbie Reynolds, Carleton Carpenter, Phyllis Kirk, Tommy Retting, Gary Gray

Plot:
In the early 1900s, the Robinson family takes their annual summer vacation to Kissimee in the Catskills. It’s a coming of age story as 17-year-old Patti (Powell) is ready to grow up and wear corsets and date men but her mother (Harding) and father (Calhern) still thinks she is too young. That summer a handsome young Cuban named Demi (Montalban) visits the resort. While Patti swoons, her older friend Valerie (Kirk) works to keep Demi’s attention on her. In the background, Patti’s younger teenage sister Melba (Reynolds) has a crush on Billy (Carpenter) who is chasing Patti.

Patti's rival Valerie is always making it hard for Patti and Demi to be alone. (Kirk, Montalban, Powell) (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

Patti’s rival Valerie is always making it hard for Patti and Demi to be alone. (Kirk, Montalban, Powell) (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

Trivia:
-Debbie Reynolds wrote in her memoir “Unsinkable,” that her mother packed her lunch of ground up bologna and pickle juice sandwiches every day. Louis Calhern’s lunches were prepared for him by the studio, but he usually traded with Debbie for her sandwiches.

Famous stars in the 1930s, Ann Harding and Louis Calhern play Horatio and Katherine Robinson in "Two Weeks with Love." (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

Famous stars in the 1930s, Ann Harding and Louis Calhern play Horatio and Katherine Robinson in “Two Weeks with Love.” (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

-Jane Powell says this is one of her favorite movies, according to her autobiography “The Girl Next Door and How She Grew.”
“I loved making ‘Two Weeks with Love’ because it was a very special experience,” Powell wrote in her book. “The cast was so wonderful, I feel happy even now when I think about the film.”
-Debbie Reynolds plays the French horn during the song “That’s How I Love You.” Whether she is really playing the horn in the film or not, Reynolds played the French horn in high school.
-Louis Calhern once said he was miscast as playing the father of Debbie Reynolds and Jane Powell. “Me, with my long nose, and being as tall as I am, playing the father of two little button noses like Janie and Debbie,” Powell quoted in her book.
-Phyllis Kirk’s third movie.
-Debbie Reynolds fourth movie.
-The hotel where the family is staying in “Two Weeks with Love” is the same hotel in the first scene of “Annie Get Your Gun” (1951).
-The dances in the film were choreographed by Busby Berkeley, who was known for his kaleidoscope shots in 1930s films such as “42nd Street.”

Highlights:

Patti's mischievous little brothers hide fireworks under their bed, and father (Calhern) accidentally lights a fuse. (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Patti’s mischievous little brothers hide fireworks under their bed, and father (Calhern) accidentally lights a fuse. (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P.)

-The two youngest boys hide hundreds of firecrackers under their bed. They accidentally get lit when their father unknowingly lights it with his cigar. Chaos ensues.
-Powell has a few dream sequences where she imagines Montalban is fawning over her. Both are hilarious and adorable. One is when she is alone in a canoe. She imagines he proposes to her and he tells her that she is full of “latent fire” and then is outraged that she doesn’t wear a corset.
-The second dream sequence is Powell glamorously dressed in only a corset, hat and umbrella. Everyone at the hotel is admiring her. Then, everyone’s outfits turn to royal wear and Montalban and Carpenter have a sword fight over Powell. Powell sings “My Hero” as she waltzes with Montalban.
-Calhern tries to help Powell and buys her a corset in the film, not knowing what he’s buying, he gets a surgical corset. During a dance with Montalban, it locks.

Patti (Powell) dreams of being a grown up lady who wears a corset in this dream sequence. (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

Patti (Powell) dreams of being a grown up lady who wears a corset in this dream sequence. (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

Notable Songs:
-“Abba Dabba Honeymoon” sung by Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter. This is the most notable song in the movie. Carpenter and Reynolds fast, energetic singing style is what makes it memorable. The song made the Hit Parade and Reynolds and Carleton went on tour to promote the song and the film.

-“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” sung by Ann Harding and Louis Calhern. They don’t have great voices but it’s a very sweet moment.
-“My Hero” sung by Jane Powell during the corset dream sequence.

Patti (Powell) dances the tango with Demi (Montalban) in the resort's talent show. (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Patti (Powell) dances the tango with Demi (Montalban) in the resort’s talent show. (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

My Review:
Two Weeks With Love” is a joy to watch. It has an excellent cast, is fun and colorful with it’s Technicolor. But not only is it lighthearted, it’s hilarious. There are so many jokes in the movie that keep me laughing, keeping it charming and witty. It’s wonderful to see Ann Harding and Louis Calhern later in their career if you know them more from their 1930s role. In the 1930s, Harding usually played intellectual women with lose morals and Calhern played cads with gun. But later in their career, they fill the role of loving parents perfectly. Jane Powell was an established star by now and is 21 in the film, and is delightful as always. In her first major role, Debbie Reynolds energy and enthusiasm that made her famous is already shining. If you haven’t seen “Two Weeks with Love,” I highly suggest it. It may not be as famous as other 1950s MGM films, but you will remember it once you watch it.

