Musical Monday: Go Into Your Dance (1935)

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.

danceThis week’s musical:
Go Into Your Dance (1935) – Musical #559

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
Archie Mayo, Michael Curtiz (uncredited)

Starring:
Ruby Keeler, Al Jolson, Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Patsy Kelly, Helen Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, Joyce Compton, Ward Bond (uncredited), Theresa Harris (uncredited),
Themselves: Al Dubin, Harry Warren

Plot:
Famous Broadway performer Al Howard (Jolson) has been blackballed on Broadway after walking out on a successful show. His sister Molly (Farrell) enlists the help of dancer Dorothy Wayne (Keeler) to convince Al to create a duo. After creating an act, a gangster (MacLane) backs a show that will star Howard.

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Musical Monday: Flirtation Walk (1934)

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.

flirtation walkThis week’s musical:
Flirtation Walk (1934) – Musical #265

Studio:
First National Productions Corporation

Director:
Frank Borzage

Starring:
Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Pat O’Brien, Ross Alexander, John Arledge, John Eldredge, Henry O’Neill, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams

Plot:
Dick Dorcy (Powell) is a private in the Army station in Hawaii. He is assigned to drive visiting general’s daughter, Kitt Fitts (Keeler). Kitt ditches a reception she is required to go to, ordering Dick to show her around Hawaii. This puts Dick in hot-water, and to avoid court martial, the two-part. Dick heads to West Point to become an officer to be the equal of Kitt’s boyfriend, Lieut. Biddle (Eldredge).
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Musical Monday: Dames (1934)

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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:
Dames (1934) – Musical #225

dames poster

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
Ray Enright, Busby Berkeley

Starring:
Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Hugh Herbert, Zasu Pitts, Guy Kibbee

Plot:
Eccentric cousin Ezra Ounce (Herbert) decides to divide up his fortune of $10 million before he dies. Part of this will go to his cousin Mathilda and her husband. However, Ezra hates actors and their daughter is looking at going into show business.

Trivia:
-Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell’s fourth film together.
-Ruby Keeler’s last film with Busby Berkely.

Notable Songs:
-Dames performed by Dick Powell
-I Only Have Eyes for You performed by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler
-Try to See It My Way performed by Dick Powell
-The Girl at the Ironing Board performed by Joan Blondell

Ruby Keeler dancing in "Dames."

Ruby Keeler dancing in “Dames.”

Publicity photo of Dick Powell and several "Dames."

Publicity photo of Dick Powell and several “Dames.”

Highlights:
-The elaborate “Only Have Eyes for You” number that features several large shots and blown up pictures of Ruby Keeler. The best part is when Keeler rises up from below the stage through a trap door, that happens to be in the pupil of her eye.

 

blondell

Joan Blondell causing trouble for Guy Kibbee in “Dames.”

My review:
While “42nd Street” and “Footlight Parade” are my top two favorite Busby Berkeley directed films starring Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell (one of seven), “Dames” comes in at a close third.
Like the other two, “Dames” has it all: An excellent cast, breathtaking Berkeley directed musical numbers, toe tapping songs, humor and it’s very pre-code. In fact, I find “Dames” to be pretty hilarious.
An great example of humor and pre-code in “Dames” is when Guy Kibbee finds Joan Blondell stowing away in his bed on a train. Blondell isn’t wearing pajamas and Kibbee is fearful of a scandal that would make him lose the millions of dollars his very moral cousin has agreed to leave him. When Kibbee orders her to leave, she says “Why? I don’t snore.”
More humor comes when cousins Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell are in love, but we learn Powell is Keeler’s 13th cousin.
The film’s plot mainly revolves around Cousin Ezra’s (Herbert) moral code and hating theater people. This is why Ezra has disowned his relative Jimmy (Powell), because he is in the theater and trying to put on a show. As long as his family members Horace (Kibbee), Mathilda (Pitts) and Barbara (Keeler), don’t interact with Jimmy, they will get $6 million. However, Barbara is in love with Jimmy and also plans to audition to for his show.
Further complications arise when Mabel (Blondell) plans to blackmail Horace for money, know he would lose the $6 million if Ezra knew of their run in on the train.
Joan Blondell is wonderful in this film, as she is with everything else. We learn in these musicals that she really lacks the pipes to carry a tune, but her character and humor make up for it.
The “Only Have Eyes for You” number is really outstanding. it’s really a solid 5 minute homage to Ruby Keeler, complete with people dancing with large cut outs of her face and her face becoming the dance floor.
As far as Busby Berkeley, pre-code musicals go, “Dames” is the tops. Add it to your list of “must sees.”

 

Some Busby Berkeley shots: 

dames4 dames5 dames busby dames3 dames2 Dames1

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Musical Monday: Sweetheart of the Campus (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.

Sweetheart%20of%20the%20CampusThis week’s musical:
“Sweet Heart of the Campus” –Musical #498

Studio:
Columbia Pictures Corporation

Director:
Edward Dmytryk

Starring:
Ruby Keeler, Ozzie Hilliard, Ozzie Nelson, Gordon Oliver

Plot:
Ozzie Norton (Nelson) and his band which includes dancer Betty Blake (Keeler) are about to open a nightclub near Lambeth Technological College. Before they open, college professors, the sheriff and daughter of the college’s president Harriet Hale (Hilliard) coem to shut down the band because the club is too close to the campus. The club later reopens with Ozzie and his band to help recruit students to the financially floundering school.

Trivia:
-Last film of actress and dancer Ruby Keeler. After guest starring on multiple TV shows, she did make one last movie in 1989 called “Beverly Hills Brats.”
-Husband and wife Ozzie Hilliard and Ozzie Nelson star in the film as love interests.
-The film was also released under the title “Broadway Ahead.”

Ruby Keeler and Ozzie Nelson in "Sweethearts of the Campus" (1941)

Ruby Keeler and Ozzie Nelson in “Sweethearts of the Campus” (1941)

Notable Songs:
-“Tap Happy” performed by Ruby Keeler
-“Zip Me Baby with a Gentle Zag”

My Review:
This is the epitome of a 1940s “B” musical: thin plot, jiving music and celebrities who aren’t exactly on the A list.
I think the thing that I find most interesting is the cast. Most people know Harriet Hilliard and Ozzie Nelson from their 1950s TV show “Ozzie and Harriet” starring themselves and their songs. I always find it interesting to see them in 1930s and 1940s films, playing young people rather than parents.
See Ruby Keeler in her last film was also an interesting comparison to her early Busby Berkeley directed musicals. Her tap dancing seemed much more fluid and graceful in “Sweetheart of the Campus” compared to her “hoofing” in films like “42nd Street” (1933).
After this film, Keeler left films and appeared in a few television shows.
“It (Sweethearts) was so bad, I had no regrets about leaving,” Keeler was quoted in the book “The Women of Warner Brothers” by Daniel Bubbeo.
“Sweetheart of the Campus” is simply fun and entertaining but nothing to write home about. It has music that you tap your foot to and a plot that can keep you interested enough for 67 minutes.

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