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  • (Spoilers, sort of) Why do I use the word enigma? Because MGM never seemed to know exactly what to do with the great Eleanor Powell. Not unlike the swimming Esther Williams, Powell's films were a kind of specialized musical entertainment where the most uncanny situations had to be dreamed up to show off her tap-dancing skills. And while she was a premier tap dancer- and a better dancer than an actress, she usually danced alone- unlike her male counterparts (Astaire, Kelly, et al) who were usually given dancing partners who doubled as their love interests. In this film, Powell's co-star is the non-dancing Robert Young, who's given a rather foolish subplot in a dual role as a movie star and his double who create havoc when they switch identities. And that's all there is to it. George Burns and Gracie Allen, billed as the second leads, play more apart than they do together. Powell's dance numbers, of course, are sensational: A stair-step routine paying homage to Bill Robinson (while the blackface makeup is startling, the dancing itself is terrific); a shipboard dance with a skipping rope as a prop; and the piece-de-resistance: an all-out grass skirt hula done in two parts: first as a barefoot native dance, then as an ultra-smooth tap sequence done with silver tap shoes. Powell may have been the only woman dancer to dance with her whole body: lots of arm movements, knee bends, splits, high kicks, and puree-speed turns. It's a fun film to watch just for this incredible number.
  • n_r_koch27 July 2008
    This B musical (still available only on VHS) has four things in it worth looking at today: the big "Leader Doesn't Like Music" vaudeville number with singing Marx Brothers impersonators and Gracie Allen got up as Mae West; and Powell's three dance numbers. The first shows off Powell's ability to tap while skipping rope. The second, a blackface tribute to Bill Robinson, would be cornball if Powell weren't so good. The third, a long hula in two acts, isn't Powell's best number but it seems better suited to her big athletic style than her dressy nightclub-style numbers. For once she is not dressed like the mailman, and it's possible to see the unbelievable condition she was in at that time as well as the speed and power of her movements. Fred Astaire surely saw this film while the preparations were underway to make "Broadway Melody of 1940", which teamed him with Powell (or rather, the other way around). No wonder he was scared.
  • I've read film buffs quoted as saying that Eleanor Powell's Hawaiian dance number in the movie "Honolulu" was the sexist dance ever filmed. Well, I've watched many musicals over the years, and I can't think of one that smoked like that one did. To the driving beat of drums, Miss Powell, barefoot and wearing a grass skirt, overpowered the stage with her athleticism and seductive movements. You gotta see it -- I can't describe it and do it justice!

    All and all, it was an enjoyable film simply because of a good cast that was able to overcome a rather threadbare script. Robert Young delivered his usual fine performance playing two characters impersonating one another. The radio comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen were along for the ride: with Geacie fairly enjoyable in her usual role of the slightly daffy friend to Miss. Powell. As another poster here said, Eleanor Powell was best when dancing alone; however, that was enough.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I never quite understood why Robert Young appeared mostly in B movies. Long one of my favorites, "The Enchanted Cottage" certainly showed off his serious side. This film is far lighter, and Young does an admirable job in it.

    Eleanor Powell has to be the finest female tap dancer in history, and this film is no exception.

    Gracie Allen was a delight in this film and stole many scenes. I never understood the attraction of George Burns, and apparently after this film neither did Hollywood -- it was his last film for 37 years. He was pretty much irrelevant in this motion picture.

    The plot is nothing fantastic, but it is pleasant enough...once you get past the first 10 or so minutes where Robert Young's character as a heart-throb actor meets Robert Young's character as an everyday Joe. That segment of the film is clumsy, at best. But after that you'll find a rather pleasant "B" level MGM musical.
  • Burns&Allen's last film as a team was Honolulu where they supported Robert Young and Eleanor Powell. Gracie did two more guest star appearances in film while George would wait over 30 years to go back in The Sunshine Boys which netted him an Oscar. Oddly enough their characters do not have any scenes together until the very end of the movie, almost as if they were trying their separate wings.

