The fictionalized biography of composer Cole Porter from his days at Yale in the 1910s through the height of his success to the 1940s. The film's attempted biography matches many public ... See full summary »
Producer Bob Temple, who's brought an American show to London, loves his star Diana, but she won't take him seriously as a lover. To show her, he picks up stranger Lady Arlington, whose ... See full summary »
An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their ... See full summary »
Following three flops in a row, Broadway stage producer Willard Samson is told by wealthy divorcée Donna Davis that she will finance a show but only if she is the star. The fact she can ... See full summary »
While husband Tim is away during World War II, Anne Hilton copes with problems on the homefront. Taking in a lodger, Colonel Smollett, to help make ends meet and dealing with shortages and ... See full summary »
Stage-and-night club star Jeannie Laird (June Haver) buys her first home, and everyone who is anyone comes to her first garden party only to be blinded by smoke from next door. Jeannie ... See full summary »
Bill wants to join the Army, but he's 4F so he asks a wizard to help him, but the wizard has slight problems with his history knowlege, so he sends Bill everywhere in history, but not to ... See full summary »
A lad with a penchant for trouble is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Indiana. Though he's not happy about the arrangement at first, his love of horses and his affection for a young ... See full summary »
The film is part of a long line of musical biographies of songwriters that has hardly any interest in the person's actual life story. Instead, calling them biographies allows the musicals to cull songs from their catalog for various musical numbers. Still, at times, these films can be pleasant time-wasters. This one, ostensibly about turn-of-the-century songwriter Ernest Ball, is one of these pleasant but unexceptional entries.
Judging from the songs presented in the film, Ball specialized in Irish hokum ("Mother Macree" for example)--lugubrious ballads that wallowed in maternal sentimentality and dreams. Consequently, Dick Haymes portrayal of Ball presents him as a weak passive sort, who is easily pushed around. Seemingly to balance him, June Haver as his romantic interest is incredibly butch--growling, aggressive, and constantly popping people in the eye. While Haymes sings Ball's slow ballads, Haver performs peppy up-tempo numbers (that were not written by Ball). One of these underlines the reversal of gender-expected behavior: "Bessie in a Bustle." Here, Haver sings in male clothing, as various men in drag (with bustles naturally) cavort around her!
It's a pretty out-of-nowhere moment, but seems to fit the general attitude about aggressive women and passive men that's going on in the rest of the film.
Overall, it's a colorful period piece, with plenty to keep a viewer diverted for an hour and a half--and some interesting ideas if you stop to notice them. But it's no landmark musical.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?