16 October 2005 | boblipton
Musical Film Noir?
This is a pleasant musical programmer from Fox in 1948, directed by old hand Lloyd Bacon. Dan Dailey does some nice hoofing, Charles Winninger does his patented Old Time Entertainer bit, Barbara Lawrence knocks your eyes out in another small role and makes you wonder why she didn't have a major career. Fay Bainter plays the mother and Charlie Ruggles is on hand for no particular reason, but he's always welcome. And if it weren't for the air of post-war anomie that covers this production like a wet blanket, it wouldn't be anything. Pardon me while I take a few minutes of your time to make a major thesis about a minor movie.
Consider: Winninger and Bainter are ex-vaudevillians. He has a good job with some appliance company in New Jersey, they live a decent life, but he is waiting for vaudeville to come back. He has trained all his children for the act and the movie concerns itself with the various members of his family going their own ways. One girl gets married and almost disinherited. The second falls in love. That leaves Dan Dailey. When a spot in a Broadway show falls through, Dan decides to accept that scholarship to MIT and to play baseball (!) At this point, Sig Rumann shows up with an offer of sixteen weeks in Denver....
The constant disillusionment is, of course, assuaged by the brightness of the production. But in the end, Winninger is left, seemingly happy with his role as a newly promoted vice president of an appliance company. But is he? What is this but the flip side of film noir?