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Conceited World Champion boxer Tommy Lundy decides to test his popularity in a Broadway show. Tommy always has an eye for the ladies and he starts paying attention to beautiful chorus girl Pat Lambert. Pat's boyfriend Bill Smith isn't impressed with Tommy even though Tommy gets him a boxing part in the show. When Tommy finds out that Pat and Bill were secretly together the night before the show opens, he angrily plans to turn the boxing scene with Bill into a real bout. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
Betty Grable at the point in her career when she made Footlight Serenade was just starting to be known as the GIs number one pin-up girl.
Stardom came late for her, she had been in films for more than ten years. But when it came she became the biggest female star in films. With her singing and dancing and all around good cheer, Footlight Serenade is a classic example of what put her at the top.
Grable gets able support by John Payne and Victor Mature. Payne was also hitting his stride as Fox's singing Tyrone Power and he and Grable have some nice if forgettable tunes. Payne's rival here is Victor Mature also a rising leading man for Darryl Zanuck.
Mature's character is interesting. He's the heavyweight champion of the world, but a champ far more interested in the night life than in his trade. In fact at the beginning of the film, comedian Phil Silvers says to producer James Gleason, Mature has charisma the women are nuts about him, let's put him on stage. Gleason agrees and the film and its situations commence.
I'm convinced that Victor Mature's role is based on former heavyweight champion Max Baer. Baer was one of the 1930s most colorful characters and worthy of a good sports biography. As a boxer there was nothing he didn't lack including a murderous punch that two fatalities could be chalked up to. It was said that Baer lost the killer instinct after that even though he later became heavyweight champion in 1934, beating Primo Carnera. Baer's reign as champion was one long party, just like Mature's character seems to be having. After a year of good times Baer decided to get back in the ring and realizing he was out of shape told his managers to get him a good tune-up fight. The opponent they dug up for him was James J. Braddock who was an unemployed longshoreman in the Depression who took up boxing to feed his family.
Well Braddock the Cinderella Man as he was dubbed beat Max Baer in 1935 and even though he lost in his first title defense to Joe Louis, the Cinderella Man became the stuff of legends. That Cinderella Man moniker got used in another popular film while Braddock was champion and I think Sly Stallone had Braddock in mind when he created the Rocky character.
Oddly enough both Baer and Victor Mature never took themselves too seriously. Baer had a show business career himself and he lived and partied hardy. I think Mature was able to capture this in the role very well.
But it's a Grable picture and for her fans, a real treat.
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