Hawaii Calls

2142. HAWAII CALLS (1938-usa). WITH bobby breen, ned sparks, warren huu, Gloria HOLDEN, WARD BOND. This engaging musical drama serves as a showcase for Bobby Breen, popÂular pre-teen singing star who appeared on screen between 1936 and 1942. He stars as Billy Coulter, an orphan who has befriended a Hawaiian lad named Pua. The pair become stowaways aboard a ship headed from San Francisco to Hawaii, where Pua wishes to rejoin his family. Also on board is U.S. Navy Commander Milburn, who is carrying top-secret papers which “are important for the new defense ideas they contain and valuable for the safety Of the Hawaiian islands.” The scenario involves Billy’s efforts to elude the authorities and remain with Pua’s clan, as well as his involvement in thwartÂing a scheme in which foreign spies plot to pilfer the commander’s plans. Breen sings throughout, and his voice is lilting and refreshing, Ned Sparks adds to the fun as Strings, an eccentric songwriter whom befriends the boys aboard ship and becomes involved in their shenanigans on the islands. Plus there is the scenarios bitter irony, if you keep in mind the events which took place in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. 63 minutes. Musical

Eternal Waltz

2085. ETERNAL WALTZ (1955-Austria-Cermany). With BERNHARD WICKI, GERT FROBE. A lush and literate biography of the fabled Austrian composer Johann Strauss, who is best-known for writing some of music’s most beloved waltzes. The film highlights two aspects of the composer’s life. First and foremost is his music, which despite an occasional critical failure allows him to attain extraordinary fame. Secondly there is the manner in which he responds to that fame. Strauss is depicted as a dashing bon vivant with a roving eye for the ladies, who maul him as if he were a rock star. Beautiful opera singers aspire to perform his music for him. Even though he is married, he becomes involved romantically with various desirable women. So in more ways than one, Strauss’ prominence allows him to “play the world over.” The soundtrack of this most satisfying biography is from beginning to end a smorgasbord of Strauss waltzes and excerpts from his operettas, all of which are magnificently performed. This is a black and white print of a film originally released in color. Dubbed in English. 99 minutes. Musical Biopic

Shamrock Hill

2088. SHAMROCK HILL (1949-usa). WITH peggy ryan, ray Mcdonald, trudy marshall, JOHN LITEL. Shamrock Hill is a very special place that exists almost everywhere. It is a place for people who believe in wishing wells and magic spells, where they can go to enjoy nature or indulge in their sweet fantasies. One particular Shamrock Hill is the focal point Of this congenial musical. A spunky and dreamy Irish lass named Eileen Rogan regularly goes there to sit and tell fairy stories to the local children, allowing them to “see things, magical things.” Eileen also believes in lepÂrechauns. As she passes her time atop Shamrock Hill, she actually sees them. So does the viewer. However, the other characters in the story do not. Trouble comes when a powerful and cynical businessman attempts to purchase Shamrock Hill, which is owned by the local municipality, to use as a site for the construction Of a television station. To the business magnate and his manipulative daughter, Eileen is just “a little nobody from across the tracks.” Nevertheless, our heroine is deterÂmined to thwart those plans. Along the way she becomes convinced that she will receive some speÂcial help from some very special little people. You don’t have to be Irish to love this sweet-natured film filled with good spirits and happy feelings. 62 minutes. Musical

Sing While You’re Able

2089. SING WHILE YOU’RE ABLE (1937-usa). WITH pinky tomun, toby wing. TOY company mogul C.W, Williams sponsors a radio show that is so hokey and out Of touch with its lisÂteners that his sales are dropping with every broadcast. So how do C.W. and flighty society gal daughter Joan respond to this crisis? Why, they go fishing. This brings them to the backwaters Of Arkansas where they come upon Whitey Morgan, a hillbilly with a set Of pipes that will make him the envy Of Bing Crosby. G.W. and daughter promptly sign Whitey to a contract and bring him to the Big City. Whitey is a green as a pea. You won’t believe the suit he wears as he leaves home. You won’t believe the car he drives. You won’t believe his relatives, beginning with his three lanky and bearded cousins. Upon his introduction to urban America, Joan Williams callously manipulates Whitey into escorting her around town in order to avoid a persistent suitor. Then a pair Of black Âguards attempt to derail his career before it can begin. Others simply laugh him Off as a hick from the stix. In the end, you can be certain that Whitey will triumph both prOfessionally and romanticalÂly as his sincerity and down-home values rub Off on the city folk. WhiteyÕs “audition” for a blustery talent agent is among the comic highlights. 65 minutes. Musical Comedy

