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Shapely burlesque dancer Hot Garters Gertie aka Angela Gardner meets her former teacher John Palmer, now a professor at Midwest State... where she decides to begin her new college career. She rents a room; her new landlady proves to be the professor's wife. Among romantic complications, Angela helps the downtrodden dramatic arts department put on a potentially popular musical show...but someone's discovered her secret past. Does she have an ace up her garter? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Prof. John Palmer:
Why don't we take your play and write a musical score for it? I know a couple of boys who could do the songs.
That would be marvelous, Professor!
Prof. John Palmer:
The title's wrong for a musical.
That's no problem. We can always get a title. The main thing is to get away from Shakespeare and give 'em what they want. There's a thought! Why not use that for a title? Give Them What They Want.
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"She's Working Her Way Through College" (1952) is a musical remake of "The Male Animal" (1942). A couple of the songs are memorable and the color photography is a highlight, but overall the film achieves mixed results.
Ronald Reagan plays the part of Professor Palmer, a central character whose wife considers him an underachiever. While she flirts with an ex-boyfriend, the professor soothes his jealousy with a bottle, becoming a sloppy (unconvincing) drunk.
Don Fiore plays the ex-boyfriend ex-athlete, Shep, a blow-hard who still relives football plays from his college days. Fiore was also in "The Male Animal."
Virginia Mayo is the burlesque dancer, Angela, who goes to college and attracts the attentions of the quarterback, Don (Gene Nelson). Although dubbing is prevalent, the dance numbers are competent. Nelson's dancing may be the best part of the film, due to its athleticism. He would later have a very successful career, performing and directing.
Patrice Wymore (wife of Errol Flynn) plays Ivy, the coed who resents the attention given to Angela, with a poisonous perfection.
Some of the comedy is pure corn. The speech about tolerance given by Professor Palmer could be considered inspiring or--in light of McCarthyism--hypocritical.
Those who like this kind of college story might also enjoy "Tall Story" (1960), starring Jane Fonda in her first film role. Some portions remind me of this film.
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