1 May 2011 | Michael_Elliott
Good Music Makes This Short
Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra (1942)
*** (out of 4)
Here's another Warner short from their New York office, which turned out countless one-reelers that were meant to show off musical talent. More times than not it was director Jean Negulesco turning these films out and while many would probably turn the other way from them today, fans of forgotten music will find these films to be highly entertaining. Glen Gray and dance band play four songs with each of them coming off extremely strong and worth watching. We kick things off with the 'Hep and Happy' which has the band leader doing a rather nice job at switching up the tempo from slow to fast and then back and forth. 'Purple Moonlight' is probably the best known out of the four songs and it too comes off extremely well. 'Broom Street' and 'The Darktown Strutters' Ball' are the final two numbers and the fast-paced tempo continues to grow throughout the four songs. This was the first time I had seen or heard Gray and for the most part I found his particular style to be pretty entertaining. I really enjoyed the way he kept changing the tempo where the song seems slow and drawn out but then the next second he kicks things into a feverish pace. There's some pretty good cinematography as well including the use of a trick mirror that has the director putting a couple band members in front of it but the mirror makes it seems as if there are dozens of people performing.