Jane Osgood runs a lobster business, which supports her two young children. Railroad staff inattention ruins her shipment, so with her lawyer George, Jane sues Harry Foster Malone, director of the line and the "meanest man in the world".
Pretty Melinda Howard has been abroad singing with a musical troupe. She decides to return home to surprise her mother whom she thinks is a successful Broadway star with a mansion in Manhattan. She doesn't know that her mother is actually a burnt-out cabaret singer with a love for whiskey. When she arrives at the mansion, she is taken in by the two servants who are friends of her mother's The house actually belongs to Adolph Hubbell, a kind-hearted Broadway producer who also gets drawn into the charade. Hubbell takes a shine to Melinda and agrees to star her in his next show. Melinda also finds romance with a handsome hoofer who's also in the show. All is going well for Melinda except that she wants to see her mother who keeps putting off their reunion. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you're a pushover for Fifties movie-musicals that stress music over story, "Lullaby of Broadway" may represent that genre's prototype. This is not to say that musicals with thin storylines are necessarily bad. The success of the earlier Astaire-Rogers films depended on dancing, music, and an occasional wisecrack or a fancy bit of dialogue--in that order. "Lullaby" isn't in the class of "Top Hat" by a long way. But it does represent a trend of movie-making that Warner Brothers embarked on briefly during the early 1950's: Cheesecake a la Day ("It's a Great Feeling," "On Moonlight Bay," "By the Light of the Silvery Moon," etc.).
In her autobiography, "Doris Day: Her Own Story" (published in 1976), the actress describes her early years as a contract player for Jack L. Warner and the heated disputes she had with the autocratic movie czar regarding miscasting and bad scripts. But in "Lullaby," there is virtually no script to complain of. It's a revue, and thus, not a movie in the traditional sense. But what a revue! From Ray Heindorf's jazzy 1951 arrangement of the old title tune (from "Gold Diggers of 1935") over the opening credits, to the Prinzs' inventive choreography, this movie clicks along in high gear from one showstopper to the next.
Day also recalled in her memoirs that "Lullaby" contained, by far, the toughest dance routines of any film she ever made. One particularly challenging scene called for her to perform an intricate series of steps on a huge staircase--while weighted down in a gold-lame dress. At first, she balked, warning the crew to have an ambulance waiting after the first take. With encouragement from the director David Butler and others, however, she did manage to successfully complete the dance number.
"Lullaby of Broadway" is not the best of the Day/Warners musicals--that distinction goes to "Calamity Jane" (1953)--but it's as good as the rest. With Gene Nelson as Day's dance-partner, Billy De Wolfe as a vaudevillian-turned-valet, and the almost unbearable S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, as a Broadway "angel."
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?