Boy! What a Girl! (1947) Poster

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The Kingfish in Drag! What a fine, funny film!
Sleepy-178 July 2002
Tim Moore was a comic genius who I presume got his start if vaudeville and later portrayed the Kingfish in Amos and Andy. In this flick he plays a transvestite without any of the corny moralistic excuses used in Doubtfire or Tootsie. As with most of these African-American films from the 40's, there's great music, beautiful women, outrageous comedy. Don't miss this one!
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Boy! What a Girl! should prove a fascinating find for fans of Tim "Kingfish" Moore
tavm17 July 2008
While Boy! What a Girl! is a silly race musical comedy from the late '40s, there's at least one noteworthy thing about it: It stars Tim Moore years before he became well known as George "Kingfish" Stevens on TV's "Amos 'n' Andy". This is his only film role playing a character since he had been a specialty act previously in maybe one or two movies. He's quite funny here in drag pretending to be Mme. Deborah Martin (really Sybil Lewis) in order to secure backing for a show whose co-backer, a Mr. Cummings (Alan Jackson), falls for the pretend Deborah. Also falling for him, er, her is landlord Donaldson (Warren Patterson). All three are a hoot to watch here. Mr. Jackson's daughters, Francine (Sheila Guyse) and Cristola (Betti Mays), are in love with the would-be producers, Jim Walton (Elwood Smith) and Harry Diggs (Duke Williams) and would only be allowed to marry them if the pretend Deborah approves. The real Deborah is watching the whole thing as well as several musical acts hoping to be incognito for a while. That's all I'll mention except that both the comedy and music segments keep the movie running at a breezy hour and 9 minutes. Among the entertaining song spots: Ms. Mays performing "Crazy riffin'", Slam Stewart singing with his trio "Oh Me, Oh My, Oh Gosh" (Slam's most famous composition is "Flat Foot Floogie" which was recently played in The English Patient), Deek Watson-who I previously watched in Abbott and Costello's Pardon My Sarong when he was one of The Ink Spots-doing "Just You Change Your Mind" and "Baby, You're the Cutest One" (His most famous composition is "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"), and drummer Sidney Catlett doing his thing before Gene Krupa-the only white cast member here-replaces him briefly. Anyone interested in a rare comedy find from the race movie era, Boy! What a Girl! is one worth looking for. P.S. In continuing to point out people associated with my birth state of Illinois, Mr. Moore was born in Rock Island, Mr. Catlett died in Chicago in 1951, and Mr. Krupa was born there in 1909.
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If Only
oxbridgeup8 February 2005
If this film had been made with Hope & Crosby in the leading roles it would probably be considered one of the all-time great comedies. Because the characters were Negro, it's been relegated to the hinterlands. For years it was in obscurity until TCM showed it a few years ago. I was lucky enough to tape it. However, it has now come out on DVD!! A place called deepdiscount something-or-other lists it.

I have seen (more than once) all the road films, as well as many of the comedies form the golden age of movies. Tis film can hold it's own with any of them. However, the viewer has to be able to disabuse himself of modern PC-like considerations and accept the film for what it was--- a race movie aimed a a target audience.
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Very low production values, but somehow kind of likable
MartinHafer23 June 2007
The fact that this movie is bargain basement quality is a real shame, but back in the 1940s, that was about the only type of film made for theaters catering to Black audiences due to segregation. So, while MGM, Warner and all the other big studios were making extremely polished films, tiny studios with shoestring budgets were left to muddle by with what they had. And from seeing this movie, it's obvious that a lot of energy went into making the film, even if it is a pretty lousy film aesthetically speaking. Some of the actors weren't particularly good (especially the French guy), the sets were minimal and the plot totally silly BUT the film also had some good music--of varying styles from Classical to Jazz to Rhythm and Blues. This is thanks to many talented but pretty much unrecognized Black performers.

Now as for the plot, it was totally stupid and silly but still watchable in a kitschy way. I loved seeing Tim Moore ("Kingfish" from the AMOS 'N ANDY TV show) in drag, as he made the absolute ugliest woman in cinema history (this includes the Bride of Frankenstein and many others)--this is probably due to the fact that when NOT in drag, he was a pretty ugly but funny guy. If the man pretending to be a woman actually looked remotely like a woman, I doubt this movie would have worked as well. Seeing this ugly and rubber-faced man with a cheesy wig STILL being ardently sought after by three suitors was pretty funny.

This isn't a great film but from a historical point of view, it's fascinating and excellent viewing for young adults to know what America was like for Blacks in this era. A very interesting and funny time capsule.
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Harmless dress up comedy in the style of Tootsie or Mr Doubtfire
dbborroughs20 September 2005
This is the story of a would be theatrical producer who somehow manages to arrange financing for a show despite barely having enough money for the rent. When one of the backers fails to show up one of the producer's friends is forced to pretend to be the missing backer so that the show can go on.

