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Whether you like or hate "A Night at the Biltmore Bowl", it's worth
seeing just to get a load of its cast. It features a very, very young
Betty Grable before she became famous but also has some neat cameos
(such as Lucille Ball and Edgar Kennedy).
The film is about some fun-loving young people who decide to have a scavenger hunt. The couples are sent to get some rather difficult things--including a band leader's baton and a policeman's badge. They then will meet at a nightclub where they will have dinner--and the loser pays.
All in all, this short film was a lot better than I'd expected. While not brilliant, it was consistently fun and I loved seeing gorgeous Betty--who was already showing quite a bit of poise for a newcomer to films. A nice film and one for film buffs as well.
CAST: Betty Grable, Jimmy Grier and His Orchestra (themselves), Joy
Hodges (vocalist, "That Old Fashioned Love"), Preston Foster, Pert
Kelton, Anne Shirley, Bert Wheeler, Erik Rhodes, Edgar Kennedy
(diners), The Rhythm Rascals (trio who sing "Play, Jimmy, Play It!"),
Harry Foster (vocalist, "Music in the Moonlight"), Lucille Ball
(treasure huntress), Jane Hamilton, Maxine Jennings, Jeanie Roberts,
Mary Stewart, Dennis O'Keefe.
CREDITS: Director: ALF GOULDING. Screenplay: Joseph A. Fields. Photography: Nicholas Musuraca. Film editor: Edward Mann. Music director: Jimmy Grier. RKO music department supervisor: Roy Webb. Song, "Music in the Moonlight" composed by Jimmy Grier. Assistant director: Jean Yarbrough. Sound recording: Dan Cutler. Associate producer: Bert Gilroy. Producer: Lee Marcus.
Copyright 21 June 1935 by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 2 reels. 17 minutes.
COMMENT: Good old Alpha have included this one on their Vintage Comedy & Music Classics, Volume 2 DVD. Fortunately, they had a good print to start with, although the sound is a bit muffled in places (though not over the musical numbers except at the start of Joy Hodges' vocal) as the movie was actually shot and recorded within the famous Biltmore Bowl night club in the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Jimmy Grier comes over most agreeably, but more importantly he had a really outstanding orchestra (as good as Glenn Miller's in my opinion), and I'm extremely glad the movie allows him to showcase some of the fine musicians assembled in his band. In addition to the great music sound track, we have a bit of a plot involving Betty Grable, Grady Sutton and others playing themselves on a treasure hunt. Director Alf Goulding handles the proceedings with his usual expertise. It's good to see Betty in a normal role instead of the dimwit she usually portrayed in her Fox musicals. Betty takes to the dance floor too but not in the way you would expect!
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