Monday, August 04, 2008


This wartime B-musical revue was based (very loosely, I assume) on a radio show of the same title. Ann Miller, in slightly scatterbrained mode, works off and on as a switchboard operator at KFEL. When she decides she has what it takes to be a DJ; she talks the fuddy-duddy early-morning host of a classical music show (Franklin Pangborn) into thinking he's sick and needs a long rest, and she goes on in his slot, playing swing music for the troops at a nearby Army base. Meanwhile, at the base, her brother (Larry Parks) gets friendly with a couple of new recruits, a rich chocolate heir (William Wright) and his chauffeur (Dick Purcell). They hear Miller on the air and have a bet as to whether she's a hag or a hotsy. Parks takes them home to meet her, though Wright, tired of running into gold diggers, insists on switching identities with Purcell. Of course, she's young and lovely and Wright, whom she thinks is a lowly chauffeur, hits it off with Miller. There are some more complications, but that's about it for the plot. Can she keep her show once Pangborn wises up? Will she wind up with the right guy? Will everything get worked out before the troops are called away?

Miller is charming and Pangborn is funny, but the reason to watch this one is for the musical numbers, staged like music videos, by people like Frank Sinatra ("Night and Day"), Duke Ellington, ("Take the 'A' Train," performed, duh, on a train, though not a subway train as it should have been), Count Basie ("One O'Clock Jump"), and Ella May Morse ("Cow Cow Boogie"). My favorite song here is Bob Crosby doing "Big Noise from Winnetka," a song I only knew previously from Bette Midler's version. Ann doesn't get to dance until the finale when she has a big patriotic tap number. Tim Ryan is fine as the radio boss and his real-life wife Irene Ryan (Granny on "The Beverly Hillbillies") has a funny bit as a ditzy assistant. [TCM]

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