Melody and Moonlight (1940)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Music


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22 June 2019 | boblipton
| The Second Time Around
Debutante Jane Frazee -- in her screen debut -- goes to a dance hall competition, where she comes in second with resting professional dancer Johnny Downs. When she gets home, she quarrels with her father, Jonathan Hale, and walks out. Eventually she winds up rooming with Johnny and his sister, who don't know who she is.

Joseph Santley directs a remake of his 1936 DANCING FEET, and it's a lot slicker, thanks to the music by Jule Styne, and the choreography by Aida Broadbent. You might feel that the lead actors are blander than the earlier movie's Joan Marsh and Elliott J. Nugent, but Frazee is far more clearly a musical talent.

This version is more clearly a modern musical, with its emphasis on swing, jitterbug, songs that fit the mood of the moment and talent that was not on the downward slide towards their exit from the film industry. While Downs was a veteran of silent films, it was as a child actor. Now he was a young adult. Hale would play fathers and bosses, generals and judges for another twenty years. It's not a great musical, but it has a lot of energy to it.

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