    Honolulu was the start of a winding down of a vogue for south seas movies that started over at Paramount with Dorothy Lamour and her sarong and with Bing Crosby's Waikiki Wedding celebrating a trip to Hawaii Bing took in real life. MGM wasn't going to let Paramount get all the tropical box office.

    Robert Young plays a dual role as both a movie star and a visiting planter from Hawaii. Young trying to escape the constant demands of his adoring public offers to switch places with his lookalike. But he gets into all kinds of complications on the ship to Hawaii when he meets Eleanor Powell on board. He falls for her, but the planter, now miserably cooped up in his hotel room because he can't get out in public is engaged to Rita Johnson, daughter of another planter Clarence Kolb back on Oahu.

    Let's just say that with two Robert Youngs there was enough to go around by the time Honolulu was over with a few bumps along the way.

    No memorable songs came out of Honolulu, but Eleanor Powell had some great numbers including a hula tap dance. She seems to have invented her own dance genre because I've never seen anything like it before or since. The production values are also a little skimpy for an MGM musical.

    But with Eleanor dancing and George and Gracie doing their thing Honolulu holds up very nicely for over 70 years.
  • This certainly is a diverse cast: dancer Eleanor Powell, dramatic actors Robert Young and Rita Johnson and comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen.

    The storyline is anything but diverse: the standard "someone-pretending to be someone else-and then getting trouble because it" baloney. Man, you would think Hollywood would tire of that kind of story but those type of plots have running forever, it seems, and I guess they always will.

    Usually, I get tired of that sort of thing quickly but this film made it tolerable because all the characters in this film were non-offensive people. Powell was also likable and her tap dancing was always great. She does three numbers in here. Young played two roles: an actor named "Brooks Mason" and a Honolulu pineapple grower "George Smith."

    Most of the comedy is provided by Gracie Allen, who played her normal ditsy self with her husband as the straight man. All in all, a slightly better-than-average film for the sappy story but one look was enough.
  • jotix10012 September 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    When it came to Eleanor Powell, a great dancer, MGM didn't go all out to make her more appealing in vehicles that could show her talents better. This film, reminds us of another of Ms. Powell's films, "Ship Ahoy", with a similar kind of setting, which in retrospect, showed no imagination on the studio's part. She didn't even merit a Technicolor picture, something that "Honolulu" could have used to enhance its star. Like the other film, this one was directed by Edward Buzzell. Even the costumes by Adrian, seemed third rate and unflattering to the star.

    The story is silly enough. A famous actor, Brooks Mason, whose female fans love to tear off his clothes when he goes to premieres, meets an identical "twin" in the figure of George Smith, a dull pineapple grower from Honolulu. Mason makes a proposition to Smith that he can't refuse: How about impersonating Mason in New York, where he is supposed to be seen in connection with the new picture being promoted.

    In the meantime, Dorothy March, a dancer, is seen on board the ship that is bringing her to Honolulu. The real Brooks Mason, now passing himself as George Smith, is discovered by Dorothy's friend Millie. Mason makes believe he is from Hawaii, even though he has no clue about the place. Things get more complicated when Smith's real fiancée, Cecilia Grayson enters the picture. Her father has it in for George, whom he blames for making him lose a deal.

