Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Fleet's In

The Fleet's In (1942) is a musical directed by Victor Schertzinger. The film stars Dorothy Lamour, William Holden, Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton, in her film debut.

Casey Kirby (William Holden) asks movie star Diana Golden (Betty Jane Rhodes) for an autograph for his little sister. Casey is tricked into a publicity kiss with Diana. Casey's shipmates immediately begin calling shy Casey a ladies man. The real ladies man of the ship, Jake (Leif Erickson) bets the other shipmates that Casey will not be able to kiss "The Countess" (Dorothy Lamour) on their next trip to San Fransico. Casey's buddy Barney (Eddie Bracken) gets in over his head in the bet and begs his friend Casey to go along with the bet.

When the ship docks in San Fransico, Barney takes Casey to The Countess's dance hall, Swingland. The Countess, who is renowned for her aloofness, brushes Barney and Casey off. However, her boss wants her to enterain a millionaire playboy. Casey becomes a pawn in The Coutness attempts to brush off the millionaire.

Meanwhile, singer Bessie Dale (Betty Hutton) is sweet on Barney.

The Countess becomes charmed by Casey despite herself, and she invites him into the hillside apartment she shares with Bessie Dale. Bessie returns the same night with Barney, and both couples pursue their flirtations until Barney mentions the bet to Bessie.

Bessie interrupts Casey and The Countess just as they are about to kiss and tells The Countess about the bet. Both Barney and Casey are thrown out of the apartment, but Casey soon realizes that he is sincerely in love with The Countess and buys an engagement ring. Bessie meanwhile reveals to The Countess a plan she heard from Barney, in which Casey will propose to her in order to get a kiss. When Casey does propose, the outraged Countess throws the ring out the window, but Casey explains his sincere intentions, and they retrieve the ring. But the Countess is still giving Casey the brush off.

That night during the show at Swingland, Casey tries to propose again while The Countess dances on a conga line. The club’s bouncers think he is drunk and wrestle him to the floor, and a brawl ensues involving all the visiting sailors. Casey is later brought to trial as the initiator of the brawl. He refuses to defend himself until The Countess strolls into the courtroom and helps Casey out. Casey is acquitted. Casey and the Countess are married as well as Barney and Bessie. At the dock, all the sailors witness Barney win his bet as Casey and The Countess finally kiss.

Although, the romance between Casey and the Countess is delightful, the true magic of this movie, is the various musical numbers performed at Swingland.

Betty Hutton is incredible in her musical numbers.

We are also treated to a delightful comic routine by Gil Lamb, who is nicknamed the rubber-limbed man, who does his most famous routine where he pretends to swallow a harmonica. Gil Lamb play Spike, a fellow sailor in the movie.

We are also treated to a performance by Cass Daley (as Cissie) who has a flair for zany comedy and eccentric off the wall singing and dancing.

A final treat is a performance by husband wife team Jean Lorraine and Roy Rogna, who
perform a comic ballroom dance act.

We are also treated to performances by Jimmy Dorsey and his band.

The score includes the popular hits "Tangerine", and "I Remember You". It also includes songs as "Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing in a Hurry," " If You Build a Better Mousetrap," "Not Mine,", "The Fleet's In," and "When You Hear the Time Signal."

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