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

Thursday, May 22, 2014


CAROLINA BLUES (1944). Director: Leigh Jason.

"Is he dying of something serious?"

The irrepressible band leader Kay Kyser, playing himself, is back in another musical comedy and he's got Ish Kabibble and Ann Miller to play around with! The plot, such as it is, has Kay promising his band and singers a vacation but always discovering that there's another wartime commitment. Finally he resorts to pretending he's dying [a somewhat tasteless sub-plot] so that the gang will come back and perform. Another complication has it that Kay's favorite singer, the real Georgia Carroll, is going off to get married, and he's resistant to the idea of hiring Julie (Ann Miller), the daughter of supposedly wealthy Phineas Carver (Victor Moore), to replace her. [In real life Carroll married Kay Kyser!] Victor Moore not only plays Phineas but also all of his relatives, male and female, and there's a funny bit when we meet Ish Kabibble's family and all of them, including the dog, have the same bowl-over-the-head haircut. Kyser is likable and adept enough, Miller is enthusiastic and perky, the assorted singers and dancers are swell, the tunes are bouncy, and Moore [It Happened on Fifth Avenue] and Kabibble provide some laughs. What more could you ask for? Well ... Kyser and Kabibble were also in Around the World. Jason also directed Three Girls About Town and others.

Verdict: Amiable nonsense with music and a pleasant cast. ***.

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