    While we already know where this story is going, and how it will end, it is worth the time because Eleanor Powell's dancing. The musical numbers aren't as elaborate as some MGM productions; it's an easy time at the movies. Robert Young, in his dual role is fine. Gracie Allen and George Burns are also good in their roles. Rita Johnson, who always had sophisticated roles of women who end up not marrying the leading man, is seen as Cecelia. Clarence Kobs, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Ruth Hussey play supporting roles.
  • mattk126 December 1999
    While Burns and Allen only appear together briefly in one scene, Gracie Allen holds her own quite well playing the "dumb dora" that Burns and Allen fans know and love. The most memorable scene is a musical number with Marx Brothers impersonators (with TWO Grouchos!)
  • Robert Young plays dual roles--one is a famous movie star who longs to escape and get some needed rest and relaxation and the other is a pineapple plantation owner from Hawaii who is visiting the States. The two meet and decide to switch roles for a while. However, total chaos results and no one believes either one when problems develop and they try to explain the switch. As a result, the actor is almost forced to marry the plantation owner's fiancé and the plantation owner is thought to be crazy and ends up in a straight-jacker! It's all pretty funny, but is greatly hindered by the ill-defined focus of the film. That's because in addition to this cute plot, there is a parallel element to the film that just doesn't seem to fit. Eleanor Powell, the Queen of Dance, is also on hand and spends a HUGE amount of the film dancing and dancing and dancing. And these dancing segments don't seem all that well integrated into the rest of the film. It either should have been ALL comedy or ALL dance--making it BOTH was, in hindsight, a mistake. In addition, while I really liked the nice guys that Young played, I HATED Burns and Allen, as they seemed like more of a distraction than anything else. In fact, Gracie's brand of humor, to me, wore very thin. I guess that they aren't everyone's taste!
  • "Honolulu" is a silly, fun B movie from 1939 starring Robert Young in a dual role, along with Burns & Allen, Eleanor Powell, and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.

    Young plays an idolized film star, Brooks Mason, probably modeled on MGM's own Robert Taylor, who is exhausted and needs a vacation. When he meets his double, George Smith, who has a plantation in Honolulu, he eagerly trades places with him. George wants to go to New York, where Brooks is being sent, because his girlfriend Cecelia (Rita Johnson) wants him to learn a little sophistication, so it works out. On the ship to Hawaii, Brooks meets Dorothy, and she thinks that he's Smith.

    When Brooks arrives in Hawaii, he has to deal with George's fiancée as well as Dorothy. Plus George forgot to mention that he owes his future father-in-law $50,000 from a deal, and now the old man wants his money back.

    Typical switched identity film made fun by Powell dancing, the presence of Burns & Allen, and Robert Young. Even if he could have played these roles with a little more verve, Young had the warm presence and sincerity that made him a TV megastar.

    Powell does some terrific dancing, and Burns & Allen were both good, with Gracie using some of the old vaudeville jokes.

    Of course, stereotypes abound -- an Asian houseboy who can't speak much English, a black butler who hasn't had much education, and Eleanor in blackface doing a tribute to Bill Robinson. However, none of that makes up a lot of the film, and Eleanor's tribute to Robinson was great.
  • Honolulu's not perfect (in my opinion), starting with a rather ridiculous story with a tired scenario that can get confusingly told in places. It was unevenly paced, some parts were fine, others were rushed and others were pedestrian. George Burns doesn't really have a lot to do and was a touch bland, and his chemistry with Gracie Allen while pleasant could have shone more if they were on screen longer together, Allen's chemistry with Eleanor Powell fares much better. Honolulu is still a pleasant film though, that is not among the best film musicals but a long way from the worst. The score is lush and while the songs are not the most memorable set of songs from a musical they are still very good and well-placed, the title song, the Hawaiian Medley and The Leader Doesn't Like Music particularly good. Honolulu does have some witty dialogue, with Robert Young having some lovely comic moments, and the shipboard costume party was a lot of fun especially to see what the characters dressed up as. Terrific also was the choreography, the best being the hula dance(you'd be hard pressed to find a sexier one on film), Powell's homage to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and the tap/skipping-rope routine, the last one possibly being the most complicated- a lot of people would find it impossible to do- but danced effortlessly by Powell. And despite the black-face in the Robinson homage causing alarm bells for some who are yet to see it there is nothing really offensive here, although the rather stereotypical and out of place Chinese valet character played by William Fung will not work for some. The direction is pedestrian at times in the non-musical scenes but is very efficient mostly while the performances are good too, Gracie Allen is adorable and very funny and Robert Young is charming and quite gifted in comedy. But Honolulu is Eleanor Powell's film, she radiates the screen and generates warmth and ease, plus her dancing is just incredible (easily among the best dancers on film). Overall, not great but pleasant entertainment. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • Robert Young plays a movie star who meets his lookalike, a rich Hawaiian plantation owner. So the two decide to swap places for awhile Parent Trap-style. The rich guy finds out to his chagrin what life is like for a big celebrity. The movie star meanwhile meets and falls in love with a pretty dancer (Eleanor Powell). All of the expected chaos ensues. It seems to me this plot would have been more interesting had both guys not been rich, successful types. The non-celebrity guy should have been a regular Joe, not some rich plantation owner. As it is, this part of the film is not that fun.

