(1943) When I first started watching WWII movies I focused on the serious action stories and skipped the musicals. No more! This film came out at the height of the war, when America and our fighting men and women needed a morale booster, and that was the whole idea. In addition, according to the New York Times Review, the War Bond premiere raised $534,000 when it opened at the Astor.
The first half of the movie focuses on the characters played by Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly. The story line was cute. Their musical numbers, hers opera and his dancing of course, were wonderful. This was one of Gene Kelly’s early movies and featured his famous “Dancing with a Mop” routine. He was the best.
Then in the second half MGM brought the “MGM Star Parade.” Dancers, singers, comedians, unbelievable. Mickey Rooney hosted a variety show with everybody in it. Judy Garland, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Lena Horne, Eleanor Powell, Donna Reed, Ann Sothern, and many more. There were three or four orchestras/big bands. I was introduced to a conductor I hadn’t known, José Iturbi, Spanish conductor and pianist. This was his first appearance on the screen.