21 July 2005 | timothymcclenaghan
My first look at Jessie Matthews
I'm always seeking films of dancers in order to review their styles. I had read about Jessie Matthews, and this was my first opportunity to see one of her films.
For those of you who don't know her work, she's sort of the girl- next-door type. She has a pronounced, cute overbite, and her front teeth are so prominent, that you almost think she has buck teeth. Her singing voice has a light vibrato, not unlike many female singers of the 1930s. She was reportedly a prolific and popular recording artist in England, and her voice is pleasant enough for musical comedy.
Nicknamed "The Dancing Divinity", she can definitely dance. Her style of tap dancing is somewhat like that of Ruby Keeler--the buck and wing style--which is dated now, but was current at the time this film was made. In addition, she performs a "freestyle" type of dance, similar to what we saw Rita Hayworth do--twirling and swirling lots of chiffon.
The musical score is not particularly memorable, but then there are a lot of 1930s musicals that fall into that category.
You'll recognize co-star Barry Mackay from the 1938 version of The Christmas Carol, where he played Scrooge's nephew Fred. Also co-star Alistair Sim, who played Scrooge in the 1951 English version of the same story, has a comic bit part making big eyes. Here's a man whom you could say has "Bette Davis eyes".
I've now seen all six of the musicals starring Jessie Matthews. This one is worth a look if you enjoy her work. This film can be obtained on VHS.