Saturday, April 21, 2012

Star Spangled Rhythm

Star Spangled Rhythm

Paramount, 1942, B/W, 100 minutes, ***½

Premiere release December, 1942

General release January, 1943

If you're looking for the opportunity to see mobs of Hollywood's biggest stars together in a musical comedy smash that will keep you oohing and aahing all the way through, then this is it! Bing Crosby is joined by an absolute throng of entertainment cohorts in this hilarious story of a young sailor trying to impress his buddies with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. When Jimmy Webster (Eddie Bracken) calls his father at Paramount Studios, the telephone operator - who thinks Jimmy would make a swell catch - beefs up Dad's position from gatekeeper to studio boss whenever the son calls to chat. Thinking his father is one of Hollywood's head honchos, Jimmy decides to take his Navy pals on a tour of Paramount and show them how the other half lives. They are all in for a big surprise, but the biggest surprise comes from a show the studio decides to put on for the sailors that includes - well, just about everyone! It's a rare treat that shows a real glimpse of those glittering days. Songs like "Old Black Magic," and fun with folks like Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Paulette Goddard, and of course, Bing, make this a not-to-be missed extravaganza.

Highlights include "Sweater, Sarong, and Peek-a-Boo Bang" performed first by Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake and Paulette Goddard and then performed by Arthur Treacher, Walter Catlett and Sterling Holloway in drag. Rochester's "Sharp as a Tack" is a show-stopper, and so is Betty Hutton's wall-climbing scene! Many great laughs!

Producer: Joseph Sistrom

Directed by: George Marshall

Original Screen Play by: Harry Tugend

Sketches by: George Kaufman, Arthur Ross, Melvin Frank and Norman Panama

Musical Director: Robert Emmett Dolan

Musical Assistant: Arthur Franklin

Songs: Lyrics by Johnny Mercer, Music by Harold Arlen

Vocal Arrangements by: Joseph J. Lilley

Dances Staged by: Danny Dare

Miss Zorina's Dance Staged by: George Balanchine

Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegté

Set Decoration: Steve Seymour

Costumes: Edith Head

Makeup Artist: Wally Westmore

Sound Recording: Harry Mills, John Cope

Directors of Photography: Leo Tover, Theodor Sparkuhl

Edited by: Paul Weatherwax

Awards: Academy Award nominations for Best Score - Musical and Best Song ("That Old Black Magic")

Cast: Betty Hutton [Polly Judson], Eddie Bracken [Jimmy Webster], Victor Moore [Pop Webster], Anne Revere [Sarah], Walter Abel [Frisbee], Cass Daley [Mimi], Macdonald Carey [Louie the Lug], Gil Lamb [Hi-Pockets], William Haade [Duffy], Maynard Holmes, James Millican [Sailors], Eddie Johnson [Tommy], Arthur Loft [Casey], Dorothy Granger, Barbara Pepper, Jean Phillips, Lynda Grey [Girls], Boyd Davis [Capt. Kingsley], Frank Moran [Man with Sturges], Eddie Dew, Rod Cameron [Petty Officers], John Shay [Sentry], Keith Richards [Officer], Jack Roberts [Assistant Director], Karin Booth [Kate], Gladys Blake [Liz], Guests: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Fred MacMurray, Franchot Tone, Ray Milland, Dorothy Lamour, Paulette Goddard, Vera Zorina, Mary Martin, Dick Powell, Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, William Bendix, Jerry Colonna, Albert Dekker, Susan Hayward, Marjorie Reynolds, Betty Rhodes, Dona Drake, Lynne Overman, Gary Crosby, Johnnie Johnston, Ernest Truex, Katherine Dunham, Arthur Treacher, Walter Catlett, Sterling Holloway, The Golden Gate Quartet, Tom Dugan, Paul Porcasi, Richard Loo, Maxine Ardell, Marjorie Deanne, Lorraine Miller, Marion Martin, Chester Clute, Frank Faylen, Slim and Slam, Woody Strode, Louise La Planche, Donivee Lee, Don Castle, Frederic Henry, Sherman Sanders, Virginia Brissac, Irving Bacon, Matt McHugh, Peter Potter, Eddie Marr, Cecil Kellaway, Ellen Drew, James Lydon, Charles Smith, Frances Gifford, Susanna Foster, Robert Preston, Christopher King, Alice Kirby, Marcella Phillips, Cecil B. DeMille, Preston Sturges, Barney Dean, Jack Hope, Ralph Murphy [Guests], Martha Mears [singing voice of Veronica Lake]

Musical Program and Sketches: [0:00] Overture (played by Orchestra behind titles); [0:22] Hit the Road to Dreamland (sung by Mary Martin, Dick Powell and the Golden Gate Quartet); [0:31] Swing Shift (sung and danced by Marjorie Reynolds, Betty Rhodes, Dona Drake and Chorus); [0:37] I'm Doing It for Defense (performed by Betty Hutton in a jeep full of sailors); [0:49] Betty Hutton climbs the wall (comedy sketch); [1:03] Sweater, Sarong, and Peek-a-Boo Bang (performed by Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Paulette Goddard, Arthur Treacher, Walter Catlett, Sterling Holloway); [1:10] That Old Black Magic (sung by Johnnie Johnston, danced by Vera Zorina); [1:14] "If Men Played Cards as Women Do" (comedy sketch performed by Franchot Tone, Ray Milland, Fred MacMurray, Lynne Overman); [1:21] Sharp as a Tack (performed by Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Katherine Dunham, Slim and Sam, Woody Strode); [1:26] Bob Hope Sketch (performed by Jerry Colonna, Bob Hope, Chester Clute, William Bendix, Maxine Ardell, Marjorie Deanne, Lorraine Miller, Marion Martin); [1:33] Finale: Old Glory (performed by Bing Crosby, Chorus and Company)

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