Wednesday, April 06, 2016


Hannah, Joyce and Foxy are three showgirls who were left stranded when a showboat revue shut down and are taking a bus back to New York to scold their well-meaning but bumbling agent, Lew Conway. When the bus stops in the small town of Pelican Falls, they witness the townsfolk giving a huge sendoff to young Nancy Peterson who is heading off to make a career on Broadway. The four gals bond and in Manhattan, Nancy also bonds with Dan Carter, a singer who is frustrated with his career; coincidentally, he's also a client of Lew Conway's. Conway has a plan, however: through some connivery, he tries to get Dan and the girls a job on Bob Crosby's TV show. The rest of the film covers the various false starts and shenanigans involved in getting the plan off the ground. This is a bright and colorful musical which gets off to a good start concentrating on Nancy (Janet Leigh) and the chorus girls (Gloria DeHaven, Ann Miller and Barbara Lawrence). And even the addition of the agent works, because he's Eddie Bracken, always a welcome comic addition to a movie. But Dan Carter is the movie’s downfall, played as he is by singer Tony Martin. Martin undeniably has a good voice (almost operatic when he sings a pop song adaptation of "O Solo Mio") but he is not an actor (see LET'S BE HAPPY for more evidence) and he doesn't even seem to be trying to have any chemistry with Leigh. There are some nice production numbers, including a boarding-house rendition of the Rodgers & Hart standard "I'll Take Manhattan" and a cute number called "Let's Make Comparisons" in which Bob Crosby compares himself to his superstar brother Bing. The legendary vaudeville team of Smith and Dale appear as delicatessen owners who play a part in the scheme, but they're given a little too much screen time for my taste. And Ann Miller doesn't get to do nearly enough dancing. The real problem is that this is an RKO musical trying to be an MGM musical. It starts well but by the end you'll be weary. [Warner Archive streaming]

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