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  • Yet another musical biography of a famous songwriter. I saw "Irish Eyes are Smiling" only for the music and the beautiful June Haver but I didn't think it would turn out to be this dull and exhausting. "Irish Eyes" is one of the most laughably boring biographies ever made.

    It is the same reaction I had with Haver's later musical, "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now"(1947): the Technicolor, the lavish sets and musical numbers are not without merit but the story is frustratingly hollow. It lacks strength and a sense of direction.
  • All of the June Haver musicals were worth watching, to me, mostly because of the time frame of the music involved (the gay nineties thru the twenties ... that is to say, 1890 thru 1930.)

    This particular one, I enjoyed Monty Wooley's performance as a bit of a con man and an entrepreneur, as well as a rare appearance of Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, a former boxer who didn't have to fake a boxing match. Anthony Quinn had a chance to do comedy and fared quite well. Quinn makes a bet with Wooley that he (Wooley) cannot, as he claims, make a musical star out of the next female who comes out of the ladies room in a restaurant. You have four and a half guesses who comes thru the door.

    There is one dreadful number called "Bessie and Her Bustle" which made me cringe. June's other numbers did her no harm but Only "Irish Eyes Are Smiling" was any real help to her. Dick Haymes was a bit of a dead fish as an actor but his singing was really quite splendid.

    Some other reviewer called June's performance "butch", which is ridiculous. She was pert and feisty and altogether charming. Gordon MacRae would have done the Haymes part much more satisfactorily but then this is true of many, many leads that required an actor as well as a singer. I would recommend this film if you are a June Haver fan and if you like a lot of good old Irish songs. (Ball biography,roughly) How about "Mother Machree" and "A Little Bit Of Heaven Fell From Out the Sky One Day" and "Let The Rest Of The World Go By."
  • The film is part of a long line of musical biographies of songwriters that has hardly any interest in the person's actual life story. Instead, calling them biographies allows the musicals to cull songs from their catalog for various musical numbers. Still, at times, these films can be pleasant time-wasters. This one, ostensibly about turn-of-the-century songwriter Ernest Ball, is one of these pleasant but unexceptional entries.

    Judging from the songs presented in the film, Ball specialized in Irish hokum ("Mother Macree" for example)--lugubrious ballads that wallowed in maternal sentimentality and dreams. Consequently, Dick Haymes portrayal of Ball presents him as a weak passive sort, who is easily pushed around. Seemingly to balance him, June Haver as his romantic interest is incredibly butch--growling, aggressive, and constantly popping people in the eye. While Haymes sings Ball's slow ballads, Haver performs peppy up-tempo numbers (that were not written by Ball). One of these underlines the reversal of gender-expected behavior: "Bessie in a Bustle." Here, Haver sings in male clothing, as various men in drag (with bustles naturally) cavort around her!

    It's a pretty out-of-nowhere moment, but seems to fit the general attitude about aggressive women and passive men that's going on in the rest of the film.

    Overall, it's a colorful period piece, with plenty to keep a viewer diverted for an hour and a half--and some interesting ideas if you stop to notice them. But it's no landmark musical.
  • This biography of Ernest Ball has numerous historical inaccuracies but none are serious enough to detract from the music. Dick Haymes was a popular singer in the 1940s and appeared in several movies without ever achieving movie-star status. June Haver is beautiful and has several good numbers. Monty Woolley is very good in a semi-comedic role and Anthony Quinn makes a good foil for him. The story tends to drag in spots, but there is enough good music to make watching worth while. The songs include "Boy Of Mine", "Bessie With The Bustle" and (of course) "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling". Watch it for the music and don't worry all that much about the story.
  • tlb11163 November 2006
    Hi, There, I recently had a new friend enter my life that I just treasure. He is in quite ill health and likely won't be around too much longer. His brother, also aging and in poor health, sang on the original movie (When Irish Eyes are Smiling). I am not certain what the details are regarding this, only that he sang. Since I heard my friends story, I have been working feverishly to obtain a copy of the movie I could give him to enjoy his brother, who he doesn't get to see too often as they are separated geographically and are both ill and elderly. He has so much love for his brother and I see it come shining through every time I talk with him. I would love nothing more than to give him a copy of this movie that he could enjoy and possibly share with his brother. Does anyone know if it is out on DVD, if so, where the heck I might find it. I've searched the web over, to no avail. I would appreciate anything anyone might be able to offer. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Cindy
  • Ernest Ball, an aspiring composer from Cleveland, struggled through his younger years to make it in the business. After not being able to make it in his home town, Mr. Ball decides to go East to New York, the capital of the world of entertainment where his music was appreciated and went to have the recognition he deserved.

