An ambitious girl who wants to be a cabaret star poses as "Zaza", a French chanteuse, to get a job in a prestigious nightclub. Unfortunately, she finds herself in the middle of a dispute ...
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An ambitious girl who wants to be a cabaret star poses as "Zaza", a French chanteuse, to get a job in a prestigious nightclub. Unfortunately, she finds herself in the middle of a dispute between Mike Kelly, the club's Chicago-born owner, and a group of American gangsters bent on taking over the club. To put pressure on Kelly, the gangsters kidnap "Zaza". Written by
Cicely Courtneidge was married to Jack Hulbert from 1916 - 1978, the year of his death. If there was ever a match made in Heaven that was it
they were true soul-mates. Their effervescent outlooks on life were
identical, along with their senses of humour, singing, dancing and acting talents. They both had a "talent to amuse", unfortunately public amusement has turned to the cynically and morally corrupt since their hey-days, meaning the type of humour they displayed in the '30's is now as antiquated to most people as the Battle of Hastings.
The copy I taped off UK TV in 1991 was titled "Aunt Sally", the British title. The term doesn't have to mean "empty", just someone or something that is a target for criticisms (or missiles!). Which does make it an apt title, because this and most types of pre-1955 low to middle-brow family entertainment films are easy targets to the modern mockers. However, the film itself is a pretty poor showing for the target CC, most of the laughs coming from the show owner Sam Hardy's downbeat wisecracks, trying to keep ahead of the "American" gangsters pressuring him for protection money. But at least it boasts two of Cicely's most popular numbers, "If I had Napoleon's Hat" but more especially "Riding on a Rainbow" with a big production routine to complement it and a different recording from the commercial 78 release. To my eyes and ears she put in a fantastic performance, with bravura camera-work too. Billy Milton blasts out "You ought to see Sally on Sunday", in a performance that sounds live and with every word beautifully enunciated. And Leslie Holmes' turn with Debroy Somers and his Band was wonderful to behold.
So a pleasant outing for Cicely, but if you're also a fan of British Dance Bands like me the film is worth watching - and listening to of course! - for its musical content alone.
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