Singing Johnny Norton is the star catcher of the Blue Sox baseball team but he is suspended because of insubordination. Producer Barney Crane hears Johnny singing and signs him to appear ... See full summary »
Singing Johnny Norton is the star catcher of the Blue Sox baseball team but he is suspended because of insubordination. Producer Barney Crane hears Johnny singing and signs him to appear with Gloria Jackson, with the promise their first engagement will be in Havana. Johnny, hoping to get his baseball job back, is anxious to get to Cuba where the Blue Sox are having spring training. Patsy Clark, daughter of Blue Sox owner, Joe Clark, helps Johnny get another chance with the team. But Johnny has fallen in love with Gloria and hates to walk out on his singing contract. Johnny's troubles are solved when rain prevents the important All-Star exhibition game which was scheduled for the same evening. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Another film that restores my occasionally wavering faith in the talent of Anthony Mann
In this, only his second film, Mann is working with a slight, but naively amusing and very well-constructed script, made almost purely out of nearly abstract conflict. A baseball player (Allan Jones) also happens to sing well -- but only when he has a cold! Having been suspended from his team (the "Blue Sox"!) he is offered a job singing when a show packager (the always excellent William Frawley) chances to hear him sing in a restaurant over the kitchen loudspeaker. Reluctant to take the job (and not managing to warn Frawley that his voice is only good when he has a cold), when he learns that the gig is in Havana he jumps at the chance: it's a free trip to his team's spring training. While there is no real interest in the story, there is constant conflict, which, between the many mediocre but pretty musical numbers keeps things moving at a furious pace, much helped by a relentlessly elliptical narrative strategy. So, though he has little to work with in the way of budget, talent (Jane Frazee, a kind of wartime Tovah Feldshuh, is not much) or distinguished writing (the songs are unfailingly forgettable save for the Kurt Weill-flavored title song), Mann manages to make a rambunctious and lively entertainment. Among the film's incidental pleasures are a teenage tap sextet (this was wartime, so much of the talent was either 4F or below draft age), a comic dance duo of shocking violence (she repeatedly bops his head with her elbow, accompanied by an excruciating "crack" on the soundtrack), and two brief appearances by Jack Norton, playing (marvelously as always) the same drunk he played over and over for Preston Sturges. Norton's on screen partner, however, a supposed "comic," is totally lacking in anything resembling humor. He's the one real minus of this film -- unless you are allergic to Allan Jones, which I thought I was. But he plays this with an easy charm that is most ingratiating. Too bad Warner Archives did not release this very amusing film rather than the very dull "The Bamboo Blonde." But that's how it seems to go...
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