1 May 2004 | didi-5
Sinatra's (very brief) debut
Back in the days when the twenty-something Sinatra was a vocalist with the Tommy Dorsey Band, he made a brief appearance in this musical comedy, singing one of his best-known numbers from the era, 'I'll Never Smile Again'. The song largely is in the background though and Sinatra himself is only on camera for a blink, although historically the appearance is interesting.
Tommy Dorsey's band play several numbers in this fairly entertaining feature, which deals with a vaudeville act who inherit a run-down shack and try to transform it into a night-spot, while fending off the creditors (the oily Hank Ladd). The three girls in the act all have their chance to shine and all have well-defined roles in the back story (perhaps the best known of the three was the popular 1940s singer, Constance Moore, who plays 'lucky' Norma, who snares the rich ranger in a night of gambling). Virginia Dale dances with the pigeons (!) while Lillian Cornell does her high-pitched trilling as Mildred.
Best of all though is Bert Wheeler as Dale's husband and the comic of the act, who gets to sing 'Dolores', that song which rhymes Dolores with Doris, and generally be funny in the rest of the film. I read that he regarded the film as pretty poor, but that could be because it still required him to cavort about like a big kid when he was well into his forties. Still, it is always a pleasure to see him in a movie.
'Las Vegas Nights'/'The Gay City' doesn't get shown much and is rarely mentioned even in connection with Dorsey, but it worth a look if you get the chance.