|Index||4 reviews in total|
As anyone who lived through the Fifties and/or who watches the TVLand
channel, Desi Arnaz's occupation as Ricky Ricardo was leading the Ricky
Ricardo Orchestra at the Tropicana Nightclub. Occasionally we got to
see Ricky actually performing, especially in the beginning. But after a
while Desi was just a foil for his wife's comic routines. And then of
course Lucy had a lot of 'splaining to do.
But this musical short from Warner Brothers shows Desi Arnaz as the musical performer he was singing and leading the orchestra he put together post World War II. He gets to do three musical numbers with his orchestra including Baba-Loo which was the song that Ricky Ricardo was famous for on I Love Lucy which we rarely ever heard, but which many jokes were made about.
Amanda Lane sings Easy Street which Lena Horne made famous and the dance team of Searles&Galian dance a nice samba number. Still this musical short gives us an opportunity to see the musical talents of Desi Arnaz.
This is one of the newest of the Vitaphone shorts--known as a "Melody
Master". These later musical shorts generally had been more straight
forward and had simpler sets and no real story to tie it all
together--just a famous band of the day doing their stuff. However,
starting during the war years these shorts began to have a narrator and
purported to give a bit of background on the band leader. Sadly,
however, for some reason there was very little narration and no real
background information on him--nor any mention of his marriage to
Desiderio Alberto Arnaz ye de Acha the Third was quite enjoyable throughout this short. Not surprisingly, he sang "Babalu"--and it was a real show-stopper. In fact, he looked a bit crazed as he belted out the song--with his hair flying about wildly. This short, overall, was a nice stylistic departure for the series, as Latino bands were rarely part of the series. In some ways, it reminded me of watching the "I Love Lucy" show--as he often performed numbers here and there during the course of the series. Overall, one of the more exciting shorts in the latter part of the Vitaphone series--full of energy and easy to like.
DESI ARNAZ shows lots of energetic Latin rhythm in his band leading
chores, beating those drums and singing songs like "Babalu" and
"Guadalajara" or letting his female singer do a nice version of "Easy
Street." If you like the pulsating Cuban style music his band performs,
with considerable zest, you'll enjoy this short.
No plot, just Desi and his orchestra which was formed shortly after WWII and before he discovered a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow in the form of Lucille Ball.
Enjoyable short passes the time pleasantly. Arnaz exhibits musical talent and the music is a pleasure to listen to, but you can't help thinking of what lay ahead for this entertainer in the early fifties when he became Lucy's partner in an historic television series.
Desi Arnaz & His Orchestra (1946)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
An uncredited narrator tells us that Desi Arnaz conquered Broadway then became a movie star and is now going to try his hand at music. The narrator then adds that he's certain Arnaz would have big things ahead of him and that's certainly true even if the path was somewhat different than what's hinted at here. Arnaz and his orchestra perform several Mexican/Spanish numbers including the catchy "Guadalajara" and "Babalu". Singer Amanda Lee joins him and sings on "Easy Street" while Searles and Galian appear towards the end of the film. Arnaz, with his band that he brought together during WWII, then kick back with "Tabu", "Pin Marin" and "Tabu". I think it goes without saying but fans of Arnaz are certainly going to want to check this thing out even if the famous guy is out-shined in his own film. I think the best number of the picture is "Easy Street" with Lee really hitting it out of the park and she's quite easy on the eyes as well. I found the number to be the best written and performed and the little skit that went with it wasn't too bad either. The rest of the numbers are decent but I think it's fair to say that Arnaz had much better material that would come about in a few more years.
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