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Felix E. Feist
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Put such as Donald O'Connor, Peggy Ryan, and Gloria Jean into a movie, and one would think that it'd be fast paced and full of songs, dance routines, and comedy, with a story thrown in as an afterthought. In most cases, one would be right. It's thus a pleasant surprise that "Get Hep to Love" doesn't fit that mold. The movie actually has a plot, a well-constructed (if a bit far-fetched) story (courtesy of master writer Jay Dratler), and good directing and acting.
The plot is straightforward: an orphaned 14 year old child prodigy singer is oppressed and driven by her aunt in the name of money. She rebels, runs away from home, and ends up tricking a rural couple into adopting her. The usual complications result from her adventures, but of course everything ends up fine in the end.
The acting is first-rate, as was usually the case with Universal. Gloria Jean does a fine job of playing the orphan. The supporting cast: stock Universal actors Jane Frazee, Robert Paige, Nana Bryant, Edith Barrett, Irving Bacon, Milliard Mitchell, etc., all perform their roles well and believably.
The movie does have its 'hep' moments with a lot of dialog and jokes that were popular with the teens of that era. Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan are their usual zany selves, and they perform one of their hectic dance routines. Popular teen soprano Gloria Jean sings a few songs (including the flashy aria "Siempre Libre" from the opera "La Traviata").
This musical isn't shown often on TV anymore (very few of the "B" musicals are nowadays). However, you can buy a VHS copy of the movie directly from Gloria Jean herself on her website. IMDb rules don't allow the posting of an URL, but you can probably find the website with your favorite search engine, using her full name ("Gloria Jean Schoonover") as keywords.
All in all, this is a movie worth seeing if you get the chance.
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