    Robert Young does fine but Eleanor Powell, with her million-dollar smile and awesome dance routines, is the best part of the film. Her jump rope number will make an instant fan out of anybody. The sexy hula dance is justifiably a classic. Those hips! Those legs! George Burns and Gracie Allen are the comic relief but, as was often the case, Gracie is an acquired taste. She's funny but is a little bit much at times.

    Cameo at the start of the film from Ruth Hussey. One of Gracie's musical numbers bizarrely features Marx Bros. imitators and ends with Powell in blackface! If you're a big fan of Young's, I'm sure you will appreciate his performance. Everybody else should check it out for Eleanor Powell's dancing.
  • hcoursen21 January 2006
    This movie is based on a nitwit premise and insults both the yellow and the African races. Eddie Anderson's wise guy persona, developed with Jack Benny, is absent here. But when Powell dances we move into a different medium. Her impersonation of Bojangles is superb. Gracie's performance is a whining distraction, particularly since she and George are apart for most of the film.They get one semi-redeeming sequence together at the end. Somewhere, someone must have put together Eleanor Powell's dance performances, including the only one she did with Fred Astaire in 1940, so that we can avoid the triteness and irrelevance of so many of her vehicles.
  • It's the kind of fluffy production big-budget MGM excelled at. Actor Young gets dual parts, one as a heart-throb celebrity, the other as an average Smith living in Hawaii. To escape pressures, each is anxious to trade places with his look-alike twin. So heart-throb Mason goes to Honolulu while Smith goes to New York. Trouble is this reciprocal move pairs each with his look-alike's girl, so complications ensue.

    Actually, the plot line is heavier than usual for a musical. Nonetheless, director Buzzell keeps things moving. As expected, Powell shows off her flying feet, while I especially like that first number on shipboard that's quite beguiling. However, it's Gracie Allen who steals the show with her shrill comic antics. However, she's got only one skit with under-used husband George Burns that comes at movie's end almost like it's an add-on for George's sake. Also. don't look for popular tunes among the musical selections, after all it's the dancing feet here that's central. There's some flavor of tropical Hawaii with two hula-type dance numbers, otherwise there's not much location scenery. Typical of the time period is the racially stereotyped humor from Willie Fung and Rochchester Anderson, who, whatever else, are adept comedians. All in all, the movie's a crisply done, well-mounted showcase for Powell, Allen, and Young, but nothing special.

    (In passing- for old movie fans, especially of the noir classic Detour {1947}, look for notorious Hollywood bad boy Tom Neal as an ambulance attendant with one brief line.)
  • Robert Young plays a dual role. He plays the Hollywood celebrity Brooks Mason, who is tired of being famous and just wants peace and quiet. Young's other role is as George Smith, a Hawaiian pineapple plantation owner who is in New York for business. Hollywood Young and Hawaiian Young meet through pure coincidence (as always happens in these types of films) and Hollywood Young convinces Hawaiian Young to trade places with him--he wants to relax and Hawaiian Young wants some more excitement.

    Hollywood Young, masquerading as Hawaiian Young, boards a cruise ship to Hawaii. On the cruise ship, he meets Eleanor Powell, a dancer and her friend, Gracie Allen who also plays the ukulele. I am assuming that the ladies are part of a bigger act? The story line was a little confusing as it was hard to remember which Young was which and what exactly was happening in the film, but fortunately, the best parts are Eleanor Powell's dance numbers.

