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

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Kay Kyser and Joan Davis
AROUND THE WORLD (1943). Director: Allan Dwan.

"He can't be real. He must be propaganda." --Marcy McGuire

"I wish he wouldn't be so proper and would take a gander at me." -- Joan Davis.

Bandleader Kay Kyser, playing himself, leads a troupe of musicians and entertainers on a world-wide tour to entertain the troops, going everywhere from Australia and India to China and Egypt. In Australia the group picks up a girl named Marcy McGuire (also playing herself in her second film after Seven Days Ashore), who wants to join them so badly that she stowaways on their plane. Also playing themselves are Mischa Auer, Joan Davis, and singer Harry Babbitt, who at one point sings for some reason in a little girl voice [weird]. But then Auer plays piano with two grapefruits at one point, which is equally weird. Robert Armstrong of King Kong shows up late in the film as a general who gives Marcy very bad news in the film's surprisingly downbeat conclusion. [It was as if these patriotic WW 2 movies such as this and Follow the Boys, being highly trivial, had to throw in some depressing business to let people know that the filmmakers were aware there was serious stuff, such as death, going on, but it sort of defeats the purpose of providing escapism from tragedy. What makes it more odd is that McGuire was a real person, but we can't assume she actually suffered a personal loss.] Also in the cast is the bizarre "Ish Kabibble" [AKA M. A. Bogue] who isn't very funny, while Joan Davis, as usual, is very funny indeed playing her usual frustrated man-chaser. Pleasant song numbers include "Candlelight and Wine" and "Great Things are in the Making." Barbara Hale of Perry Mason plays one of the chorus cuties. Amiable and easy to take. Kyser made a number of similar films in the forties.

Verdict: A swingin' time capsule with a highly amusing Joan Davis. ***

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