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  • Before the 1950s, the studios owned the movie theaters, and had to make "product" for them continuously. Films were created to utilize contract players, with perhaps a better known "name star" borrowed for the cast. Movies were only intended for a short run, and then meant to be forgotten.

    That being said, this film is a harmless bit of fluff that was never meant to have a long life. It was just "product" to fill a movie theater. I'm sure nobody at the time expected this to be competition for MGM spectaculars or 20th Century Fox Technicolor beauties.

    Keep in mind that Ray Bolger made this film three years after "Wizard of Oz", so the comment about MGM "finally" getting it right in casting him, makes no sense. So what if Anne Shirley had fine clothes. Did you ever count how many costume changes Ginger Rogers had in "Kitty Foyle", playing a shop girl? Come on fellas, this is Hollywood, not real life.

    Sure, Bolger could have used better material, but he never had a much of a movie career. He did better on Broadway, both before and after this film was made.

    So what is this is a re-make of "Street Girl". Did you ever notice how many movies get re-made? And not only once, but two and three times. "Maltese Falcon" has had at least three, and "Three Blind Mice" got re-made as "Moon Over Miami" and later as "Three Little Girls in Blue".

    Considering how much junk you see on TV—how many insipid situation comedies that are broadcast—this film compares favorably to what we have available to watch.

    The songs are tuneful and catchy, keeping with the style of the 1940s. The composers, Mort Greene and Harry Revel, were responsible for a plethora of tunes in that era, together and with other collaborators. You'll find their work in many movie musicals, both A and B grade.

    Using Martha Mears to dub Anne Shirley's singing was a good choice, since the tone of her voice matches Shirley's speaking voice very favorably. Mears also did Marjorie Reynolds singing in "Holiday Inn". Dubbing is nothing new to Hollywood. Rita Hayworth and Lucille Ball were always dubbed in the many musicals those actresses made.

    So, while TV has resurrected old films, just consider viewing this one as a nostalgic trip to a time when life was simpler. It's only a little over an hour of your time.
  • This film isn't much and it doesn't make much sense. It is one of the few vehicles designed for comedian Ray Bolger. When MGM finally cast him as the Scarecrow, they got it right. (Bolger was the goofball, Haley was the worrier, Lahr was the cowardly clown, and Morgan was the inept con artist.) Well, Bolger is at his goofy best in this film. He does a routine as a tap dancing boxer which is absolutely hysterical. The film also uses the comic talents of Fritz Feld, Eddie Foy, Jack Durant, and Desi Arnaz, but it is Bolger's vehicle. The biggest problem with the film is that it does not end. It merely stops. Bolger would fine a better vehicle on Broadway with "Where's Charley".
  • Okay, first of all this is the second remake of RKO's wonderful STREET GIRL. The first remake was THAT GIRL FROM Paris with Lily Pons. Anne Shirley is the faux continental who sings. It sounds like Vera Van doing the actual vocals (Vera sang in DARK VICTORY and DUST BE MY DESTINY). The cutting of this picture is a disaster, which is pretty ironic seeing as the director is a former editor. It is very obvious that scenes were trimmed and transitions shortened. There are holes all over the place. The songs are so-so. One of them, "Boogie Woogie Conga" is almost a carbon copy of "Congo Beso" from HELLZAPOPPIN. For my money, the two best reasons to watch FOUR JACKS are June Havoc and Jack Durant. Durant, late of the team of Mitchell (Frank) and Durant, is quite hilarious as a slightly psychotic gangster. Russian tough mug Constantin Romanoff actually has a few lines in this one. If you're into cinema archeology, watch this one to compare and wonder.
  • What was RKO thinking? ANNE SHIRLEY, who couldn't sing (and whose dancing talent was negligible), was put into a few dismal musical comedies at RKO during the '40s, shortly before she retired from the screen. Martha Mears dubs her voice for a few not especially memorable songs. In fact, the only catchy number in the whole film is the "Boogie Woogie Conga" and it comes too late in the film to salvage it in any way.

