Martin Teller's Movie Reviews

I watch movies, I write some crap

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Advertisements

Thousands Cheer

Posted by martinteller on May 11, 2013

Kathryn Jones (Kathryn Grayson) is leaving a successful singing career.  She’s joining her father, Colonel Bill Jones (John Boles), at the army base to entertain the troops.  Her parents have split up and she’s been trying to get her father back together with her mother (Mary Astor), to no avail.  And then she stumbles on a romance of her own… she meets Private Eddie Marsh (Gene Kelly).  Eddie is an acrobat — excuse me, aerialist — who’s unhappy in the army and would rather be in the air corps.  He cozies up to Kathryn to try to get a transfer out of her father, but they both end up falling in love.  Now Eddie has to prove to the Colonel that he’s enough of a soldier for his daughter, and Kathryn has a big show to put on for the boys.

When I saw the MGM musical highlight film That’s Entertainment! at the end of 2011, I made a note of nine movies featured that I wanted to see.  This is the last of those.  And in this case, last is unfortunately least.  Let’s start with the leads.  Grayson is certainly adorable and seems charming enough… except when she sings.  She does that Jeanette McDonald thing with the phony baloney vibrato that’s like nails on a chalkboard.  I can’t stand that stuff.  Kelly is fun as usual, but he only gets one dance!  It’s a fantastic, delightful solo dance with a mop and a broom and other things, but… just one?  I feel cheated.

The story is fine enough for what it is, a fluffy romance with obstacles we know will be overcome.  Nothing great, but watchable.  However, almost the entire second half of the film is given over to the variety show.  Clearly the selling point of the picture, it’s a cavalcade of stars including Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Ann Sothern, Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Harry Morgan, Virginia O’Brien, Lena Horne, Donna Reed, Eleanor Powell, Marsha Hunt and June Allyson.  The problem is, none of it is that great.  Highlights are Horne’s “Honeysuckle Rose” (the clip included in That’s Entertainment!), Powell’s tap dance, and the bizarro stylings of Virginia O’Brien (known as “Miss Deadpan”).  The rest of it is made up of forgettable songs and lame skits.  Red Skelton is just as painfully unfunny here as he was in Ziegfeld Follies.  Rooney’s emceeing is blah.  The whole show concludes with a trapeze act featuring Eddie (obviously using a stand-in for Kelly) and his circus family, where Eddie ham-handedly and unconvincingly learns the value of teamwork.

A very uninspired bit of “Go troops!” propaganda with few memorable moments.  The Technicolor is wasted on such a visually bland film, the humor only hits about 30% of the time, and the romance is paint-by-numbers.  Kind of worth it for that Kelly dance, though.  Rating: Poor (51)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: