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The Andrews Sisters
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Olivia de Havilland,
Bud Hooper, a cadet at Winsocki Military Academy, sends an invitation to movie star Lucille Ball to come to Winsocki's big dance. Ball's publicity-hungry agent convinces her to go in order to boost her career. Complications arise when Bud's girlfriend Helen Schlesinger unexpectedly shows up, too. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have just seen Best Foot Forward for the first time on DVD, several times before on TV but the first time where I could actually see everyone's faces and expressions, thanks to my 40" screen and the amazing DVD transfer. What a great experience. Being a staunch classic movie watcher I thoroughly enjoy the great musicals of the 40's and this movie is definitely one of them. What a delightful experience and right up my ally. FUN, FUN, FUN!!! So many talented young performers, far superior to their modern day counterparts, many with Broadway training which boosts the quality of the movie, and reprising their roles from the Broadway smash hit of 1941-1942. A testament to the quality of the performer in those days in that the teens were actually teens -- not twenty-somethings playing a younger role.
The Three B's with Nancy Walker and June Allyson (reprising their Broadway roles) and Gloria DeHaven a sheer delight to the eye and ear. Nancy Walker giving an outstanding performance as "the ugly duckling" who steals the show from the other girls.
Lucy is beautiful and charming and great as the actress in a slump whose Press Agent, William Gaxton, thinks appearing at Winsocki's Graduation Prom as the date of the Captain of Cadets, Bud Hooper, is just the publicity boost she needs to put her back in the Hollywood limelight. A sound idea in theory but the complicated reality causes a lot of trouble for the characters and a lot of fun for us.
Tommy Dix, also coming from the Broadway production, as Elwood C.(Bud) Hooper is unquestionably the star of the show and we follow with delight the merry journey he so capably leads us on as we experience the misfortunes his crush on Lucy and subsequent mash note invitation to be his date for the Graduation Prom, render him. His facial expressions and intuitive body language enhancing his wonderful performance.
His friends, Dutch and Hunk, enthusiastically portrayed by Kenny Bowers and Jack Jordan and reprised from their Broadway roles, are a delight and amiably offset and enliven their sometimes too serious friend Bud.
The score is upbeat, Harry James and his Music Makers a treat, especially for those of us not around at the time, to enjoy. The story is charming and a great showcase for the wonderful talent. I can see where it brought much needed happiness to a country disheartened by the trials of WW II as it was a big hit in 1943.
The highlight of the movie is the finale which takes place at Winsocki's Graduation. Tommy Dix gives a one in a million performance as he belts out, "Buckle Down Winsocki," his Coronet recording of "Winsocki" reaching #1 on The Hit Parade.
It is a sheer visual and audio delight to watch the smile shine on his face as he goes into the chorus and see the glow that emanates from him as he so beautifully performs his song. His glorious baritone voice a treasure to behold.
It is easy to understand why Broadway audiences were standing and cheering as he sang "Winsocki" and was the hit of the show. I only wish I had the good fortune to see him perform it live I would have been standing and cheering him too. However, I feel most fortunate to have his brilliant performance and glorious voice in my movie and CD collections so I can enjoy him over and over and over again.
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