I am going to attempt to not be too fan-girly about this movie. I honestly don’t know how it’s going to turn out, though - James Stewart was singing…
At first, this movie struck me as an amazing piece of ever-glorious Classic Hollywood, but on second thought it’s rather corny (right off the cob, as a certain Stanwyck character would say). In addition to that, I still don’t know exactly what happened to its plot. James Stewart plays Captain Ted Barker of the US Navy. While in New York he meets want-to-be dancer Nora Paige (Eleanor Powell) and they fall in love. A romance cooked up by the publicity agent of a popular dancer, in addition to the fact that Jimmy thinks Nora is married, breaks up Nora and Jim’s romance; until, in classic 1930s-romantic-musical-style, everything turns out nicely.
I did enjoy this, though, and quite immensely. I definitely liked it more than the last Eleanor Powell movie I watched! As a matter of fact, dear Ellie didn’t impress me much last time, although I could tell she was good. This time she was utterly adorable and oh-so-beautiful. Her dancing was stunning. Something about the way she danced made watching irresistible – she’s like the female version of Fred Astaire. I also thought she and Jimmy Stewart looked darned-near-perfect together.
Jimmy Stewart once said "What idiot of a producer convinced a director to make a movie where I have to sing and play musical instruments?"*. I think whoever thought to do it was a genius. So what if Jim’s singing was not of the sort that gave Bing Crosby or Dick Haymes a run for their money, nor his dancing comparable to Fred Astaire's or even Gene Kelly's? He’s still adorable. And anyone who doesn’t smile when Jimmy attempts to sing must have a heart of stone. *I think that was actually said in reference to Pot o' Gold (1941), but the idea stands.
It (I mean, the movie) may not be up to par with a Preston Sturges comedy – eight-foot-thick layer of genius on top, if you know what I mean – but it’s hilarious in its own unbelievable way. Take for instance the scene where this telephone operator with the most horrendous voice is talking about Jimmy’s character and she says “What’s he like? Well, tall – sort of the answer to a maiden’s prayer on stilts. Honest, he must be six-feet-four and that’s just two inches shorter than a totem pole. Oh, but he’s got a smile like concentrated vodka…vodka...oh, it’s a Japanese drink made out of panther blood, I think.”
Probably not the best movie ever. Probably. All kidding and fan-girly tendencies aside, though, it’s completely worth watching. I really did enjoy it, in all its depression-era, comedic, oh-so-corny, musical splendor.
"Mush" Tracy: You know, I’m getting out of the service in two or three weeks.
Waitress: Yeah, I was reading where they’re going to strengthen the Navy.
Until Later On~