The stuffy manager of lovely opera singer Vicki Cassel and her uncle, a classical conductor, is determined to close down the noisy nightclub that's next door to the Cassels' home. The ... See full summary »
The stuffy manager of lovely opera singer Vicki Cassel and her uncle, a classical conductor, is determined to close down the noisy nightclub that's next door to the Cassels' home. The club's owners--Steve, a handsome ladies man, Jeff, his clownish sidekick--hatch a plan to keep the club open. Steve arranges to meet--and woo--Vicki and then invite her and her uncle to the club. When Vicki's snobbish aunt and the manager discover that Vicki now favors popular music to the classics, they arrange to get the club closed. But that doesn't keep Steve and Jeff down. Instead they decide to put on a Broadway show if they can get a backer. They find their "angel" in Vicki's uncle who agrees to finance the show only if Vicki is the leading lady. But once again, Vicki's aunt and manager may be the spoiler in everyone's plans. Written by
A boilerplate Warners mid-'40s musical, but a triumph for the Great American Songbook, this backstager has some gorgeous Arthur Schwartz melodies married to Leo Robin lyrics wittier than anything in the script. The Oscar-nominated "Oh, But I Do" is one of Schwartz' loveliest melodies ever, and the little-known "A Thousand Dreams" isn't far behind. There's "A Gal in Calico," which once it gets in your head simply won't leave (it's been in mine for days) and "A Rainy Night in Rio," part of the South American craze then hitting the Hit Parade. There's "A Solid Citizen of the Solid South," done in grimace-inspiring blackface, but actually a pretty good number if you can get past that. All are "diegetic" numbers, meaning they're part of the stage entertainment in the film rather than related to plot or character, and they're backed by luscious Warners orchestrations, which were brassier and jazzier than what the arrangers turned out at Paramount or 20th or MGM. To get to these goodies you have to sit through a lot of inconsequential backstage plot, not to mention the tiresome jowl-shaking of S.Z. Sakall and the badly dated comedy of Jack Carson. But there's Martha Vickers, pretty and appealing, and Janis Paige, always reliable for sex appeal and a tart way with a good line. And Dennis Morgan, a Warners staple in the '40s, who had more presence and testosterone than most of the singing-capon tenors movie musicals of the day typically turned out. Carson and Morgan were sort of Warners' Hope and Crosby and were teamed many times. This is one of their more tolerable efforts, thanks almost exclusively to the efforts of Messrs. Schwartz and Robin.
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