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Two producers are putting together a Calvacade of Stars for a wartime charity show. Along with a list of well-knowns they promote the work of an unknown singer and songwriter.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
In the scene where Conrad Wiedell takes Bette Davis and does a "Jitterbug" dance, she felt he was holding back in rehearsals, and told him to treat her like an experienced dance partner. When the cameras rolled, Wiedell--a national jitterbug champion hired specifically for this dance--pulled out all the stops and swung her around and she fell on her knee. As she finishes her song, you see her limping out of the nightclub set and leaning against a post, rubbing her knee. This was a real injury, but she finished the song despite the pain. When director David Butler asked Davis to "try it once more", she replied, "No! No! I said one take, and that was it." She then turned to the press who had shown up to watch her number, telling them "Show's over, gentlemen. Now get the hell out." See more »
In one of the scenes where Eddie Cantor, dressed as an American Indian, is being chased by other men dressed as American Indians, the film negative has been flipped - you can see the signs on store windows are clearly backward/mirror images of what they are supposed to read. See more »
There's enough bounce and energy in this Warner's showcase to light up a whole city. What great light entertainment for the boys overseas and folks on the homefront (after all, it's 1943). Eddie Cantor really comes through with the plot spark, racing around like the Energizer bunny, and playing dual roles (did they pay him double). Then there's handsome Dennis Morgan and all-American Joan Leslie making an attractive pair to hang the romantic hat on. And get a load of Bogart dropping his tough guy act if for just a moment, plus an off-key Garfield warbling, of all things.
No, the music is nothing to write home about, but the performers are an enthusiastic bunch, so who cares. There's drama queens Lupino and de Haviland as jive-talking hepcats (note they only dance "in place"), and, of course, Warner's reigning drama queen Bette Davis doing something or other in her inimitable style. But I especially like the Hattie McDaniel free-for-all that really does light up the screen. Apparently, however, someone decided to slow things down with Ann Sheridan's static number where the girls sit around like prom princesses. But at least we boys get to ogle them.
Too bad this rouser wasn't sent to Hitler and Tojo. They would have tossed in the towel immediately. Because it's obvious that no country with this kind of energy and dynamism could possibly lose a war. And, yes, it's still great unpolished entertainment, with what looks like a lot of people having a lot of fun.
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