    RAY BOLGER is the big star here, but even the great Bolger gets very little in the way of strutting his stuff as a hoofer--and the script, which pairs him with Anne Shirley as her romantic interest, has a hard time making them seem like a convincing couple.

    At least DESI ARNAZ is likable enough (with less accent than usual), and the reliable HENRY DANIELL is smoothly cast as a villain. But the script is fluff with barely a moment of reality written into it and nobody manages to look or act their best.

    A sad little musical easy to forget.
  • This is almost a shot-for-shot remake of the 1929 "Street Girl," which was equally cheerless but at least had better musical performances... Betty Compson played the violin and Jack Oakie shimmied in that one. But in the hurry to make movies during the war, they made the nimble Ray Bolger boring and whiny. Anne Shirley has great clothes for a homeless girl, and Desi Arnaz is both handsome and comprehensible in English, so you do wonder what happened to him by his "Lucy" days. This was on very late one night, so it was worth watching under those circumstances -- but otherwise, don't bother. This is a dead man's hand, indeed.
  • Silly antics, with some song and dance numbers tossed in. Nifty (Ray Bolger, just after doing the Wizard of Oz) does a fun, impressive number right at the start, "I'm in Good Shape". He and his co-horts are musicians in a restaurant, and they share an apartment too. Nifty meets up right off with Nina (Ann Shirley), who doesn't have a place to stay, so of course she moves in with them. As we are in the middle of WW II, and there was a major housing shortage, this would be OK, in spite of the film code being in full force by now. They keep bumping into Noodles, the crime boss, played by Jack Durant. The producers didn't spend much on the script here... its all pretty silly, but it kind of works as long as you don't take it too seriously. Nina thinks she can speak with foreign accents, so that comes in handy. Even Desi Arnaz gets caught up in the plot. According to wikipedia, this was only the third role for Desi, and he was on the musical soundtracks for all three of these roles. This about ten years before I Love Lucy. Its OK, but as we can see, it didn't win any awards. This film was just like watching one of Lucy's schemes gone wrong; maybe that's where Arnaz got the idea. Directed by Jack Hively, who also directed a bunch of "The Saint" movies.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sometimes, studios recycle old scripts with ease and some success. But in most cases, they are pointless, and in a few of them, the result of the second or even third version is a rancid mistake. That is the case with this 1942 "B" musical, first done in 1930 as "Street Girl" and in 1937 as "That Girl From Paris". Here, a talented cast is put together for this version where the plot creaks and the jokes land with a thud.

    The first scene of Bolger quickly moves into a charming number, "I'm in Great Shape For the Shape I'm In" which is staged cleverly (Bolger aping practically everybody he passes on the street in his rubber legged dance) but all of a sudden harshly interrupted by the arrival of Anne Shirley whom he prevents from being hit by a car. The way it is done is so awkward that it reminds me of bad edits of movies in the old days on television. Unfortunately, the film never lifts itself back up. This type of plot (A member of European royalty and his look-alike causing confusion for a dance band and its new singer) went out of style in operetta more than a decade before. Even with some fine moments by "Dainty" June Havoc (as a really tough band singer) and Desi Arnaz (in a dual role that seems more suited for real-life wife Lucille Ball), the efforts are too late.
  • This is a fun B' musical. Bolger literally runs into Shirley one evening and it turns into the worst night of his life. He considers her a jinx. But later, she helps him out of a tight jam and he decides to help her in return. Bolger and his buddies play in a band at a nightclub. Shirley is a singer. So the group all get together and try to help each other out.

    Shirley is charming and talented. Bolger is funny and talented. Desi Arnaz is featured in an early role. The rest of the cast features a group of reliable character actors. The songs are forgettable, but it's fun, short and sweet. What more do you want in a B' musical? Of note, Bolger and his co-stars from the Wizard of Oz all starred in a B' musical at RKO in the 1940's. Bolger, here; Bert Lahr in Sing Your Worries Away 1942; and Jack Haley in Sing Your Worries Away 1945.