23 November 2008 | bkoganbing
Before the Disney Channel invented Camp Rock for the Jonas Brothers to attend, Paramount did this film in 1941 showing off the musical talents of youngsters with a classical bent. Paramount borrowed the plot for this film from that other major studio MGM, Boystown for this feature, There's Magic In Music.
Playing a musical Father Flanagan is Allan Jones, the son of the camp's founder William Collier, Sr. who is having his trouble keeping the camp afloat. In fact the Board of Director's has brought in Margaret Lindsay to put the place on a more efficient basis.
So when Jones brings in a find from a burlesque house in Susanna Foster, Lindsay's a bit skeptical. But the charming Allan Jones brings her around.
Foster's got a great act she's with. She sings from the classic opera while her 'guardian' Grace Bradley does her bump and grind behind her. Personally I think she's doing a public service, exposing the burlesque audience to some highbrow music, but the police still raid the place and Jones and pal Lynne Overman manage to extricate Foster from the law.
Jones and Foster had worked together once before in The Great Victor Herbert where Foster played the daughter of Jones and Mary Martin. There Jones was the star, but in this film he definitely yields the musical moments to the young Ms Foster, in fact to all the youngsters who play themselves and actually do perform.
The film really got butchered on the cutting room floor in Paramount, there are whole sections that are germane to the plot that we don't see. I would probably give it a higher rating if that weren't the case. We don't even learn what Susanna Foster's real name is, I doubt she was baptized 'Toodles'.
Despite the rotten editing and I will say that it is possible the audiences in 1941 saw a longer version of There's Magic In Music than I just did. Considering the young talent that was involved here, let's all write Paramount and see if they got outtakes lying about.