Rhythm Of The Islands maybe one of ultimate in escapist entertainments for the movie-going public in 1943. The Dorothy Lamour like world of the south seas that Hollywood created never existed, but we liked it just the same. But in 1943 there was news from the South Pacific every day about a war. You would never think that was happening judging by this film.
Allan Jones, Andy Devine, and Maceo Anderson of the Step Brothers have 60% paid for a tropical island in the south seas. But labor problems with the natives and the original owner demanding the rest of his money have put these three in cash flow crunch. In a way that makes the film almost relevant for today. These guys just wanted to throw away the cares of the Depression world and live in the south seas, but there are problems doing that. If they could unload the island to visiting tourists, Ernest Truex, Marjorie Gateson, and their lovely daughter, Jane Frazee their problems would be solved and they could go back to of all places, Brooklyn where Devine has fiancé Mary Wickes. Wickes has left for the south seas however to take matters in her own hands.
The film looks like it was shot on the set of Abbott&Costello's Pardon My Sarong where at least Bud and Lou made some concession in the plot to the fact there was a war on out there. Charles Previn, Andre's dad wrote a score of south sea island ditties for Jones, Frazee, and the rest of the cast to sing, none of which are worth mentioning.
The comedy though was pretty good, especially Devine and Wickes. I'm wondering if they were ever teamed again. And Maceo Anderson had a considerable with some concessions to racial stereotyping his part was pretty substantial and it's clear he's an equal partner in the failed island venture with Jones and Devine. I can't believe people wore those zoot suits back in the day, they look like they could give one a major hernia.
Still with World War II raging in the South Pacific you've got to wonder what planet these people were on.
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