Dancing great Bill 'Williamson' sees his face on the cover of Theatre World magazine and reminisces: just back from World War I, he meets lovely singer Selina Rogers at a soldiers' ball and promises to come back to her when he "gets to be somebody." Years go by, and Bill and Selina's rising careers intersect only briefly, since Selina is unwilling to "settle down." Will she ever change her mind? Concludes with a big all-star show hosted by Cab Calloway. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Two musical numbers were deleted from the release print: "Good-for-Nothin' Joe" (music by Rube Bloom, lyrics by Ted Koehler), sung by Lena Horne, who already was identified with this torch song via her 1941 Victor recording as the vocalist with Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra; and "Alfred the Moocher," a parody by Cab Calloway of his trademark "Minnie the Moocher" (music and lyrics by Calloway, Irving Mills and Clarence Gaskill). The Alfred being spoofed likely is renowned film composer and music director Alfred Newman. Only a voice track of the send-up remains. On a V-Disc of selections from the film made by Miss Horne with the Calloway band, "Good-for-Nothin' Joe" was included. See more »
The first time Selena says "Bill Williamson" (in the first scene, before her character has met him) her mouth quite clearly says "Bill Robinson. Bill Robinson played Bill Williamson. See more »
Music, not story, is the name of the game here. The film provides an avenue for black singers, dancers and musicians of the mid-1940s to show off their talents. Too bad it was that way but at least putting these acts on screen in a movie format wasn't just black folks "preaching to the choir." This film gave a lot of white folks a chance to see some great talent they might never have seen and, hopefully, helped some of these entertainers in their careers.
Bill Robinson and Lena Horne are the stars of the film, or should I say the main entertainers. Robinson is wonderful to watch throughout. He's not just a great dancer but an extremely likable guy. He comes across that way, anyway, and has in every film I've seen him. Horne has a good voice and a pretty face that became famous for almost never aging, but her songs are too slow and boring for my tastes, frankly.
Since I prefer a little more up-tempo, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway and The Nicholas Brothers filled the bill nicely. They were awesome. What little story there is centers around Robinson's character trying to break into show business. En route are also some funny lines and characters.
I'm glad to hear this is being put out on DVD in a few months. I'll pick up a copy.
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