3 July 2019 | boblipton
Anthony Mann Directs A Good, Cheap B Musical
Jane Withers has been trained by grandfather Frank Craven to be a vaudeville star, but vaudeville is dead, so they work in a drugstore on Broadway, where young kids waiting for their break hang out. Jimmy Lydon has written a show. He wants to sell it. It's at the office of astrology-mad George Cleveland, so they pull some razzle-dazzle on him.
The story and acting of this putting-on-a-show musical is all right, with some nice supporting roles by Franklin Pangborn and Fortunio Bonanova. Where it lives is in the three production numbers, particular a swing version of "Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider." The choreography is by Dave Gould, who did the big production numbers on some early Astaire & Rogers musicals. It's Anthony Mann's fourth outing as director, and while it's not his meat, he offers some good work, including some nice framing of the production numbers. He's still two or three years from directing the crime dramas that would finally put him on the map, and six years from his first Jimmy Stewart western, that would make him an A-list director. For the moment, he's one of the excellent B directors who can produce something interesting with a short budget and fading ex-child stars.