LULLABY OF BROADWAY
(director: David Butler; screenwriter: Earl Baldwin; cinematographer: Wilfrid M. Cline; editor: Irene Morra; music: Howard Jackson; cast: Doris Day (Melinda Howard), Gene Nelson (Tom Farnham), S.Z. Sakall (Adolph Hubbell), Billy De Wolfe (Lefty Mack), Gladys George (Jessica Howard), Florence Bates (Mrs. Anna Hubbell), Anne Triola (Gloria Davis), Hanley Stafford (George Ferndel – Producer), Page Cavanaugh Trio (Themselves), Carlo De Mattiazzi (Dance Specialty); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Jacobs; Warner Bros.; 1951)
“A lively fluff musical romantic comedy filled with old reliable songs.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A lively fluff musical romantic comedy filled with old reliable songs such as “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” “Somebody Loves Me,” “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone,” “In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town,” and “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart.” They are by composers like Buddy de Sylva, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harry Warren, and Al Dubin. Shirley Temple helmer David Butler(“Bright Eyes”/”Seventh Heaven”/”Captain January”) replaces Shirley with adult Hollywood icon singer Doris Day, who sings the title song. Butler for his effort in this lightweight story could take pride in proficiently directing a well-produced likable film, having it in sensational Technicolor and fortunately has screenwriter Earl Baldwin to provide some comic situations between songs since there’s not much of a plot.
Singer Melinda Howard (Doris Day) sails from England to visit in NYC her mom Jessica (Gladys George), a former Broadway star whose career she doesn’t know faded to singing in Greenwich Village dives because of booze. Melinda performs on the ship for Broadway star Tom Farnham (Gene Nelson), whom she fails to recognize. Tom flirts with Melinda, but doesn’t get to first base. In NYC Melinda’s mom is supposedly living in a mansion. But in fact it belongs to mom’s millionaire brewer friend Adolph Hubbell (S.Z. Sakall) and his wife Anna (Florence Bates). Melinda is befriended by the butler Lefty Mack (Billy De Wolfe) and his fiancée, the maid Gloria Davis (Anne Triola)–a hard luck vaudeville team, who are good friends with Jessica. They lie and tell Melinda that Jessica rented the house to the Hubbells while she’s on tour. When Melinda tells the servant couple she’s broke, they put her up in the servant quarters.
The Hubbells give a party for Broadway big-time producer George Ferndel (Hanley Stafford), who brings Tom to entertain them with a song (his voice is dubbed) and dance routine. The idea is to get Adolph to back his new Broadway show. Adolph will agree only if he can cast the show. But Jessica, who Adolph is doing the favor for, is a no show, as she has been hospitalized with delirium tremens. This gives Melinds a shot at launching her Broadway career as her replacement.
REVIEWED ON 8/26/2014 GRADE: B-