Thursday, March 07, 2002


TCM unearthed this RKO B-musical during their Oscar salute month because it was nominated for a sound engineering award. Otherwise, it's hardly award material. It was very hard to find any information about this movie from the usual reference sources, which led me to expect a dismal bomb, but it turned out to be a pleasant and unpretentious comedy with music (it's not really a full-fledged musical, though it has a few numbers in a Broadway setting).

Anne Shirley (who I just saw as the daughter in STELLA DALLAS) plays a singer who, with her friends, is struggling to keep a Broadway musical revue running. Dennis Day is her wimpy leading man on stage (and her boyfriend off stage); he's an Irish tenor with a squeaky speaking voice who has his masculinity made fun of throughout. Through some creaky plot mechanics, she gets mistaken by the press for the "secret bride" of a recently returned war hero (Phillip Terry) and the rest of the movie tells how: 1) she saves the show, and 2) how she and the hunky hero fall in love. Raymond Walburn is fun as a music professor who is helping to back the show and Jane Darwell (who looked 65 all of her life, it seems) plays Terry's supposedly sickly mother, who looks as healthy as a horse. I just saw Terry as Ray Milland's brother in LOST WEEKEND, and he's completely different here--he's easy on the eyes and is good if not great as a light comic leading man. I don't know why he didn't do more films like this. The title is totally generic. The musical numbers can't compare to those that RKO mounted for Astaire, but they're clever and pleasing nonetheless.

No comments: