Add a Review

  • This "Hit Parade" movie made a huge impression on me when i saw it on television back in the 1980s under the title "Change of Heart." Two things about it gave me reason to search it out for a repeat playing -- the wonderful art deco sets in the second half of the film and the spectacularly eccentric dancing of the team of Pops and Louie. It is well worth looking for, and i am glad i finally located it again, but i sure had to look for a long time, as there is another film with the title "Change of Heart" that -- until the advent of the IMDb -- folks always seemed to get confused with this one. Susan Hayward and John Carroll are quite good, the music is fine, but, really, for me this movie is all about Pops and Louie and that wild Art Deco set decoration.
  • Minor programmer has a silly plot but Susan Hayward, looking beautiful, is saucy in the lead and was actually engaged briefly in real life to costar and Clark Gable lookalike John Carroll. Eve Arden is thankfully aboard to offer her peerless wisecracks and look glamorous. Gail Patrick is on hand as well playing a silky villainess adding a nice touch to the proceedings. They are all better than the nothing script deserves. On top of that you get Count Basie and Dorothy Dandridge in a wonderful specialty number. Originally called Change of Heart this is as good an example as any of the low budget films studios used to pump out on a weekly basis to keep their theatre chains supplied with product but it's also how they built stars. With all the superior talent involved it's worth catching once but that will probably be enough.
  • Just watched on Netflix Streaming this obscure musical comedy called Hit Parade of 1943 (though the print that ran on screen had another title called Change of Heart with the original in small print below it with "formerly" preceding it). In it, Susan Hayward plays Jill Wright, an aspiring songwriter who finds out the publisher and singer she's been going out with, Rick Ferrell (John Carroll), has taken sole author credit to her consternation. So she plots with her sister, Belinda (Eve Arden), to ruin him and his publishing partner, J. MacClellan Davis (Walter Catlett). Meanwhile, Ferrell is also dating a Toni Jarret (Gail Patrick). I'll stop there and just say that this was quite a funny and musically entertaining picture. In fact, I was surprised at how much I laughed at the whole thing with that cast. And much of the songs were quite enjoyable which probably shouldn't be a surprise since the writers were Jule Styne and Harold Adamson. The reason I decided to watch this one having not known about it before was because with Black History Month a few days away, I wanted to find out about what was available to view from someone like Dorothy Dandridge who was best known for Carmen Jones but had previously made various cameo and supporting parts in the preceding years. So when I looked her up on Netflix, this was listed as available for streaming. Anyway, she sings with the Count Basie band on a number called Harlem Sandman. It's accompanied by dancer Ruth Scott who I saw in Stormy Weather and Murder at the Vanities and by a couple of tap dancing pros named Pops (Albert Whitman) and Louie (Louis Williams). The latter two really impress with their backflips. Other African-American players include Nick Stewart-best known as Lightnin' on the TV series "Amos 'n' Andy" and who would later co-star with Ms. Dandridge on CJ-as Willie the janitor who gives inspiration to Jill and Rick for the Harlem number, Cordell Hickman-who I first saw as a kid in the last Our Gang short Tale of a Dog as Buckwheat's friend Big Shot-as someone who Jill takes over on a yard chore so he can spy on some wartime enemies, Ernest Morrison-who was an original Our Gang member with the name "Sunshine Sammy"-as the Heaven Air Pilot in the Harlem number, and The Golden Gate Quartette-who I previously saw as waiters accompanying Dick Powell and Mary Martin in the "Hit the Road to Dreamland" number of Star Spangled Rhythm and in "The General Died at Dawn" number of Hollywood Canteen-who appear in two sequences: as the kitchen help singing a love song as Jill and Rick leave Cordell's yard for some lovin' and as soldiers on a radio show performing a song with the title of "Yankee Doodle Tan". They were all pretty enjoyable. So on that note, I recommend Hit Parade of 1943. P.S. John Carroll is a native of New Orleans, a two hour drive from the city where I live in. Oh, and since I always like to cite whenever a player from my favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life appears in something else, that's Mary Treen as Carroll's secretary, Janie.
  • It's kind of hard to separate Hit Parade Of 1943 from its time of origin. Only people my age might barely remember the Hit Parade on television and radio and for those of the World War II generation they would remember it best. If it were not for the presence of Susan Hayward in the cast Hit Parade Of 1943 would be totally forgotten even with two Oscar nominations to its credit.

    It's also a Republic Pictures product so it won't have the production values that something from one of the major studios would give us. That being said it's still a nice snapshot of the wartime home front topped off by the radio broadcast of a war bond drive.

    Susan Hayward plays an aspiring song writer who sends a song to publishers John Carroll and Walter Catlett who make some cosmetic changes and it becomes a hit. Of course she and pal Eve Arden plan some sweet revenge, but of course you know it all works out in the end.

