Musical Monday: My Wild Irish Rose (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:
“My Wild Irish Rose” –Musical #309

picture

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
David Butler

Starring:
Dennis Morgan, Arlene Dahl, Andrea King, Alan Hale, George Tobias, George O’Brien, Sara Allgood, Ben Blue, William Frawley

Plot:
Fictional, biographical film on Irish singer Chauncey Olcott (Morgan); chronicling his rise to fame and connections with performer Lillian Russell (King) and William Scanlan (Frawley). As he climbs the ladder to fame, Olcott meets and falls in love with Rose Donovan (Dahl), who’s father (Hale) does not want her to be involved with Olcott.

Trivia:

Dennis Morgan as Chauncey Olcott and Andrea King as Lillian Russell in "My Wild Irish Rose" (1947).

Dennis Morgan as Chauncey Olcott and Andrea King as Lillian Russell in “My Wild Irish Rose” (1947).

-Chauncey Olcott was an performer, songwriter and actor who’s career spanned from 1894 until 1920. Born in New York, Olcott’s family was of Irish decent, so most of his songs had Irish themes to them. He was born in 1858 and died in 1932. According to critic Dorothy Parker, Lillian Russell and Olcott were friends and she helped his career.
-Alexis Smith was considered for the role of Lillian Russell, which went to Andrea King. Virginia Bruce was also set for the role, according to “The Women of Warner Brothers” by Daniel Bubbeo.
-Andrea King was dubbed in her role as Lillian Russell, according to Bubbeo’s book.
-“My costumes were the most beautiful I had ever seen and my jewelry was real. I had two armed guards with me at all times,” King said in Bubbeo’s book.
-Arlene Dahl’s first credited role.
-Ray Heindorf and Max Steiner were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture.
-The film was based from a 1939 story written by Olcott’s widow, Rita, called “Song in His Heart,” according to Bubbeo’s book.
-One of Warner Brother’s top films of 1948.

Highlights:
-Any time Dennis Morgan sings in any film is a highlight.

Dennis Morgan performs in "My Wild Irish Rose" (1947).

Dennis Morgan performs in “My Wild Irish Rose” (1947).

Notable Songs:
-Hush-a-Bye, Wee Rose of Killarney performed by Dennis Morgan
-My Wild Irish Rose performed by Dennis Morgan
-When Irish Eyes Are Smiling performed by Dennis Morgan
-Let Me Dream Some More performed by Dennis Morgan and Andrea King
-Mother Machree performed by Dennis Morgan

My Review:
chaunceyAs Comet Over Hollywood has discussed countless times before, many Hollywood biographical films, particularly those of the musical nature, are embellished and provide very little actual fact.
“My Wild Irish Rose” is no exception. The real Chauncey Olcott may look more like William Frawley than Dennis Morgan.
However, it’s a fun, colorful and entertaining film filled with notable Irish songs; all performed in Dennis Morgan’s velvety voice. While Morgan sings, George O’Brien and Ben Blue bring some comedy to the film.
Other familiar and likable Warner Brothers faces appear in this lush, Technicolor film including Alan Hale, Andrea King and George Tobias.
What I like about “My Wild Irish Rose,” is that Dennis Morgan truly gets center stage without having to share screen time, songs and leading ladies with Jack Carson. This seems to be a rare musical gem in Morgan’s career where he is the only singing lead, so we hear multiple Irish classic tunes performed by Mr. Morgan.
If you are a Dennis Morgan fan, love Irish music or simply want a nice film for St. Patrick’s Day, check out “My Wild Irish Rose.”

 

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Musical Monday: “Paddy O’Day” (1935) *St. Patrick’s Day Edition*

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.

paddy o'dayThis week’s musical:
Paddy O’Day” –Musical #480

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Lewis Seiler

Starring:
Jane Withers, Jane Darwell, Pinky Tomlin, Rita Hayworth (as Rita Casino), Russell Simpson, Vera Lewis, Louise Carter

Plot:
Paddy O’Day (Withers) is an Irish orphan who travels from Ireland to the United States to live with her mother. When she arrives, she learns that her mother is dead. With the help of some friends Paddy make along the way, she is able to stay in the United States and not return to Ireland.

Trivia:
-This is one of four films Jane Withers made in 1935. The others were “The Farmer Takes a Wife,” “Ginger” and “This is the Life.”
-Rita Hayworth’s sixth film role. Rita is credited as Rita Cansino. She changed her last name to “Hayworth” the next year.
-This is Rita Hayworth’s firs prominent film role.
-Jane Withers and Rita Hayworth became friends while making this movie. Withers gave the eulogy at Hayworth’s funeral in 1987.
-Judy Garland was considered for a performance in this film, according to Judy: A Legendary Film Career by John Fricke

Rita Hayworth and Jane Withers in "Paddy O'Day" (1935)

Rita Hayworth and Jane Withers in “Paddy O’Day” (1935)

Highlights:
-Young Rita Hayworth dancing at the very beginning of the film.

Notable Songs:
-Keep the Twinkle in Your Eye sung by Jane Withers (three times)
-Changing My Ambitions sung by Pinky Tomlin
-I Like a Balalaika sung by Jane Withers

Pinky Tomlin, Jane Withers and Rita Hayworth in "Paddy O'Day" (1935)

Pinky Tomlin, Jane Withers and Rita Hayworth in “Paddy O’Day” (1935)

My Review:
Paddy O’Day” is an adorable film and a good example of the type of films child star Jane Withers starred in at Fox. While Shirley Temple made the big budget, glittering A films at Fox, Withers was in the B movies at Fox.
However, she was very popular because she seemed like a regular kid and was more relatable, said TCM Primetime host Robert Osborne.
The only issue in this film is that Withers has a cringe worthy Irish accent. But she’s so adorable that you can look past it. I also wish Jane Darwell had a larger role.
It’s also fun to see 16-year-old Rita Hayworth dancing in the movie, looking young, fresh and not yet glamorized.
One interesting note: Jane Withers didn’t have a major crying scene. This is unusual for a 1930s child star. Most child stars boasted their crying talents.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day with this Irish themed, fun film!

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