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Good For Music Fans
Michael_Elliott1 May 2011
Jan Savitt & His Band (1946)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Decent entry in the Warner/Vitaphone series "Melody Masters" features Jan Savitt and his bad just as the title says. Warner had been making these type of shorts showing off a variety of music talent and over the years they changed the presentation a little and this one here is told more like a documentary as an uncredited narrator tells us the story of how Savitt came to be. We learn that he started with the New York Symphany Orchestra before breaking out on his own where he tried to mix symphony and jazz. We start off with an example of "Too Marvelous for Words" before the story continues with "I'll ALways Love You", "Some Sunday Morning" and "Dearest Darling" to close things out. The highlight of the film would be the third number "Some Sunday Morning", which was a pretty catchy tune sung by Robert Arthur and Shirley Van. Both are quite energetic and really deliver a memorable tune. Helen Warren sings on the final track. Overall I can't say I enjoyed this new style that much but the music was good and makes this worth checking out.
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Amateur cryptographers new to deciphering Warner Bros.' . . .
Edgar Allan Pooh14 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
. . . Extreme Early Warning System for We Americans of (The Then) Far Future regarding our Upcoming Calamities, Catastrophes, Cataclysms, and Apocalypti often wonder if Warner utilized even their musical shorts for this purpose. In a word, YES! Few such briefs prove this point better than JAN SAVITT AND HIS BAND. About 8 minutes, 25 seconds into this ludicrous piece of so-called entertainment, the narrator solemnly intones, "From First Violinist of a Symphony Orchestra, Jan Savitt arrives at even greater heights on the Bandwagon of Popularity (!)". In the first place, no one besides their moms can even NAME any American "First Violinists." (It's not like they're First Basemen, or something!) Though this must have been absurd at the time (1946) to contemporary audiences, Today's Warnologists immediately will think to paraphrase the narrator thus: "From host of Emmy-losing game show, Don Juan Rump arrives at even greater depths on the Bandwagon of Notoriety." More jarring yet, at the 9:15 mark of this alleged "music" short, the narrator breathlessly blares "Presenting the (four) Lippen children!", cuing a random quartet of tykes to perform a grotesque acrobat act. About 74 years ago, this must have stunned clueless viewers. Today, however, most observers will instantly blurt, "Aha, enter the Junior Rumps to make matters even worse for America!" Probably "Savitt" and the other unknown performers mentioned here are Never-Were Extras recruited by Warner for the sole purpose of singing out an alarm against the infiltration of Russian Collusion into the USA's electoral process, as the opening instrumental "shuffle rhythm" Paean to Putin suggests.
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For the most part, not a lot to distinguish this one.
MartinHafer28 August 2011
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.

The beginning of the film is interesting as it goes from seeing a supposedly young Savitt playing Bach to his later playing a big band version of Bach. I personally wished they'd stayed with more of this but it became more typical big band music--including the standard "Some Sunday Morning". Through the course of the film, you see lots of different acts--singers, dancers and even some young acrobats (this is a bizarre addition and didn't at all fit with the film). Overall, despite a promising beginning, the music and short are very average with nothing more to distinguish them. where's the theme?!
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