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People who walked into this movie never having heard of Billy Daniels became instant fans. His joyous, dynamic renditions, accompanied by plenty of flashy body english, of "Deed I Do" and "That Old Black Magic" had much to do with his subsequent stardom. Abetting that excitement was his pianist-backup singer Benny Payne, who added humor as well as music to the act. Frankie Laine shows why he's the star, especially in a nicely informal rendition of "Georgia On My Mind". The Mills Brothers, as usual, are pleasant to listen to and watch. Jerome Courtland, the leading man, has no chance to do anything with the limp script, but he's boyishly engaging, and has a terrific voice. Lola Albright is likeable and very, very pretty. Too bad it's almost impossible to find this on videotape, and perhaps impossible to find with a good-quality print. Columbia Pictures, are you listening?
This Columbia Pictures musical is more of a revue than the book musical
that most people think of when we say "musicals". It consists of random
songs dropped at intervals into a story, instead of being integral to
the plot. I prefer the integrated book musical, but this format had its
commercial sense; in the era, when theaters in the South were
segregated, some of the white theater owners and attendees would have
objected to seeing the great Billy Daniels on screen singing; they
would get the film with the segment showing Jerome Cowan saying "He's a
record we waxed today" and Mr. Daniels absent.
The story, or "book" has Jerome Courtland as the rich country bumpkin who wants to make it big as a singer; Cowan has a successful recording business and an unsuccessful career in picking horses. The rest of it consists of running into topnotch singers that could be picked up for bargain prices.
The gags and situations tire quickly, but the talent is excellent and there are some excellent songs. The result is a bumpy ride that has several fine moments.
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