This program is part of a series that chronicles the exuberant era in American music when Swing was King and the Big Bands that played it were the toast of the town. This episode is a compilation of obscure musical shorts, which played in movie theaters before the feature presentations. The short movies feature future stars who were unknown at the time, such as Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, and Ethel Merman. Their entertaining performances have a reprise in this documentary. ...
This program is part of a series that chronicles the exuberant era in American music when Swing was King and the Big Bands that played it were the toast of the town. This episode is a compilation of obscure musical shorts, which played in movie theaters before the feature presentations. The short movies feature future stars who were unknown at the time, such as Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, and Ethel Merman. Their entertaining performances have a reprise in this documentary.
Boasting an enviable roster of figures -- including Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, Ginger Rogers, Artie Shaw, Ethel Merman, Tallulah Bankhead, Maurice Chevalier, and Jeanette MacDonald -- Hollywood Rhythm, Vol. 2: The Best of Big Band and Swing is a lighter, no less entertaining companion to Vol. 1: The Best of Jazz and Blues. While the first volume presented musical geniuses Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, the second installment digs into the Paramount studio vaults and emerges with tuneful snapshots of stars, mostly before they made it big. Exceptions are made only for the strongest harmonic innovators, Crosby and Shaw, whose short films catch them at their creative peak. In a fitting tribute to his stature as the greatest pre-Elvis American vocal influence, Der Bingle opens and closes the disc with Blue of the Night 1933 and Dream House 1932, respectively. Blue showcases Crosby's warm, spontaneous balladeer style in an informal, Jazz Age setting while he croons four songs, including his signature "Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day." Dream House shows him getting hot, riffing on "When I Take My Sugar to Tea" while infiltrating a Hollywood studio in order to win back his sweetheart. This is a friskier and sexier Bing than ever appeared in those nutty Road movies. Shaw's film, Class in Swing 1939 is a mock-instructional movie where the mercurial clarinetist and his band play white-hot syncopated stuff like "Mysterioso" as a newsreel voice deconstructs "gutbucket" orchestration. Aside from the Crosby and Shaw shorts, little else in the main program is hot or swinging, in jazz terms indeed this mistitled collection contains 1930-1933 material that predates the official Big Band-Swing era by a few years. But the collection perks up when one forwards ahead to the DVD's bonus tracks. These are terrific, particularly the spooky performance by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys of "I'm Sitting on Top of the World," and a version of "Used to Be You" by Ginger Rogers and Jack Oakie that revels in its suggestive pre-Code possibilities. Finally, the Boswell Sisters' soulful, exuberant harmony on "Heebie Jeebies" is simply killer. Connie Boswell's vocal swells are so stirring that one wonders why anyone ever bought an Andrews Sisters record.
Side #1 --
1. Blue of the Night: "My Silent Love" Opening Titles
2. "Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear" Bing Crosby
3. "Ev'ry Time My Heart Beats" Bing Crosby
4. "Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day" Bing Crosby
5. The Musical Doctor: Opening Titles
6. "Keep a Little Song Handy" Rudy Vallee
7. The Doctor's Prescription Rudy Vallee
8. "Missin' All the Kissin' (From My Alabammy Mammy)" Rudy Vallee Orch.
9. "Mammy" Rudy Vallee
10. "Keep a Little Song Handy" (Reprise) Rudy Vallee
11. Singapore Sue: Opening Titles
12. "Open Up Those Eyes" Pickard's Chinese Syncopators
13. "How Can a Girl Say No?" Anna Chang
14. "Open Up Those Eyes" (Reprise) Pickard's Chinese Syncopators
15. Office Blues: Opening Titles
16. "(I See Where) We Can't Get Along" Ginger Rogers
17. "Dear Sir" Ginger Rogers
18. Artie Shaw's Class in Swing: "Nightmare" Opening Titles
19. "Fee Wheeling" Artie Shaw Orch.
20. "I Have Eyes" Artie Shaw Orch.
21. "Shoot the Likker to Me, John Boy" Artie Shaw Orch.
22. Her Future: Opening Titles
23. "My Future Just Passed" Ethel Merman
24. "Sing You Sinners" Ethel Merman
25. A Lesson in Love: Opening Titles
26. "I Love Myself Because You Love Me" Helen Kane
27. Favorite Melodies: "My Mother's Eyes" Opening Titles
28. "That's Him Now" Ruth Etting
29. Meet the Boyfriend: "We've Got 'It' But 'It' Don't Do Us No Good" Opening Titles
30. "Sort of Lonesome" Lilliam Roth
31. "Me and the Boyfriend (Jimmy and Me)" Lillian Roth
32. Dram House: "When I Take My Sugar To Tea" Opening Titles
33. "It Must Be True" Bing Crosby
34. "Dream House" Bing Crosby
Side #1 --
Select a Song
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys "Sittin' on Top of the World
Ginger Rogers and Jack Oakie "Used to Be You"
Tallulah Bankhead "It Had to Be That Way"
Kate Smith "Here Lies Love"
Jeanette MacDonald "Love Me Tonight"
Maurice Chevalier "Louise"
The Boswell Sisters "Heebie Jeebies"