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Musical Monday: “Moon Over Miami” (1941)

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:
“Moon Over Miami” –Musical #162

Poster - Moon Over Miami_04

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Walter Lang

Starring:
Betty Grable, Carole Landis, Don Ameche, Robert Cummings, Charlotte Greenwood, Jack Haley

Plot:
Kay and Barbara Latimer (Grable and Landis) work with their Aunt Susan (Greenwood) at a burger joint in Texas. They think they are going to come into a windfall of money, but only ends up being $4,000. Kay comes up with a scheme where they will go to Miami on the money and get rich husbands. Kay poses as an heiress with her sister acting as her secretary and her aunt poses as her maid. Kay meets two millionaires who are smitten with her- Jeff (Cummings) and Phil (Ameche). Which will she pick and are they everything that they seem they are?

Trivia:
-Joan Davis was cast in the Carole Landis role in March 1941.
-John Payne and Dana Andrews were considered for the male leads.
-Originally supposed to star Virginia Gilmore and Gene Tierney or Arline Judge were conceived to appear in the roles of Barbara and Susan.
-Remake of “Three Blind Mice” (1938)-starring Loretta Young and Joel McCrea-and “The Greeks Had a Word for Them” (1932) starring Joan Blondell, Madge Evans and Ina Claire.
-Remade with “Three Little Girls in Blue” (1946) starring June Haver (who once was called the Pocket Betty Grable), Vivian Blaine and Vera-Ellen.

Highlights:
-The Condos Brothers (Frank and Harry) dance with Grable and then perform in an elaborate South American dance number. Grables dance in “You Started Something” with them is one of my favorite dances in the film.
-Charlotte Greenwood’s flexible, high leg swinging dance moves

One of Charlotte Greenwood's signature dance moves (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P)

One of Charlotte Greenwood’s signature dance moves (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P)

-In “The Kindergarten Congo,” Grable dances with Hermes Pan, who choreographed many of Fred Astaire’s musical numbers in musical films.
-Betty Grable’s wardrobe. She buys a new wardrobe to catch a millionaire husband and every single outfit is adorable. Here are some picture of my favorites:

moonovermaimi5

My favorite dress in Moon Over Miami. Grable is dancing with the Condos Brothers in “You Started Something” (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Lovely peach evening gown worn by Grable. (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen cap by Jessica P)

Lovely peach evening gown worn by Grable. (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen cap by Jessica P)

Another favorite outfit Grable wears in "The Kindergarten Conga" (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Another favorite outfit Grable wears in “The Kindergarten Conga” (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

 

Notable Songs:
-“You Started Something” sung by Robert Cummings and Betty Grable
-“Kindergarten Conga” sung by Betty Grable, which is my favorite number in the film
-“Loveliness and Love” sung by Don Ameche
-“Is That Good?” sung by Charlotte Greenwood and Jack Haley

My Review:
This is my favorite Betty Grable movie and a movie I pop in when I have the blues. It’s colorful, the fashion is great and the songs are catchy and lighthearted. Grable looks her most beautiful and the supporting cast is excellent. Landis isn’t featured as much as Grable but does a great job in all of her scenes. Charlotte Greenwood is always a delight, especially with her goofy dancing. Both leading men are also entertaining and likeable. There are few things I can find wrong with “Moon Over Miami,” other than the fact that it has to end.
It isn’t a heavy film with some great intelligent message. But if you are looking for a pleasant way to spend an hour and a half, I suggest you spend it with “Moon Over Miami”

 
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Musical Monday: “Hi-De-Ho” (1947)

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:
“Hi-De-Ho” (1947) – Musical #503

hi de ho

Studio:
All-American Studios

Director:
Josh Binney
Starring:
Cab Calloway (as himself), Ida James, Jeni Le Gon

Plot:
Cab Calloway plays himself a as a bandleader who is getting bored with his sexy singing girlfriend Minnie who he calls a moocher. Minnie is jealous of Cab’s female band manager named Nettie. Out of jealousy, Minnie gets a job at a night club that rivals the club that Cab is performing at. She also asks gangsters to kill Cab.