    Powell's jump rope dance at the beginning of the cruise is really fun and is a tribute to Bill Robinson. Her best routine in the film is her hula dance, which at the time was considered pretty risque because of her costume. She is just wearing a bikini top and hula skirt (and presumably underwear). I love Eleanor Powell, and her numbers are always the highlight in every film of hers that I've seen.

    Gracie Allen was fine, but her shtick wears thin for me though, but she has her moments. Her best scene is in the costume party where she is dressed as Mae West. She does a routine with other costumed passengers, including a group dressed as The Marx Brothers (with two Grouchos!). In the audience, "Joan Crawford," "WC Fields," "Clark Gable," and "Oliver Hardy," can be spotted. George Burns is Hollywood Robert Young's agent.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The grass is always greener on the otha side of the fence! Rich movie star is sick of getting mobbed by fans, and Hawaii plantation owner is sick of his slow, dull life, so they decide to switch lives for a while. The only way that works is that they look like identical twins. Some great actors in here.. Burns & Allen, Eleanor Powell, Robert Young. Willie Fung plays the butler, as usual, and is the butt of so many jokes. Powell does a tap-dance bit in black-face, which would certainly be off limits now. I would guess that the cast never left the lot, as the beautiful scenes of hawaii all seem to be backdrops, but it must have been fairly exotic for its day. Some great steel guitar songs, Hawaiian music. ukuleles. and a fun song by some Marx Brothers impersonators, as they sing "the Leader Doesn't Like Music, written by Gus Kahn. A LOT of tap dancing ....did people really want that much tap dancing back then? twists, turns, and hopefully it all gets straightened out by the end. The cast seems to be having fun, so its light, fluffy and fun to watch. Shows on Turner Classic now and then. Directed by Edward Buzzell, who DID direct two Marx Brothers films. and that's probably why they were lampooned in this one. Catch it if you can...
  • jhkp29 March 2017
    Set mostly in friendly Honolulu, long before Hawaii became a state, this is a pleasant, if nonsensical, old-fashioned musical with one of those scripts that seems to have been written by people on dope.

    The acting is generally good, because Robert Young does most of it, with assistance from Rita Johnson. Eleanor Powell's lines, as usual, are somewhat minimal, to disguise her relative lack of acting talent. George Burns and Gracie Allen (apart for most of the film) finally get together and do a routine near the end.

    The plot is one of those things about a guy who owns a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, who's a look-alike for a big movie star ( Young, in a dual role). They decide to swap identities, and everyone gets confused, including the audience.

    Powell plays a dancer, so we're treated to several numbers. She's marvelous, whether skipping rope while dancing, tapping like Bill Robinson in an uncanny imitation of his style, or a big hula/tap production number.

    Eddie "Rochester" Anderson is in it, too.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What today's stars could get with and the alibis they could come up with in order to avoid bad publicity. Willing to take there place at any minute to take abuse from stalking fans (who back in the glory days of Hollywood were stereotyped as clothes-ripping, screaming, stampeding herds of privacy ignoring sociopaths), here the look-alike is of a popular matinée idol (Robert Young in a dual role) who goes to Hawaii while the other ends up in a New York hospital and romantic confusion ensues. On a ship to Hawaii, the star meets a pretty dancer (Eleanor Powell) whose wacky friend (Gracie Allen) spots him and thinking he's the star (which he is in spite of denying it) approaches him a bit more gently than the type of fan I mention above. Tuning her ukulele with a song "My Dog Has Fleas", Allen gets Powell dancing & together, they do a neat little routine. Young, the star, takes over the look-alike's life in Hawaii, and romantic complications concerning a fiancée and movie star Young's sudden love for Powell ensues until the look-alike can make it back and explain everything.

