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The 2nd in a series of films, produced by Jack Goldberg and Arthur Leonard, made primarily for the 684 theatres (in 1947) that catered exclusively to Black audiences that were kept out, or placed in a special balcony section, in most of the theatres in segregated America. Plot concerns a struggling band leader's rise to fame after overcoming many obstacles, including a bad-girl vs. good-girl situation. For reasons unknown, Freddie Bartholomew makes a guest-cameo appearnce at the night club, and was featured in the ads and posters for the film, but the producers were barking up an empty tree if the thought was that he would sell any extra tickets in any of the booking situations...black or white. Tondaleyo (the "bad girl") dances, and musical numbers feature Deek Watson and his Brown Dots, Walter Fuller's orchestra, John Kirby's band and Ruble Blakey, former soloist with Lionel Hampton. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
It's a typical show-biz success story. A vocalist and his band move up the ladder despite professional and personal complications.
I tuned in hoping to catch some hot Harlem jazz. It wasn't to be. Instead the music was right out of a Bing Crosby crooning session. Not that there's anything wrong with mellow sounds; it's just that I expected something else from an African-American production. In fact, it may be telling that the film features none of the buffoonish humor identified with so many black movie characters of the time. On the whole, the movie was conventional enough that it could have played as easily in white theaters as in black.
Outside the smooth sounds of Billy Daniels', the movie has two notable features. Oh my gosh, Sheila Guyse (Barbara) is a stunner with a voice to match. So why didn't she have a Lena Horne or Dorothy Dandridge-type career. It's too bad she apparently wound up a well-kept show-biz secret; her talent certainly merited more. On the other hand, what's with the clumsy Freddie Bartholomew interview. It's like a ten-minute audition for something or other, maybe a stand-up comic routine. But whatever, it's an almost surreal appearance for fans of the former kid star.
Other than these points, the movie's a harmless little time passer.
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