Saturday, March 30, 2002


Hiding behind this drab, generic title is a charming little romantic comedy with the trappings of farce (multiple misconceptions about characters and motivations) and the atmosphere of a musical, although it's not a musical or a farce. If this Warner Brothes picture had been done at MGM with Rooney and Garland, it would have fit right in with the "Babes" series. Olivia de Havilland plays a violin student studying at a conservatory; low on money, she decides to leave school and join a swing orchestra with her friends Eddie Albert and Jane Wyman. Charles Winninger, a rich patron of the school, takes a shine to de Havilland and subsidizes her education, laundering the money through Jeffrey Lynn, the manager of his business. The head of the school, Grant Mitchell, lets her believe that the money is from a scholarship. Soon, of course, farcical complications involving Winninger, his wife (Spring Byington), his son (William T. Orr) and Lynn arise.

This may have been one of the earliest movies with a "swing vs.classical" theme, which leads to a couple of fun numbers where the band swings Liszt and Mendelssohn. The cast is great fun throughout. Albert and Wyman are especially good. S. Z. Sakall, playing a stuffed-shirt conductor, appears in one of his first American movies. Jeffrey Lynn is the best I've ever seen him--his hopped-up look is downplayed and he makes a perfectly fine romantic leading man for de Havilland. A very entertaining piece of fluff. I have absolutely no idea what the title has to do with the movie!

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