    It gets a little confusing in spots, so much so I was tempted to create a diagram to remember who was who, who was in Hawaii and who was in New York, who was involved with who, and finally, why nobody told the important people involved why they were doing what they were doing. And then there are Burns and Allen who only are on screen together for a brief bit (concerning Gracie's brother, of course) at the end. George, indeed, is wasted in this film, but Gracie gets a lot more to do even than leading lady Powell.

    The highlight of the film is a shipboard costume party where everybody shows up as their favorite movie star. Young doesn't want to come as himself so he dresses up as famous frizzled-haired conductor Leopold Stokowski. Allen, hysterically costumed as Mae West, greets some passengers dressed as the Seven Dwarfs, "Come Boys, It's Off to Work We Go", as only West could say it. Look-alikes of the Marxx Brothers (with for some reason two Grouchos), Oliver Hardy (minus Laurel), W.C. Fields, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Frank Morgan are part of the big musical number surrounding Allen's Mae and Young's Leopold entitled "The Leader Doesn't Like Music". This leads into an eye-raising dance number with Powell in blackface as Bill Robinson. Powell is more successful when she does a tap hula. Look for a very funny denouncement at the end that reminded me of the gag at the end of the Bette Midler/Lily Tomlin look-alike comedy "Big Business".
  • Another typical entry in the mistaken identity screenplays that dominated the '30s and '40s. This time it's Robert Young who discovers he has a double and uses him to trade places, sending his double to Hawaii where he falls into romantic complications with Eleanor Powell and Rita Johnson.

    There are bits of humor that seem a little strained but the pleasant cast manages to get some screwball laughs out of the wacky lines and situations. Young handles his dual role effortlessly and the trick photography is excellent for its time.

    Unfortunately, the leading lady (Eleanor Powell) is ill served by the silly plot that only offers her a few chances to demonstrate her skill as an accomplished tap dancer. Her routines are good but hardly as dazzling as her work in other Powell films.

    It's all predictable and uninspired. Watch for a brief bit by Philip Terry (Ray Milland's brother in 'The Lost Weekend' and Joan Crawford's ex-husband) as a band leader for Powell's Hawaiian dance routine.

    Fluffy entertainment was the last film appearance together of George Burns and Gracie Allen who only have one routine together toward the finale. All in all, routine musical entertainment from MGM but worth watching if only to see Powell dance.
  • "Honolulu" is a good-natured comedy-musical that is great fun without being a great picture. The tempo is good, the cast is very good and the story is also, before becoming somewhat far-fetched towards the end. The music is not memorable but it is tuneful, and the song-and-dance numbers are lively.

    You don't normally think of Robert Young as a funny guy, just a pleasant, presentable leading man, but here he pulls off comedy in fine style. He plays a movie idol and a look-alike business man who switch places as both are looking for a break from their respective routines. Of course, there are the usual comical mistaken identity situations to get through, some with a Hawaiian flavor, as the business man resides in Honolulu.

    While Young is fine, Eleanor Powell is more problematic. She joins actor Young on the way to Honolulu, and has several dance numbers in the process. She was a terrific dancer and had a great smile, but her on-screen persona lacked warmth and never seemed to connect with the audience unless she was dancing. Maybe that was why MGM couldn't figure out what to do with her. She gets some help from Gracie Allen as her sidekick, but it was passing strange she and George Burns did not appear in a scene together.

