When the fleet puts in at San Francisco, sailor Bake Baker tries to rekindle the flame with his old dancing partner, Sherry Martin, while Bake's buddy Bilge Smith romances Sherry's sister Connie. But it's not all smooth sailing: Bake has a habit of losing Sherry's jobs for her; and despite Connie's dreams, Bilge is not ready to settle down. Written by
Diana Hamilton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When "Follow the Fleet" was released to commercial TV in the 1950s Harriet Hilliard's two songs were cut to make more room for commercials. Later they were restored for showings on cable-TV movie channels. See more »
Musically speaking Irving Berlin gave Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers another pluperfect musical after Top Hat if that was possible. Although in this case like that Jerome Kern confection Roberta that they were in, Follow the Fleet retained Randolph Scott with another singer, this time Harriet Hilliard.
Randolph Scott is a career Navy CPO and Fred Astaire is an ex-vaudevillian who enlisted in the Navy to forget Ginger Rogers his former partner. But now the two are on shore leave. Fred and Ginger take up right where they left off, and Randy accidentally meets Ginger's dowdy sister Harriet who blossoms into a real beauty. But Randy's a typical love 'em and leave 'em sailor.
Again Irving Berlin wrote a hit filled score with him tightly supervising the production. Ginger gets to do some really outstanding vocalizing with Let Yourself Go which she and Fred later dance to. But the real hit of the show is Let's Face the Music and Dance which is a number done at a Navy show. Sung first by Astaire and later danced to by the pair, Let's Face the Music and Dance is one of the great romantic numbers ever written for the screen. Their dancing on this one is absolute magic.
I'm sure that when I mention Harriet Hilliard a few younger people might ask who that was. But they will know immediately when I mention her in conjunction with her famous husband Ozzie Nelson. That's right Ozzie and Harriet. It's something of a mystery to me why Harriet stopped singing when she just became David and Ricky's mom on television. Then again she didn't even keep her own name.
Neither Ozzie or Harriet sang on television. Ozzie was a pale imitation of Rudy Vallee as a singer, but Harriet could really carry a tune. She sings Get Thee Behind Me Satan and The Moon and I Are Here, But Where Are You, both with real feeling and class. I recommend you see Follow the Fleet if for no other reason than to hear a dimension of Harriet Hilliard incredibly forgotten today.
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