In this Warner Bros. short, a Marine in a South Sea island during World War II, Joe Fingers, tells tales of the influence he's had on various personalities. In the words of one of his ...
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This Warner Bros. short is a jam session with several outstanding African-American jazz musicians, including Lester Young. Darkly lit and with a mood that matches the music, the film was ... See full summary »
George 'Red' Callender,
In this Warner Bros. short, a Marine in a South Sea island during World War II, Joe Fingers, tells tales of the influence he's had on various personalities. In the words of one of his buddies, he's either the biggest liar in the world or the most important man in show business. He claims to be a piano player and his stories are brought to life in the minds of the boys, especially those that involve a pretty girl. When a piano arrives on the island in a shipment, he refuses to play, convincing the doubters that he's been telling them lies all along. They change their tune however when a Hollywood movie star stops on the island. Written by
Some of the second line talent of Warner Brothers went into the cast of I Won't Play with the emphasis on the singing and looks of Janis Paige and the acting of Dane Clark. At least I hope that's what Jack Warner had in mind and not the other way around.
The setting is one of those thousands of atolls fought for and taken by the US Marines and they're now on occupation duty temporarily. One of the company nicknamed Fingers played by Dane Clark and he's really getting on everybody's nerves.
He was a piano player before the war and to hear him tell it there wasn't anyone from Bing Crosby to Judy Garland he didn't help with their careers. Especially one new starlet named Kim Carroll. But when an old beat up upright piano is found, all of a sudden he's shy about showing off that talent.
His buddies are giving the braggart quite the treatment until Kim Carroll played by Janis Paige shows up. After that in the words of Hercule Poirot all is revealed.
The highlight of the short is Janis Paige singing Body and Soul. Janis was one beautiful talented lady who never quite made it on the big screen. Her best role was reserved for Broadway when she starred in The Pajama Game. Although Doris Day got her best musical part in the film version, it would have been nice if Paige's performance could have been preserved.
I Won't Play got an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Subject for 1944 and it holds up well today. And while World War II is of the past, the subject matter is eternal. No one really likes a braggart, but it's nice when they have something to brag about.
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