Duke Is Tops, The

2015. THE DUKE IS TOPS (1938-USA). With RALPH COOPER, LENA HORNE. This delightful independently produced all-black-cast musical drama is the motion picture debut of Lena Home. She was all of 21 years-old when cast in the film, but already was a veteran nightclub singer who began her career in the chorus of Harlem’s famed Cotton Club. Home made the film prior to her becoming the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio. She displays a genuine and refreshing a quality in her role as Ethel Andrews, the “bronze nightingale” and star of “Sepia Scandals,” a musical revue touring the stix. Her producer and mentor is Duke Davis, who abandoned a promising career of his own to work with Ethel and push her ahead. Duke and Ethel are in love and he beams with pride as she performs on stage. Their relationship hits a crossroads when a talent agent observes that Ethel is a sure shot for the big time. Only problem is, she will have to go solo. Other plot complications and misunderstandings follow, leading to a most satisfying happy endÂing. Cast in the role of Duke is Ralph Cooper, a former bandleader known to black movie audiences “The Bronze Bogart.” Cooper is a handsome and talented actor who may perhaps have found starÂdom as a Hollywood leading man. However, he was a Negro at a time when blacks in Hollywood films were ghettoized in roles as dimwitted janitors or overweight mammies. What makes black indeÂpendents so special is that they allowed black performers to play a variety of non-stereotypical roles as heroes and heavies, heroines and femme fatales. They also were an outlet for the distinctive abilities of black musical performers. The film is crammed with obscure but nonetheless extremely appealing specialty acts (including THE BASIN STREET BOYS, THE HARLEMANIA ORCHESTRA and, most memorably, an amazing dancer named RUBBER NECK HOLMES). 76 minutes. Musical

Manhattan Merry-Go-Round

2017. MANHATTAN MERRY-GO-ROUND (1938-USA). With PHIL REGAN, LEO CARRILLO, ANN DVORAK, JAMES GLEASON, TED LEWIS and HIS ORCHESTRA, CAS CALLOWAY and HIS COTTON CLUB ORCHESTRA, JOE DIMAGGIO, KAY THOMPSON, HENRY ARMETTA, LOUIS PRIMA and HIS BAND, GENE AUTRY. A genuinely once-in-a-lifetime cast makes this musical comedy a real treat. It’s based on the hit radio show heard coast to coast from 1932 to 1949. Leo Carrillo is amusingly cast as Gordoni, a gangster who constantly and humorously fractures the English language. The fun begins when Gordoni and his band Of Runyonesqus hoods take over a record company. Its star attraction has been crooner Jerry Hart (Phil Regan, radios famed “Singing Policeman”). Hart is a girl- chasing heartthrob known as “Kid Romance.” However, he truly loves company secretary Ann- Rogers, and the pair plan to wed. Complications arise when Gordoni orders Hart to abandon Ann at the altar and to charm a famous but temperamental opera star into agreeing to record. Along the way, Gordoni and his boys lasso some top-notch real-life talent to make records for them. Included here are song-and-dance man Ted Leis, author-actress-singer Kay Thompson, hi-de-ho bandleader Cab Calloway and singing cowboy Gene Autry. Each sparkles while performing trade- mark-style musical numbers, with the Calloway sequence a standout. James. Gleason is especially good as tough-guy underling “Danny The Duck,” who speaks perfect Brooklynese. The there is a cameo appearance by a young New York Yankees’ centerfielder named Joe diMaggio, who does a cute comical bit with Henry Armetta. 87 minutes. Musical

