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Formerly rich Mr. Drake is broke...with his household staff's wages seven months in arrears. Conniving valet Mike O'Brien hatches a scheme to pass off scullery maid Millie as Drake's debutante daughter and net a rich husband for the benefit of all. But all kinds of complications, romantic and otherwise, intervene...Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
First film for Frank Sinatra under a new seven-year contract at RKO that obligated him to make two pictures per year. However, he would only make one more film for the studio, Step Lively (1944) before moving to MGM. See more »
During the song "when it comes to love you're on your own" (c.62 minutes) the doorways have no panes of glass in them on the lower rows, as the house staff join in the song. See more »
Average little film with a small role for Sinatra, who's name made it a bigger film than it deserved to be
Cyrus Drake is a rich businessman who has had his staff of servants for many years a situation that is put a risk when bad investments bankrupt him and threaten to put his loyal staff on the street. To bring money back into the family again, the servants plan to marry off the youngest maid, Millie to a rich man. The staff all pick their roles to establish the ruse, while Millie starts being taught how to be a well educated debutante. However their plans are endangered when singer Frank Sinatra moves in next door and Millie tries to hide her affection for fellow servant Michael.
Billed as a Frank Sinatra film now, really this is a standard romance of the time, which features Frank in a small role as himself in order to get the teenage crowd in the doors (and they say cynical marketing at teens is a recent thing!). Ignoring this role the film is very much an ordinary piece of entertainment that was very much of the period a piece of fluff with a convoluted plot, musical numbers, misunderstandings and true love finding a way by the end. In this regard it is OK but quite average, with no real laughs, no significantly moving moments and nothing that really stands out. The script allows for enough to go on to keep the interest but it is all pretty thin and gradually slips into nothingness with only frequent and lively musical numbers serving to keep boredom at bay. The silly twist towards the end is a good example of how lazy the scriptwriters were basing their happy ending on the thinnest of plot devices.
The cast are mostly OK a mix of romantic parts and fast-talking characters. Sinatra didn't do that well playing himself and he looked uncomfortable like he had been forcibly inserted into the film and felt unwelcome. He got better with time but here he is pretty wooden. Morgan is likable as Millie and Haley enjoys himself with the sort of character that usually plays the sidekick as opposed to his lead role here. Support from Errol, Wickes and an early role from a beautiful Hale (best known as Della Street to my generation) are all good value and help the material appear more interesting and lively than it actually is.
Overall this is very much of its period and it is an average at that. Sinatra may not actually add much on screen but his name made it a bigger film than it could have been and ensures that it gets repeated on television quite often when others have been forgotten. As afternoon television filler it does the job but it is a wholly unremarkable film even with the presence of Sinatra and I imagine that, without his involvement that it would have long since been forgotten.
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