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Monday, 16 July 2012

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) - Star of the month... Olivia de Havilland

"The battle is on but the fortress will hold... they're either too young or too old" - Bette Davis (in 'Thank Your Lucky Stars')

'Thank Your Lucky Stars' is a 1943 star studded musical comedy directed by David Butler and starring Eddie Cantor, Joan Leslie, Dennis Morgan, S.Z. Sakall and Edward Everett Horton. It features a Cavalcade of Warner Bros. guest stars including Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Olivia de Havilland, Ida Lupino, John Garfield, Hattie McDaniel, Ann Sheridan, Dinah Shore and Alexis Smith.

The film was made by Warner Bros. as a World War II fundraiser, with all the stars donating their salaries to the Hollywood Canteen. The Hollywood Canteen was a club which operated from 1942-1945 offering free food, dancing and entertainment to servicemen and women. It was founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield, and many Hollywood stars donated their time volunteering there.

Theatre producers Farnsworth (played Horton) and Dr Schlenna (played by Sakall) are trying to secure Dinah Shore (playing herself) in an all-star musical they are staging. The issue they face is Eddie Cantor (also as himself), who is contracted to appear with Shore. Meanwhile aspiring singer Tommy Randolph (played by Morgan) and his songwriting girlfriend Pat Dixon (played by Leslie), are also trying to get into the show without much luck. Randolph and Dixon use their cab-driver friend Joe Simpson, who is a dead ringer for Eddie Cantor (also played by Cantor) to get in on the action.

S.Z. Sakall

Joan Leslie

Edward Everett Horton

Musical highlights

Song - "They're Either too Young or Too Old" - Bette Davis

Song - "The Dreamer" - Olivia de Havilland, Ida Lupino and George Tobias

Song - "Love Isn't Born (It's Made)" - Ann Sheridan

Song - "That's What You Jolly Well Get" - Errol Flynn

Song - "Blues In The Night" - John Garfield

Did you know...

  • Each of the guest stars were paid $50,000 to appear in the film, with all their salaries were donated to the Hollywood Canteen - salaries and ticket sales raised over $2,000,000 for the canteen
  • This was the film debut of Dinah Shore and Spike Jones & his City Slickers

Award nominations

  • Academy Award nomination - Best Original Song ("They're Either Too Young Or Too Old")

Closing remarks

This is possibly as good as Warner Bros got when it came to musicals in the 1940s.  I have great respect and admiration for the non-musical stars, such as Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn, who without a lot of musical talent who give singing and dancing (and really aren't that bad). 

S.Z. Sakall and Edward Everett Horton are fantastic as the theatre producers - in fact, I think Sakall is fantastic in every film I have seen him in. I also like Joan Leslie a lot - in my opinion she is one of the most underrated actresses from the 1940s. Although I'm not a big fan of Eddie Cantor, I must admit he is very funny in this film.

Whenever I watch this film I can't help but wonder if Doris Day had played the role of Dinah Shore had the film been made five years later.

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