Harvest Melody

2051. HARVEST MELODY (1943-usa). WITH rosemary lane, johnny downs, Sheldon LEONARD. You’ll be snapping your fingers and laughing out loud from the opening moments Of this tune-filled comedy-musical. It is the story Of glamorous Gilda Parker, once a great motion picÂture star. Gilda’s contract with Zenith Studios has expired and she is confidently expecting a 20 perÂcent pay hike. However, her past three pictures have disappointed at the box Office. Her popularity has faded. She is “simply not in the running anymore” and so the studio unceremoniously drops her contract. Gilda’s usually inept press agent instigates a clever scheme which is sure to result in her renewed fame. He transports Gilda and other celluloid luminaries with career troubles to Shady Acres, a rustic community whose farmers are desperately short Of hands. The Hollywood elite will milk cows and bale hay while Gilda will commence wooing a sweetly naive young farmer. All Of this results in gossip journalists reporting Gilda’s “love affair” and newspapers printing such headÂlines as “Farm Aid Movement Popularized by Film Star Gilda Parker.” “Help the Farm” clubs sprout up across America. Gilda becomes the most talked-about woman in the nation and it is a cinch that her career wilt be bigger than ever. In spite Of all this, you can bet the milk money that there will a barnyard full Of complications, romantic and otherwise. 67 minutes. Musical

Tales From Vienna Woods

1868. TALES FROM VIENNA WOODS (1937-Ausiria). With MAGDA SCHNEIDEr, WOLF ALBACH-RETTY, LEO SLEZAK. Here is a tune-filled musical romance featuring a snappy soundtrack loaded with music by JOHANN STRAUSS, performed by a talented cast accompanied by the famed VIENNA PHILHARMONIST ORCHESTRA. The story concerns a singing auto mechanic named Graf Rudi Waldheim, who learns that he has inherited a castle. He arrives at what he assumes will be his new home only to discover that it is anything but plush or regal. Rather, it is decaying, with loose doorknobs galore and furniture that literally is falling apart. The castle is also heavily mortgaged, and Waldheim is told that he had best put the property up for sale. Enter a pair of pretty young women, each of whom is not what she seems. The first is Millie Shelfers, a journalist with a working class background, who is posing as a rich girl; the Second is Mary Limford, daughter of a wealthy American manufacturer, who is traveling incognito. The resulting confusion and romantic entangleÂments make for a most charming entertainment. Leo Slezak, father of Walter and an admired operatic tenor and character comedian, steals the film in a major supporting role. He plays a character called Alois Jeremias Schopf, who serves as Waldheim’s trusted companion and advisor. Plus, the film is crammed with lovely panoramas of pre-World War II Vienna, a city described as being “lovelier than Paris or Rome.” In German with English subtitles. 82 minutes. Musical

With Love And Kisses

1874. WITH LOVE AND KISSES (1937-USA). WITH pinky tomlin, toby wing, kane RICHMOND, ARTHUR HOUSEMAN, FUZZY KNIGHT. Pinky Tomlin, composer-comedy star who enjoyed a movie career during the 1930’s and early 40’s, headlines this folksy, entertaining diversion. He plays Homer “Spec” Higgens, an Arkansas farmer and all-around country bumpkin who’s a genius at penning hit tunes. However, he only can write his songs in the presence Of his inspiration: Minnie, his cow! It seems that Homer has concocted an especially clever ditty, one which is sure to make him a fortune. He has sent the tune to Don Gray, a popular radio singer, and is crestfallen when the crooner performs it on his show but claims that it’s his own composition. Homer heads to New York, where he’s determined to confront the devious singer. Once in the Big Town, he mixes wilh a diverse assortment Of characters: Flash Henderson, as Gray’s meddlesome publicist; Barbara Holbrook, a pretty nightclub singer-recording star; Gilbert, her constantly soused lawyer brother who undergoes some humorous memory lapses (and is played in picture-stealing style by Arthur Houseman); and finally. Draper, a cutthroat racketeer who’s decided to start a music publishing comÂpany using Homer’s song as its cornerstone. Look for a young Morey Amsterdam in the credits, you won’t see him on the screen! 64 minutes. Musical

Mimi

1439. MIMI (1935-England). With GERTRUDE LAWRENCE, DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS JR. A liberal adaptation of Puccini’s “La Boheme.” An enjoyable musical with the one and only Miss Lawrence. 61 minutes. Musical