    The song Change Of Heart was Oscar nominated for Best Song and the film was nominated also for best Musical Scoring. John Carroll had a nice lusty baritone and did a few musical films of the B variety mostly. He's best know musically for being Kathryn Grayson's leading man in Rio Rita. He also did some straight dramatic roles and most notably there as the second lead to John Wayne in The Flying Tigers. Hayward whom we know sang in I'll Cry Tomorrow as the screen Lillian Roth might well have done her own brief vocals here, but there's no information either way.

    Hit Parade Of 1943 is best viewed as first history and then entertainment. All four of the leading players I mentioned fill out the roles you would expect of them. And the musical acts consist of big bands Count Basie, Ray McKinley and Freddie Martin. The groups the Music Maids and the Golden Gate trio are here and as a real treat the vocalist with Count Basie is Dorothy Dandridge. That's enough reason to see Hit Parade Of 1943.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Usually associated with low-budget westerns and brittle, action-packed war films (both sometimes starring John Wayne), Republic was the creme-de-la-creme of the "B" studios and occasionally turned out an "A". Their "A" pictures were not as lavish as those of the majors, but reveal themselves to be non-pretentious, entertaining, and in the case of their musicals, loaded with talent.

    The third of their "Hit Parade" series (there were four), like Paramount's "Big Broadcast" and MGM's "Broadway Melody" series, is a plethora of wonderful musical moments (both big and small) if short on originality. Here, a small-town songwriter (Susan Hayward) arrives in New York to find out that the publisher (John Carroll) she has sold her song to has laid a claim to it himself. She sets to teach him a lesson but predictably, falls in love with him even though her sardonic cousin (Eve Arden) points out that Carroll is a heel. Indeed, he's involved with the married Gail Patrick, wife of Carroll's "Money Man". This sets Patrick up for some sophisticated "bitchery" that unfortunately the usually tough Hayward doesn't rise to crush with her pinkie.

    The musical numbers are lavishly set up, especially the Count Basie specialty "He's the Harlem Sandman" (sung by a young Dorothy Dandridge) and the Latin number Carroll croons to Hayward's music (using a series of different sized large drums). Re-titled "Change of Heart" for re-release (the name of its Oscar Nominated song), the film can attribute its music to Broadway legend Jule Styne ("Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", "Bells Are Ringing", "Gypsy", "Funny Girl"), so it is of historical interest.

    While Patrick is at her best brittle bitchiness, the film lacks a nice confrontation where Hayward shows while the character might be a small town girl, the actress is from Brooklyn! Arden gives her usually witty performance, especially during the liver pill ditty she sings as a radio commercial. Her wisecracks, usually aimed at Carroll's right-hand man Walter Catlett, are right on target. "Hit Parade of 1943" may not be as lavish as the colorful musicals MGM and 20th Century Fox were turning out the same year, but it is still satisfying as a fun war era diversion.
  • Although this was a dull film, the 20 year old Dorothy Dandridge was outstanding in this token production for marginalised performers. It was good to get Dandridge alongside of Susan Hayward, but as a self contained film it was diabolical.
  • The plot is so tiny it almost falls off the screen. Of course it's just an excuse for Hayward to look gorgeous and for the performance of a number of wartime hits. But what is remarkable here are the black performers, including Count Basie and Dorothy Dandridge and a pair of amazing male dancers. The central Sandman of Harlem number is outstanding.

    The rest is pretty dull with John Carroll trying to be Clark Gable - but Eve Arden provides a few laughs and she works very well with Hayward.
  • "Hit Parade of 1943" was later re-titled "Change of Heart", though changing the title did nothing to improve this second-rate bit of fluff. Although it stars Susan Hayward, this was before she became a top star and the film is clearly a case of her slumming it at Republic Studios. Her co-star is the equally non-famous John Carroll--who, as usual, plays a bit of a slime-ball.

    Hayward plays a song writer who is supposed to be quite smart and a tough cookie as well. So, when she meets up with a slimy song writer (Carroll) and he steals her music, you assume she'll make sure to get her revenge. So far, so good. However, soon she falls in love with him and all is forgiven--although he's clearly a jerk who's made a career out of stealing other people's work! I HATE films that feature supposedly smart women acting like total idiots--and that certainly is the case here. What will happen with this budding love--especially when Carroll's OTHER woman makes an appearance? Who cares.

    The only thing about this film that is worth seeing is the big musical number featuring some top Black entertainers of the era--including Count Basie and a young Dorothy Dandridge. The plot, in contrast, is a complete mess--and never comes close to being engaging or believable in any manner. A bad film redeemed, very slightly, by the music.