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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.
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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