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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ORCHESTRA WIVES (1942)

Ann Rutherford & George Montgomery are dull newlyweds in this otherwise bracing big-band on tour tuner. She’s a starstruck mid-West gal who impulsively marries his trumpet player man, then finds life on the road with a bunch of nosey, gossipy, jealous ‘orchestra wives’ too much to handle. They split, they get back together; the band splits, the band gets back together. Yet it’s all nicely packaged with snappy dialogue (one of the wives uses Noel Coward as an adjective), while Glenn Miller, The Modernaires, & Tex Beneke sound great. Hold on for a stupendous half reel as the Nicholas Bros take on ‘I Got A Gal In Kalamazoo’ (removable below the Mason/Dixon line). Archie Mayo shows more moxie than usual (lenser Lucien Ballard helps with some real townie atmosphere) and there are nice turns by Cesar Romero, and those youngsters, Jackie Gleason & Harry Morgan. Is that knock-out girl at the far end of the soda fountain an unbilled Ava Gardner? Hubba-hubba! They shoulda given her the lead.

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