Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


REDHEAD FROM MANHATTAN (1943). Director: Lew Landers.

The delightful Lupe Velez from the Mexican Spitfire series plays dual roles in this fairly amusing musical: Rita, whose boat is sunk as she reaches New York; and her identical cousin Maria, who is now known as Broadway star Elaine Manners. Maria has hid her marriage and pregnancy from the boss because he doesn't hire married women, so lookalike Rita's arrival is a godsend -- she can take Maria's place in the musical while the latter goes off to have her baby. Complications include a lover boy (Gerald Mohr from Angry Red Planet) who wants to marry Elaine, and a saxophonist named Jimmy (Michael Duane), who was on the same boat as Rita. [This whole business with the boat torpedoed, sunk, or whatever is sort of glossed over.] Velez is excellent in two roles, making them reasonably distinct, and shines in her snappy production numbers which feature some lively songs. In his second film Michael Duane is good-looking but betrays little real acting ability; still he amassed a few more credits up until 1948. Lewis Wilson, the first actor to play Batman, is cast as Elaine's husband. Shirley Patterson,/Shawn Smith --who was also in the Batman serial with Wilson --  is a switchboard operator. This was released by Columbia on the Port Pictures label.

Verdict: If you enjoy Velez, you may get a kick out of this. **1/2.

No comments: