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USA 1943
Directed by
Busby Berkeley
117 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Gang's All Here

Busby Berkeley is best known as the very distinctive choreographer of the Gold Diggers series of musicals in the 30s so it is little surprise that this, his first Technicolor musical on which his studio, 20th Century Fox, gave him complete directorial control, is a marvel of over-the-top production numbers.

In what is a wartime flag-waver, Alice Faye stars as an All-American showgirl who catches the eye of All-American serviceman, played by James Ellison. No need to worry about the plot however as in typical fashion it’s simply a pretext for song and dance. Whilst the film's opening is a marvellous piece of artifice, the two big production numbers are "The Lady In The Tutti Frutti Hat" with Carmen Miranda supported by a chorus with giant bananas and the closer, "The Polka Dot Polka" which eventually segues into kaleidoscopic abstractions.

Benny Goodman and his band have a feature role with Goodman singing a nattly little number: with the line "Paducah, Paducah, if ya wanna you can rhyme it with bazooka". If you like your musicals fruitily over-the-top you won't be disappointed by the The Gang's All Here.




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