Friday, July 2, 2010
Four Jacks and a Jill (1942) Jack Hively
This is not a great movie but it has its funny moments and several good musical numbers. The plot clips right along (try to keep up) and doesn’t always make much sense but it doesn’t matter.
The four musicians banter amongst themselves and if you are listening, you’ll be amused. Eddie Foy Jr, is one of the “Jacks” and has his share of comedic moments (dancing with Bolger in “Boogie Woogie Conga”) but Ray Bolger has the best scene in which he does a prize fighter dance routine - it’s worth watching the movie just for this segment. He also dances his way through “I’m in Good Shape” and you will appreciate his talent.
Jack Durant plays a caricature of a hoodlum, brow beaten only by June Havoc (yes, of “Gypsy” fame), in her first starring film role. Her musical number is “I Haven’t a Thing to Wear” and she performs it very well. She’s funny. Desi Arnez plays a dual role and is entertaining as well. Anne Shirley is her usual sweet self, ably dubbed by Martha Mears. In an interesting tie-in, both Havoc and Shirley were pushed into careers at a young age by their mothers. Shirley retired from film at age 26 (1944) and already had a 20-year film career. This role was Havoc’s first major film and she continued acting sporadically into the 1980s. Also watch for Henry Daniell and Fritz Feld as they display their comic abilities.
Soundtrack titles are by Harry Revel and Mort Greene with “The Boogie Woogie Conga” being a highlight. Musical numbers are fun, dialogue has some witty patter, the plot is weak, and the movie is short. Watch it for the highlights.
“She’s a vulture for culture.” “Pardon me while I cop a nod.”