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William A. Wellman
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Set at the turn of the century, smooth talking con man Eddie Johnson weasels his way into a job at friend and rival Joe Rocco's Coney Island night spot. Eddie meets the club's star attraction (and Joe's love interest), Kate Farley, a brash singer with a penchant for flashy clothes. Eddie and Kate argue as he tries to soften her image. Eventually, Kate becomes the toast of Coney Island and the two fall in love. Joe then tries to sabotage their marriage plans. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Color films were at a premium during the war years, but when one of the reigning sex symbols of the era was starring in a film, the technicolor cameras were rolling. In Coney Island, the better to catch Betty Grable's blond All Americans looks and those gorgeous legs of her's, on prominent display as a turn of the last century entertainer working in a club in Coney Island.
A few years earlier the roles played by George Montgomery and Cesar Romero would have gone to Tyrone Power and Don Ameche. But both these guys would never have been second billed to Betty Grable now and this film is strictly her show.
Romero is a club owner in Coney Island where former partner and rival George Montgomery tries to chisel in. But one look at Grable who Romero considered his and they become rivals in love as well as business.
Montgomery totally had Ty Power's hero/heel character right down to perfection. It's so obvious that his part was originally written for Power. 1943 was the year Power went in the Marines so I really think it likely.
Brooklyn had two landmarks of note that the world knew about. One was Ebbets Field where the Dodgers played and the other was that entertainment mecca, Coney Island. The Dodgers are gone and Coney Island looks a bit frayed around the edges, but you can still see some traces of the glamor of the period that Betty and the cast are portraying. At least Nathan's Hotdogs is still operating though they wouldn't come into being until long after the era that this film is set in was over.
Coney Island had some original songs written by the former Paramount team of Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, but the interpolated period songs gave Betty Grable her best vocal opportunities. Her rendition of Cuddle Up A Little Closer is a classic and the song after almost 40 years enjoyed a bit of a revival then. Betty didn't join in it though because Darryl Zanuck banned his stars from commercial recordings. Scoring the whole business was done by Alfred Newman who received an Academy Award nomination for his work. He actually won an Oscar that year, but for scoring the dramatic picture, The Song Of Bernadette.
The plot is thin, but the players put it over and Coney Island is one of Betty Grable's best films from the height of her career.
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