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

Thursday, April 14, 2011


TROCADERO (1944). Director: William Nigh.

This musical purports to tell the true post-prohibition story behind the famous Trocadero nightclub, making the owner of a humble restaurant a man named Tony Rocadero (Charles Calvert), who has adopted a girl, Judy (Rosemary Lane) and a boy named Johnny (Johnny Downs) before he promptly expires after getting hit by a car. Johnny goes off to war while Judy, with the help of manager Sam Wallace (Ralph Morgan), runs the restaurant, which is eventually changed from "Tony Rocadero's" to the snazzier "Trocadero." Both siblings have romantic problems: Judy is pursued with equal fervor by agent Mickey Jones (Sheldon Leonard) and swing bandleader Spike Nelson (Dick Purcell), while Johnny is engaged to a very snooty gal named Marge (Marjorie Manners), who is embarrassed by what he does for a living. The actors are all very pleasant and professional but what puts this movie over is the music and dancing. Highlights include Downs demonstrating his awesome tap-dancing ability to a crowd of Marge's relatives, and Lane's lovely rendition of the fine ballad, "Trying to Forget." There are other bouncy numbers and the whole production is cheerfully entertaining if borderline dumb.

Verdict: If you dig the music of the era ... ***.

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