Boys Town


Hard to believe I had never seen this movie.  Spencer Tracy plays real life Father Flanagan, who starts a school for homeless boys outside of Omaha, Nebraska.  Mickey Rooney is the toughest kid he's ever had to reform.  The movie was nominated for Best Picture and Tracy won Best Actor for this role.

I liked this movie but it was incredibly clichéd.  This is probably unfair because I'm sure it is the source of many clichés.  The real Boys Town is still going strong.  My brother probably already knows that it is the home of the World's Largest Ball of Stamps.  They also have a motto, "He ain't heavy, Father, he's m'brother", which was the inspiration of the hit song by the Hollies.  Neither the ball of stamps or the motto were in place in 1938.

Bank Holiday


Bank Holiday is a British film that tells the stories of various people traveling from London to spend a holiday weekend in the seaside town of Bexborough.  First is Catherine, a maternity nurse who has just had to break the news to Stephen that his wife died during childbirth.  She is going for an illicit romantic stay in a hotel with her boyfriend, Geoffrey.  Next is Doreen, going to compete in a beauty pageant, with friend Milly along for the trip.  Finally we follow working-class Arthur with his wife and three kids.  Catherine cannot get (understandably) morose Stephen out of her mind, and ends up greatly disappointing boyfriend Geoffrey.  Arthur spends all weekend ditching his wife and kids to go to the pub.  Doreen gives up her beauty pageant aspirations to console Geoffrey after Catherine returns to London early (to save Stephen from himself).



Sweethearts with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.  The operetta "Sweethearts" has been performing on Broadway for six years and still sells out every performance.  The biggest worry for producer Felix Lehman (Frank Morgan) is that he won't be able to hang on to his two stars, Gwen Marlowe (MacDonald) and Ernest Lane (Eddy).  Gwen and Ernest were married on the night of their first performance of "Sweethearts" and their marriage is as strong as the show.  They are very tired, however, of the radio broadcasts, charity performances, etc. scheduled by Felix and their showbiz relatives that eat up all their free time, and with the popularity of "Sweethearts" there is no end in sight.  When Hollywood comes calling, falsely promising lots of leisure time, they decide to quit the stage.  To prevent this, Felix and his writing team plot to cause a marital rift between Gwen and Ernest.  This works all too well and the two stars give up on Hollywood and perform in two separate road shows of "Sweethearts", each opposite the other's old understudy.  Eventually the truth outs and the couple reunites.

This film was in color!  It was the first all color feature for MGM, which was apparently the last major studio on the Technicolor bandwagon.  I found it quite distracting.  Also interesting was that Dorothy Parker co-wrote the screenplay.  "Sweethearts" was a real operetta by Victor Herbert, albeit from 1913, and most of the songs in the movie were actually from that show.

Familiar faces:  Ray Bolger (Scarecrow) has one song and dance number in wooden shoes.Gene and Kathleen Lockhart play two of the relatives.

Cool Times Square shot from the movie

Girls' School


At a boarding school for girls, scholarship student Natalie (Anne Shirley) is forced to snitch on popular girl Linda (Nan Grey) for staying out all night.  Linda's wealthy parents are summoned to the school and buy her out of expulsion with a promise to build a new library.  Linda's father meets and befriends Natalie, so he tries some shenanigans with identical corsages to build a friendship between the two girls.  His scheme backfires when Linda accuses Natalie of corsage theft.

Familiar faces: Natalie's beau is played by Noah Beery, Jr. (Rocky from "The Rockford Files"); Marjorie Main plays one of the teachers; and Ralph Bellamy is engaged to another teacher.

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