Low Key and Funny, with some great music, this is a wonderful movie just to plop down in front of when you don't want to think. While the plot has been done to death by Hollywood there is something about this pass through the well worn territory that keeps it interesting. Perhaps its the fact that other than the actor who played the Kingfish on TV's Amos and Andy we probably haven't seen most of these actors before so we have no notion as to what anyone might do.

Definitely worth a bag of popcorn and a cup of soda for a slow night before the tube.
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Tim Moore carried this movie with brilliant comedy.
BookerII31 July 1999
Tim Moore (1888-1958) was also in a film titled: "BLACKBIRDS OF 1929." He played George "Kingfish" Stevens on the Amos'n'Andy television show by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll. There were 75 episodes between 1951-1954, 60 of them survive. The showed was canceled in 1958 in some areas, but was shown on television in Charleston, South Carolina as late as 1963. Red Foxx liked the show and learned much of his comedy routine from Amos'n'Andy. Spencer Williams who played Andy was the first African-American to be a sound technician in motion pictures in 1928 and he acted in and directed many excellent all black cast and crew movies. Amos'n'Andy was the first show to depict African-Americans in roles other than servants, they were shown as policemen, judges, lawyers, doctors, but unfortunately this was the only t.v. programme that showed African-Americans and even though their comedy was tame compared to later black t.v. shows, it sometimes gave the wrong impression to European-Americans about African-Americans. This t.v. show is much discussed at California State University, Northridge's Pan-African Studies classes. I took classes in PAS and obtained a B.A. in Afro-American Studies and did essays on this and other t.v. programs and motion pictures with black casts. Gene Krupa the drummer also made a cameo appearance in this film.
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Pretty Good Race Film
boblipton23 October 2019
A couple of producers are trying to raise money to put on a show. This requires one of them, Tim Moore, to dress in drag. I'm not sure why this is necessary, but mature, fat, cigar-smoking Moore is quite funny in the role.

Like many race films -- the contemporary name for movies that featured Black actors -- this one is more notable for the specialty bits than the acting. The music is contemporary and well performed, and likewise the comedy bits. It's also noteworthy fo being well performed; the small audiences meant smaller production money, less rehearsal time, and an a need to let a "good enough" take go through. There's none of that here. While some of the performances are a bit stagey, they're more than good enough.

Tim Moore was an old trouper, about to retire. Three years later, AMOS AND ANDY was transferred from radio to TV, and Moore was talked out of retirement to play the Kingfish. This movie was reissued, with his name above the title.
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Entertaining Race Movie
Michael_Elliott28 February 2017
Boy! What a Girl! (1947)

*** (out of 4)

A couple low-level producers who can't even pay their rent are trying to raise enough funds to put on a show. They finally get a mysterious backer but when they think she has backed out they must try other means.

BOY! WHAT A GIRL! is a pretty typical race film from this era as it was done on an extremely low-budget and there's very little plot. Instead of any detailed plot, what we're basically given are a bunch of musical numbers and that there alone really makes this worth watching. In fact, I'd argue that the story itself was a tad bit better than you normally see and on the whole this was an entertaining picture.

One of the highlights of the picture is Tim "Kingfish" Moore who would go onto play in the television series Amon 'n Andy. Fans of that show will certainly enjoy this performance as the actor appears in drag and makes for some very funny scenes when he's on screen. I also liked all of the supporting players and found the performances to be much better than what you'd typically see in these race pictures. Both Alan Jackson and especially Warren Patterson were funny in their roles.

The music numbers were actually very good throughout. We got some good dance numbers as well as some terrific jazz and there's even a cameo by Gene Krupa himself. The film clocks in at just 70-minutes so it goes by extremely fast and there's no question that it's highly entertaining despite its budget.
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Interesting View
arfdawg-113 June 2014
Made when movie theatres were still segregated and black only movies were made.

It's an interesting look a the culture.

And it's great to see a movie where the black people don't all talk ghetto.

There isn't a strong story.

It basically is strung along with some musical performances.

But it's an interesting watch.

The Plot

Two small-time (aspiring to be big-time) producers are trying to convince a Chicago businessman to finance half of their show, while the other half is to be financed by a mysterious Mme. Deborah.

But when Madame Deborah is not on hand to meet the money-man from Chicago, an ex-prizefighter is dressed to pose as her.

Music and dancing provided by Deek Watson and His Brown Dots, 'Big' Sid Catlett and his band, and Ann Cornell and the International Jitterbugs. Drummer Gene Krupa has a drumming cameo.
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