    "Irish Eyes Are Smiling", the biographic film didn't make a good impression of the man and his life. In fact, this was a rather uninspired production of Twentieth Century Fox that must have been created for Dick Haymes, the actor with a golden voice who was at his prime. Directed by veteran actor/director Gregory Ratoff, this is a dull movie where some of Ernest Ball's songs are prominently placed in a musical comedy that didn't do anything to please audiences.

    Mr. Haymes had a pleasing tenor voice, but as far as the acting department went, he was at a disadvantage playing opposite Monty Wooley, or even a young Anthony Quinn. This was June Haver's second appearance in a film after her success in "Home in Indiana". She doesn't have much to do as the main interest of Ernest Ball.

    The best of Mr. Ball's songs, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", which he composed with lyrics by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff proved to be a song that survived the author as it became a standard hymn always associated with Irish celebrations and a must for St. Patrick's Day.
  • Most musicals have flaws and this is no exception.Whoever wrote the script should have checked for some sort of continuity but what passes as a story concerns Ameican Irish songwriter Ernest Ball who specializes in songs with an Irish theme,many of which are still heard today.When he shows one to a guy who's about to employ him as a songplugger said guy tells him its junk.He wants him to plug a song which sounds as if he wrote it in his sleep.Ball plays the song at the music hall and the audience more or less start booing.So he plays the one he offered the plugger -When Irish eyes are smiling-and the audience goes wild.He then just gets bigger. Meanwhile June Haver,who he'd tried once to get off with turns up as a Hatcheck Girl having failed to cut it as a chorus girl.A con man Ball hooked up with claims he can make the next woman who enters the room a star.Here it seems obvious that Ball will engineer her appearance. This is where any sense leaves permanently as he doesn't even offer. Instead Miss Haver leaves having sussed out she was the subject of a bet. Meanwhile the con man,in an attempt to lure her back-though its not him has the hots for her-somehow manages to stage a musical of his own and pass off Ball's songs as his own work.Ball sees it via a copy of Variety and heads back to town guns blazing as he thinks its really Miss Haver at work.Meanwhile she's South America bound then changes her mind and comes back to New York. Ball turns up copy of Variety in hand and you think he may at least punch somebody.But no everything ends happily ever after (or because the budget ran out).So the ploy cooked up by the con man was a waste of time.In a real World there would at least be questions asked and threats of copyright infringement Don't look for sense enjoy the songs as they are excellent
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There should be a warning put in place before putting this film on that the style of singing here is nearly of the same effect as nails down a chalkboard so one brings painkillers to try to get through it. It is loosely based on the composer of the popular and still sung title song but other than that, I don't have any interest in hearing any of the other songs again. I have heard tidbits of the song "Mother Macree" before in my study of world music, and I never want to hear it completely ever again.

    The story focuses on Ernest Ball's rise to fame as a composer of musicals and his romance with pretty blonde singer June Haver, but as played by popular 1940 singer Dick Haymes, the character is actually very dull to care about getting to know his story. Friendly rival Anthony Quinn briefly distract Haver by taking her to Cuba under the presumed assumption of starring in a musical there, but other than a conflict involving established star Beverly Whitney, there really isn't much going on.

    Usually while watching movie musicals whether on the big screen or TV, I have the urge to applaud after the musical numbers. Unfortunately with this film about Irish composer Ernest R. Ball, I was reaching for aspirin not only for the headache that I was getting from the aggravating form of singing but in desperation of trying to stay awake as well. the film certainly is colorful and has some beautiful moments and interesting supporting performances (especially by Quinn and the scene-stealing Monty Woolley) but overall it is a painful misfire. After this ball was over, I could feel nothing but relief and astonishment that I had actually made it through without turning it off.