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William Wellman Jr.
Entertaining B Columbia Musical co-produced by Moe
"Senior Prom" is a real movie musical comedy. It is nothing like the early Rock 'n Roll movies made by Columbia, as well as other studios, during this period. There is a Broadway quality score with music by Don Gohman and lyrics by Hal Hackady. Hackady was a good theatrical writer who never seemed to be able to hit it big on Broadway. His work compares well with other Broadway writers of this period. The film is filled with integrated musical numbers performed by Jill Corey, Jimmie Komack, and Barbara Bostock. The plot isn't much. Singer Paul Hampton, in his first real acting role, has recorded a song, but it hasn't received much of a push. For a subplot, Tom "Billy Jack" Laughlin is trying to get Louis Prima and Keely Smith to appear at his prom. Hampton is a bit stiff as an actor and weak as a singer. Jill Corey, as his romantic interest, sings well (as always), and is quite natural as an actress. It is a shame that she did not appear in any other film. Jimmie Komack, who was a hit as the Alfred E. Newman look-a-like in "Damn Yankees", has the major comedy role. He is quite good, even though he doesn't have the best material to work with. Komack later became a successful producer-director-writer, especially for television. Somewhere in the film there are incomplete cameo musical appearances by Bob Crosby, Toni Arden, Mitch Miller (playing the oboe), an older Connee Boswell, and Freddie Martin and his orchestra. Here we are cheated. I only wish these performers had been given full numbers. During the show sequence, Jill Corey sings a new pop song by Lee Pockriss and Peter Udell that should have been a hit, but they did better with "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikinis Sealed with a Kiss"!
The strangest aspect of the film is its time and music. It should be using early Rock 'n Roll, but luckily for us, we get a Broadway style score with big band style pop interpolations. The setting of the film seems more like 1948 than 1958. However, it is a pleasant way to spend 85 minutes.
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