    This is a better-than-average 30's musical, a crowd-pleaser that could have used a better musical score. Everything else is there, and I rated it a 7, even though it's hard to tell if it's an A or a B picture. I guess with Eleanor Powell in it, it must be an A.
  • The only reason-and it is a good one-to watch this nonmusical is for its dance scenes performed by the remarkably athletic Eleanor Powell. Her dizzying spins in her "tap hula"-as drums beat out a "Hawaiian Medley" behind her-have never been equaled.
  • marcslope24 July 2019
    MGM musical with several unusual assets: For one thing, it's unpretentious, and for another, it has a genuinely diverting screenplay, co-written by Herb Fields, an old hand at musical comedy librettos (he wrote a number of Rodgers and Hart hits). The unremarkable but serviceable plot has Robert Young double-cast as a fan-harassed movie star and a pineapple farmer who trade places, and movie-star-posing-as-farmer falls for Eleanor Powell, who's starring in a Honolulu floor show and accompanied by sidekick Gracie Allen. Gracie's material isn't up to standard, and George has practically nothing to do, and Powell's charms seldom went far beyond the Terpsichorean. But she does have a couple of fine solos, and the Harry Warren-Gus Kahn songs are agreeable. It's typically racially insensitive, with Eleanor doing a blackface salute to Bill Robinson not unlike Astaire's in "Swing Time," and the standard giggling-Asian-servant thing going on. Nevertheless, it's so modest and entertaining, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The gentleman singing and walking carrying a horse as Bing Crosby look like with hat was William Thomas Paye.My father I have the still shots he was given at time of filming in 1938. The credits list someone else. This needs to be corrected.
  • What a cute little comedy! Robert Young stars in a dual role in this throwback to The Prince and the Pauper. I love stories like that, so I was an easily satisfied customer. Others might not like this one as much as I did, so I'll lay out the pros and cons.

    One of the Bobs is a famous matinee idol who gets mobbed by his female fans on the street. The other Bob owns a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, and he constantly gets mistaken for his famous counterpart. In an impressive and adorable scene where the two Bobs meet, shake hands, and marvel at how much alike they look, they agree to switch places for a couple of weeks. Hawaii-Bob warns heartthrob-Bob to stay away from his girlfriend, Rita Johnson, but the second she sees him, she throws her arms around him and kisses him. Then, with a revealing smile and sound, she kisses him again, declaring he's a changed man since last time they saw each other. The only trouble, besides his promise to stay away from her, is he's fallen in love with Eleanor Powell, who doesn't know he's really a famous movie star.

    Eleanor is fantastic, as always, and gets to show off her incredible dance moves in a couple of borrowed numbers from other films: she tap dances while jump-roping à la Curly Top and does a number on a staircase in blackface imitating Bojangles à la Swing Time. She also turns a hula into a tap dance! Bob is adorable, and as his movie star self, he casually name-drops Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, and Myrna Loy leading ladies whom he'd acted with earlier in the decade! When Rita asks him who taught him how to kiss, he jokes and says it was Mickey Rooney, a joke about the off-screen reputation of the Andy Hardy star.

    The parts of the movie that aren't that great are the racially offensive characters of both Bob's valets: Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Willie Fung. Also, Gracie Allen is Eleanor's best friend and constant companion, so if you don't like her humor, you'll be thoroughly annoyed. Most of the movie is pretty cute, though, if you can get past Rochester and Willie, reminding yourself that Hollywood was very racist in the 1930s.
  • This is a mistaken identity plot concerning two characters played by Robert Young-a movie star wanting to get a break and a plantation owner in Hawaii. But that's just an excuse to showcase Eleanor Powell's dances as well as the comedy team of George Burns and Gracie Allen though they don't appear together until the end. In fact, Gracie would make a few more movies without her hubby before being exclusive to radio and TV while George would eventually go on without her after her retirement and death. In fact, between this and The Sunshine Boys, 36 years would pass between theatrical film appearances for Burns, a record! Anyway, this was quite a funny movie with entertaining dances from Ms. Powell (though her blackface tribute to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is politically incorrect today) and an amusing number from Gracie and four people impersonating The Marx Brothers (which in this instance has them as Chico, Harpo, and two Grouchos!). Eddie Anderson-already playing Rochester on Jack Benny's radio show at this point-also provides some good laughs even though the stereotype of his race being scared of ghosts is prevalent in his characterization. The guy playing the Chinese servant unfortunately is too stereotypical for modern tastes. Still, Honolulu was enjoyable for what it was, pure fluff.
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