Trivia:
-“Hi-De-Ho” is what is known as a “race film.” The film is made up of an entirely black cast that were generally made between 1915 and 1950. These films were usually produced outside of the Hollywood studio system.
-The film also features the Peters Sisters and The Miller Brothers

Cab and Minnie the moocher

Cab and Minnie the moocher

Notable Songs:
The movie has several of Cab Calloway’s songs, but sadly no “Minnie the Moocher.”
Song include:
-“Minnie was a Hep Cat”
-“St. James Infirmary”
-“At Dawn Time”
-“Bop Bop”
-“The Hi-De-Ho Man, That’s Me”

My Review:
The plot to this film is very thin and the quality of the picture is very low. If you go strictly by the story line, “Hi-De-Ho” is lousy. However, this is a great exhibition of Cab Calloway’s music with eight songs from the big band leader. It’s also interesting for its historical value as a “race film.” If you can find this movie, I would highly suggest it for its excellent music. The only disappointing feature is that it doesn’t have the song “Minnie the Moocher.”

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Musical Mondays: Something for the Boys (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 500.
To celebrate and share this musical love, I’m starting a weekly feature about musicals.

something for the boysThis week’s musical:
Something for the Boys (1944) – Musical number #469

Starring:
Vivian Blaine, Carmen Miranda, Phil Silvers, Michael O’Shea, Perry Como, Shelia O’Ryan

Director:
Peter Seiler

Studio:
Twentieth Century Fox

Plot:
Three cousins find they are heirs to a southern plantation in Georgia. The cousins couldn’t be more different: singer Blossom Hart (Blaine), defense worker Chaquita Hart (Miranda) and con man Harry Hart (Silvers). The mansion isn’t quite what they expected and they turn it into a home for the wives of soldiers who are stationed at a nearby Army base. To help raise money for the home, they put on a show and Blossom meets and falls in love with soldiers Rocky Fulton (O’Shea).

Trivia:
-Ethel Merman starred in the original Broadway production that opened on Jan. 7, 1943 and ran for 422 performances.
-Judy Holliday can be spotted in a brief role six minutes into the film. This is her third film.

Judy Holliday in a brief role in "Something for the Boys" (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

Judy Holliday in a brief role in “Something for the Boys” (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen Cap by Jessica P.)

-“Something for the Boys” is one of four films Vivian Blaine and Carmen Miranda were in together. The other films included “If I’m Lucky” (1946), “Doll Face” (1945) and “Greenwich Village” (1944).

Notable Songs:
-Carmen Miranda sings “Batuca Nega” and “Samba-Boogie.” Any Miranda performance in a film is notable for her energy and colorful outfits.
-Phil Silvers performs the song “Southland.” Though he’s from New York, it seems to be a running tradition in Silvers’s films to sing songs about the South. His songs are similar to songs Al Jolson would sing.
-We get to hear songs from popular 1940s singer Perry Como, who performs “In the Middle of Nowhere” and “I Wish We Didn’t Have to Say Goodnight.”

Perry Como singing "I Wish I Didn't Have to Say Goodnight" to Cara Williams. (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Perry Como singing “I Wish I Didn’t Have to Say Goodnight” to Cara Williams. (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Highlights:
-A running joke in the movie is that Carmen Miranda has carborundum in her tooth filling from working as a machinist. Because of this, she always hears the radio, whether it is on or off. It’s pretty silly but a unique joke. At one point in the film, they use her to send Morse Code.

Due to Carmen Miranda's short wave radio tooth-she is being used to send Morse Code. Also pictured-Michael O'Shea, Vivian Blaine, Phil Silvers. (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Due to Carmen Miranda’s short wave radio tooth-she is being used to send Morse Code. Also pictured-Michael O’Shea, Vivian Blaine, Phil Silvers. (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen cap by Jessica P.)

-Judy Holliday says one line six minutes into the movie. Her line explains the problem Miranda may be having with carborundum in her teeth.
-Seeing Vivian Blaine star in the film. Blaine is an energetic, beautiful and talented performer who I enjoying seeing in any film. It’s a shame she is not as well remembered as other 20th Century Fox actresses.
-Jimmie Dodd of Mickey Mouse Club fame can be spotted 51 minutes into the film as a “gambling soldier.”

Vivian Blaine singing "Eighty Miles Outside of Atlanta" (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Vivian Blaine singing “Eighty Miles Outside of Atlanta” (Comet Over Hollywood/ Screen cap by Jessica P.)

My review:
Something for the Boys” is a light but fun musical filmed during World War II. It is in color, has catchy songs and gorgeous costumes, but it somehow falls short of other Fox musicals that starred Betty Grable or Rita Hayworth.
There are some very silly jokes such as Carmen Miranda’s short-wave-radio-tooth, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. My only complaint is that I find Phil Silvers annoying and Michael O’Shea to be a weak leading man.
It’s not a well-known film with a cast of stars who are fairly forgotten today, with the exception of Carmen Miranda and Phil Silvers.
However, it’s a glittering and colorful musical comedy that will brighten a lazy afternoon.

Carmen Miranda performing "Samba-Boogie" (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Carmen Miranda performing “Samba-Boogie” (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen cap by Jessica P.)

Check back next week for Musical Monday.

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