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In 1915, Atlantic City is a sleepy seaside resort, but Brad Taylor, son of a small hotel and vaudeville house proprietor, has big plans: he thinks it can be "the playground of the world." Brad's wheeling and dealing proves remarkably successful in attracting big enterprises and big shows, but brings him little success in personal relationships. Full of nostalgic songs and acts, some with the original artists. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Seeing such talented black performers like Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Dandridge, and Buck and Bubbles in Atlantic City (1944) was a special treat for me
Just watched this obscure Republic musical on Netflix Streaming. It stars Stanley Brown as Brad Taylor, who-according to this movie-is responsible for making the title city the tourist attraction it became because of things like the Miss America contest and the Apolo Theater (which is actually in New York City but never mind). He stays with his father, Jake (Charley Grapewin who's most familiar as Dorothy's uncle in The Wizard of Oz) and has a romance with singer and eventual wife Marilyn Whitaker (Constance Moore). Because of his constant business meetings, however, their marriage often takes a back seat. One of their few friends is The Professor (Jerry Colonna). I'll stop there and just say that I thought the story threatened to become monotonous with all those back and forth montages between the rising businesses and the failing marriage but picks up considerably whenever the musical interludes or Colonna comes on. I mean, Jerry is always funny every time he appears and the numbers are really well done here whether it's Ms. Moore singing, or Paul Whiteman playing, or Gallagher (actually Jack Kenny, a Chicago native like me) and Sheen doing their self-named ditty, or such talented African-American performers like Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Dandridge, and the dance team of Buck (Ford Washington Lee) and Bubbles (John William Sublett) doing their thing. Speaking of the latter since in a couple of days it will be Black History Month again, the whole Apolo Theater sequence shines when it first has Ms. Dandridge warbling "Harlem on Parade" with Louis Armstrong on trumpet before segueing to Armstrong singing "Ain't Misbehavin'" and then to Buck and Bubbles singing and then taking turns playing piano and tapping to "Rhythm for Sale" before the big finish with all four of them. The best sequence to me, bar none! Other African-American players appear as servants like Lena Torrence and Daisy Lee Mothershed as maids. The latter, incidentally, was from Belcher in my current home state of Louisiana. Anyway, in summation, this Atlantic City movie (not to be confused with the Burt Lancaster-Susan Sarandon one from 1981) is entertaining when the music and Colonna come on, not so much during the story portion. P.S. I always like to cite whenever players from my favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life come on other films or TV shows (which I have been doing quite frequently the last few days) and here, Charles Williams appears as the guy who feeds back to Colonna the "rumor" that Brad Taylor was going to build a livestock on one of his properties.
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