Friday, November 16, 2012


At a recording session for a popular big band (played by Glenn Miller and his band), singer Lynn Bari breaks the news to the guys that Miller is about to start another tour. The married guys aren't happy about the disruption to their lives, even though their wives accompany them. Swinging single trumpeter George Montgomery and his buddy, swinging single piano player Cesar Romero, don't mind life on the road, until Montgomery gets all gooey for young fan Ann Rutherford who follows him to his next gig. They impulsively get married at midnight (so she can stay overnight with him) and next thing she knows, she's an orchestra wife, traveling on the train with the other wives. Rutherford is unprepared for the bitchiness and backstabbing that goes on among the womenfolk, and she’s also taken aback when she learns that Montgomery and Bari were an item in the past. Jealousy + gossip lead to major misunderstandings, and not only does Rutherford end up packing her bags and heading back home to her small town, but the band breaks up as well. Can things be set right for all concerned?

This rather routine comedy-drama has a couple of things going for it. It's one of the few times Glenn Miller appeared in a movie, playing someone other than himself—though it's clear that he and his band are playing only slightly fictionalized versions of themselves: aside from the GM monogram (his character's name is Gene Morrison), they play snatches of real-life Glenn Miller hits ("Moonlight Serenade" and "Chattanooga Choo Choo"), and band members such as Tex Beneke and Ray Eberle would have been recognized by the movie audiences of the day. Miller's not much of an actor, but the band members seem to be having fun, and the music, including "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" which became a #1 hit for Miller in real life, is wonderful. Another plus: The wild Nicholas Brothers get a dance number near the end. The acting is par for the course: Montgomery, Bari (both pictured above) and Romero fare the best; Rutherford's OK but on the bland side. There is a mildly naughty vibe throughout, with lots of emphasis on straying husbands and promiscuous boyfriends. Enjoyable, and a must for big band fans, even though I doubt it presents a realistic picture of life on the road. [DVD]

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