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Two producers are putting together a Calvacade of Stars for a wartime charity show. Along with a list of well-knowns they promote the work of an unknown singer and songwriter.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Each star was paid $50,000 ($747,000 in 2018) for their appearance in this film, which was then donated to The Hollywood Canteen, a club at 1451 Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood for servicemen and women. The club had food, dancing and entertainment, all for free. It was open from October 3, 1942 to November 22, 1945 and was founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield. The salaries, plus admissions to this film raised over $2M for the club. For a feature film about the club see Hollywood Canteen (1944). See more »
In one of the scenes where Eddie Cantor, dressed as an American Indian, is being chased by other men dressed as American Indians, the film negative has been flipped - you can see the signs on store windows are clearly backward/mirror images of what they are supposed to read. See more »
I am the world's biggest sucker for All Star Films and the genre was never better than during the World War II era, when all the major studios made at least one of them as a morale booster. They all involve getting the stars at the various studios to put on a show for the troops which they do, but with a few problems.
Producers of this show Edward Everett Horton and S.Z. Sakall would like to get Dinah Shore for their show. But she's under contract to Eddie Cantor. Today's moviegoers would not be aware of the fact that at the time Thank Your Lucky Stars was filmed, Dinah Shore was a regular on Eddie Cantor's radio show. And in fact he did have her under contract.
Cantor was also a man known to have a big ego and known for interfering with every aspect of production in film, stage, and radio. His character though in film was the meek little schnook who somehow triumphs over adversity.
Cantor may have had the ego, but he was also a big enough man to allow this public lampooning of his image. He plays two roles in this, as himself and as tour bus driver Joe Simpson who can't get a break because he looks like Eddie Cantor. In between all the musical numbers the plot is simply to have Cantor kidnapped and Joe Simpson to take his place so that Dennis Morgan can get some exposure. Of course there's a young love subplot involving hopefuls Morgan and Joan Leslie, but it doesn't interfere with a plot that's taken from The Man In the Iron Mask.
Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser wrote a nice score for this film and the big hit was a number talk/sung by Bette Davis, They're Either Too Young Or Too Old. This number was later done in the Jane Froman bio-film With A Song in My Heart with Susan Hayward lipsynching Jane Froman's record.
I also liked another number where a major Warner Brothers Star lampooned his image and had a jolly good time, singing That's What You Jolly Well Get. Errol Flynn was reported to have enjoyed himself immensely doing that very funny song.
Thank Your Lucky Stars is one of the most pleasant nostalgia trips to a bygone era of the studio system. You couldn't afford to pay all the stars in this film today if they were all free lance independent contractors today. It's why films like this can't be made again.
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