1 October 2007 | ptb-8
What happened at Monogram in 1944?
Suddenly something professional and quite zippy took over Monogram musicals in 1944 if the ones I have seen lately are a guide: LADY LETS DANCE and THE SULTAN'S DAUGHTER have been major surprises. HOT RHYTHM is a record company farce of mistaken identity and may just have been recycled into the equally funny PRC musical SWING HOSTESS in 1945. However, this Monogram 'musical special' owes its gloss and hilarity to a very funny script by Tim Ryan, Irene's husband (she of Grandma Clampett fame 20 years later... who'd have thought!) .....again here playing her Gracie Allen dizzy routines and singing a couple of witty songs with excellent orchestrations. Both THE SULTANS DAUGHTER and HOT RHYTHM are clearly Tim and Irene showcases with the added solid talent this time of dazzling ROAD movie co star the truly beautiful Dona Drake with handsome BATMAN star Robert Lowrey. With a lesser vision and budget (at Monogram!) this would have been a Gale Storm musical like the dreadful NEARLY EIGHTEEN or CAMPUS RHYTHM made the year before... but clearly someone at Monogram found a pile of cash somewhere and raised the quality quite a few notches to come up with these Tim and Irene musicals. HOT RHYTHM has a good co starring cast including the rarely seen Jerry Cooper who looks a lot like a morphing of Bing Crosby and Donald O'Connor. There is one song here called "Right Under My Nose" which I believe I recognize as being pinched from the Columbia musical of 1941 called TIME OUT FOR RHYTHM... another radio/record musical. The tune is exactly the same and the lyrics to Columbia's "Twiddling My thumbs" exactly fit "Right Under My Nose". Hmmmmmm..... However, in HOT RHYTHM, the comedy is good, the farce amusing, Irene Ryan is hilarious and plaintive...one funny song "The Happiest Girl In the World" suits her perfectly... and the closing number "You talked Me Into It" is solid swing. HOT RHYTHM is clearly the start of the real quality '44/'45/'46 Monogram production schedule like WHEN STRANGERS MARRY and DILLINGER then SUSPENSE and into the bigger frame Allied Artists mentality. I would like to see a lot more Monogram Pictures from 1944 because I think I have found the spot. (like 10 years prior when Herbert J Yates saw it and gobbled them up, into Republic Pictures)... I am having a really good time researching Monogram Pictures and you could too if 2008 right holders Warner Bros actually properly start releasing these films in new DVD order and clarity. DECOY anybody? .....see that one and those mentioned here (if you can) and you will enthusiastically join the hunt.