Trocadero (1944) Poster

(1944)

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8/10
Delightful Music and Rosemary Lane, A Cheapy, but Goody
jayraskin13 February 2011
The plot of the history of a nightclub is the excuse to present a bunch of musical numbers. The music is really nice. If you're a fan of the Big Bands of the 30's and 40's and/or swing, you'll enjoy it.

A couple of the unique perks are wonderful brief appearances by Dave Fleischer and Ida James. Dave, along with brother Max, did the classic Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, and Popeye cartoons. Here he draws a cute little cartoon character named Skimpy who becomes animated. Ida James is a beautiful and terrific black singer/actress from the period who sings her hit song "Shoo, Shoo, Baby."

Another perk is the appearance of the incomparable Sheldon Leonard. He is the ultimate Brooklyn gangster. Here, he is gentle as lamb. He continued acting regularly for another 40 years after this, but is best known, perhaps, for producing a series of hit television shows in the 1950's and 1960's, including "The Danny Thomas Show," The Andy Griffith Show," and "I Spy".

The main attraction of the movie for me is Rosemary Lane. I've seen her in a couple of movies where she was good, but overshadowed by her bundle of energy sister, Priscilla Lane. Here, she is the main attraction, and she handles her role as one of the nightclub owners with charm, cool and intelligence. She looks great in the stylish dresses and sings delightfully. This was sadly her penultimate movie out of about 20 that she made in a short 10 year acting career. I knew her sisters Priscilla and Lola could carry a movie, but this showed me that Rosemary was able to carry one on her own.

There is one interesting scene that she plays in complete profile. I've never seen an actress do that. At first, I thought it was a mistake, because you can't really see her reaction, but at the end of the scene she turns so that we can she her full face. It is quite effective. It was probably the director's decision, but only a very confident actress would have played the scene as well as she did.

Anyways, if you are a 30's/40's music fan or a Lane sister fan, this is a fun ride.
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10/10
Lively, snappy, and full of good music
earlytalkie19 April 2011
This little gem came on one of those Mill Creek compilation sets. I've never seen it, but I really enjoyed it. The slim plot traces the history of the famous nightclub with dynamite performances from Johnny Downs and Priscilla Lane. The narrative is frequently interrupted for some big-band musical interludes, and they are fantastic. A smooth musical quintet called the Stardusters contribute one of those uniquely 1940's type harmonies. The whole thing comes to a conclusion with a fantastic production number featuring no less than four bands playing at once. If you like a breezy narrative interspersed with a bunch of socko big band numbers, then this is the film for you.
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5/10
String of wartime nightclub routines strung together
gkallen729 May 2006
Judy and Johnny are orphaned siblings being raised by Tony Rocadero, a Hollywood restaurateur who knows no limit in supporting his adopted children, even sending them both off to college. When Tony dies suddenly, one of them has to return home to keep the establishment open. The film opens with a present-day (present-day 1944) sequence of cameo appearances by 1940s Hollywood celebrities, then becomes a series of flashbacks explaining the history of the Hollywood Trocadero, usually in the form of musical numbers by the various types of big band, singing-dancing and stand-up acts which had kept the club going. Along the way, both Judy and Johnny find love and learn the difference between pretentious upper-class fronting and real-people sincerity. There's nothing that stands out about the film, but in 1944 watching it in a heated theater certainly beat sitting at home in the dark.
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6/10
I was pretty amused at this obscure movie called Trocadero
tavm18 July 2014
Just watched this, one of those B-musicals from the '40s which I'm sure played on the bottom half of the double bill. Of the players, one I very much noticed was Sheldon Leonard-who's in my favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life-as one of the employees of the title nightclub. I also recognized one of the tunes, "Shoo Shoo Baby", sung here by one Ida James who I remembered as a player in Cab Calloway's 1947 movie, Hi-De-Ho, as well as a duet with Nat King Cole in the Soundie of Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby? And I just found out that one of the bandleaders is played by Dick Purcell who was also Captain America in a Republic serial the same year this was made. Unfortunately, he'd soon pass away not long after making another movie. Finally, there's an appearance of one Dave Fleischer, who had just split from brother Max after Paramount ousted them from their cartoon studio which would become Famous Studios, who provides an amusing cartoon scene involving one of the Trocadero's patrons. The story's for the birds but there's some amusements to keep one's interest as well as fine music throughout. My favorite scene involved one of the leads, Johnny Downs, doing his tap routine in front of his potential in-laws of which many audience members greet it with a mixture of horror or applause! So on that note, Trocadero is worth a look.
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7/10
Serviceable story but some great big bands!
JohnHowardReid18 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The story's not much but it serves its purpose as an entertaining excuse for a parade of musical numbers and some novelty items including an appearance by Dave Fleischer who conjures up a little animated pixie for our pleasure. The musical numbers are climaxed by no less than four big bands on successive stages. A bit of money has been wisely spent here, and as said above, the story that holds this largess together is slight but serviceable. And it's also well acted by Rosemary Lane (minus her pushy sisters) and Johnny Downs (the male lead in "All American Co-Ed"), supported by reliable also-in-the-cast talent like Sheldon Leonard, Marjorie Manners, Dick Purcell, Cliff Nazarro and Dewey Robinson. This movie is now in the Public Domain, so you'll find it available on numerous out-of-copyright DVDs.
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3/10
Not completely terrible...
MartinHafer4 February 2016
"Trocadero" is a low-budget b-movie made by tiny Walter Colmes Productions. Because of its budget, it has a cast of mostly unknowns and second-tier actors (such as Ralph Forbes, Rosemary Lane and Sheldon Leonard). Lane's voice is pleasant but nothing more and the song and dance acts are of about equal quality. Because of this and the writing, the film just seems okay and nothing more.

When the film begins, Tony Rocadero is about to make some folks famous in his nightclub but he's killed by a hit and run driver. So, in the same spirit as you'd find in "Babes in Arms", they remaining staff decide to make a go of the club in order to honor Tony's memory. At first, the club founders but soon they get a partner, a decent band and the place takes off. Then, in order to create some conflict a couple monkey wrenches are thrown into the mix...and naturally work themselves out in order for a happy ending.

The film is just one adequate but certainly not very good act after another, a few really bad acts and some adequate writing...all resulting in a film with nothing remarkable. Plus, the number of musical acts are too many...and the film sorely lacks plot.

By the way, being out of work, animator Dave Fleischer makes an appearance near the beginning and end. He uses a character similar to his early 'Out of the Inkwell' series...but it really doesn't fit into the film.
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