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The Hard-Boiled Canary (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Music, Romance | 8 June 1941 (USA)
A young girl fresh out of reform school who is singing in a burlesque show is offered a scholarship to a famous music camp by the camp's owner. She must overcome the suspicions of the other students in order to prove herself.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Maddy
Susanna Foster ...
Toodles LaVerne
Sylvia Worth
Lynne Overman ...
George Thomas
Grace Bradley ...
Madie Duvalie
Dr. Joseph E. Maddy
Heimo Haitto ...
Heimo Haitto
Peter Meremblum ...
Peter Meremblum (Violin Instructor)
William Chapman ...
William Chapman
Kaye Connor ...
Kaye Connor
Dolly Loehr (as Dolly Loehr)
Patricia Travers ...
Patricia Travers
Richard Bonelli ...
Richard Bonelli
Richard Hageman ...
Richard Hegeman
Irra Petina ...
Irra Petine


A young girl fresh out of reform school who is singing in a burlesque show is offered a scholarship to a famous music camp by the camp's owner. She must overcome the suspicions of the other students in order to prove herself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

girl | children | See All (2) »


THE SEASON'S Song-sational HIT! (original ad) See more »


Comedy | Music | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 June 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

There's Magic in Music  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


Kaye Connor, who is faking laryngitis and being unable to talk so that Toodles can sing in her place, speaks briefly in a subsequent scene, before her charade is later revealed. See more »


Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

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User Reviews

Camp Classical
23 November 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Before the Disney Channel invented Camp Rock for the Jonas Brothers to attend, Paramount did this film in 1941 showing off the musical talents of youngsters with a classical bent. Paramount borrowed the plot for this film from that other major studio MGM, Boystown for this feature, There's Magic In Music.

Playing a musical Father Flanagan is Allan Jones, the son of the camp's founder William Collier, Sr. who is having his trouble keeping the camp afloat. In fact the Board of Director's has brought in Margaret Lindsay to put the place on a more efficient basis.

So when Jones brings in a find from a burlesque house in Susanna Foster, Lindsay's a bit skeptical. But the charming Allan Jones brings her around.

Foster's got a great act she's with. She sings from the classic opera while her 'guardian' Grace Bradley does her bump and grind behind her. Personally I think she's doing a public service, exposing the burlesque audience to some highbrow music, but the police still raid the place and Jones and pal Lynne Overman manage to extricate Foster from the law.

Jones and Foster had worked together once before in The Great Victor Herbert where Foster played the daughter of Jones and Mary Martin. There Jones was the star, but in this film he definitely yields the musical moments to the young Ms Foster, in fact to all the youngsters who play themselves and actually do perform.

The film really got butchered on the cutting room floor in Paramount, there are whole sections that are germane to the plot that we don't see. I would probably give it a higher rating if that weren't the case. We don't even learn what Susanna Foster's real name is, I doubt she was baptized 'Toodles'.

Despite the rotten editing and I will say that it is possible the audiences in 1941 saw a longer version of There's Magic In Music than I just did. Considering the young talent that was involved here, let's all write Paramount and see if they got outtakes lying about.

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