Jed Potter looks back on a love triangle conducted over the course of years and between musical numbers. Dancer Jed loves showgirl Mary, who loves compulsive nightclub-opener Johnny, who cant stay committed to anything in life for very long.
Just watched this on the double-bill dvd with "Birth of theBlues."This one is far from a keeper. It is better than the companionfeature, but that is damming with faint praise.Crosby is his usual likable self and Astaire saves the film fromtotal disaster. Every time he does a number we get an inkling ofthis umpteenth Irving Berlin "songbook"could have been.Crosby and Astaire shine in a wonderful tribute to vaudeville, "ACouple of Song and Dance Men," and Astaire dazzles in the great"Puttin' On the Ritz."The reviewer who knocked Joan Caulfield's performance shouldhave skewered the terrible screenplay, which requires Caulfield toshuffle like a dim-wit between Crosby and Astaire. With a part likethat, we would have hated Ingrid Bergman.This was to have been Astaire's final film, but he came out ofretirement a year or so later to co-star in "Easter Parade" andfinally do a never topped Berlin "songbook" that includes "Steppin'Out With My Baby," one of Astaire's greatest moments.The great howler in this film is that Astaire is supposed to bedrunk while doing two incredible dance numbers. Right, he actssoooo drunk. No wonder he retired.When-oh-when will "Easter Parade" be on dvd so I can jump to themusical numbers and skip the totally predictable story.
Blue Skies is the second and final film collaboration between Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. What else can we expect from these two top-notch entertainers but a top-notch musical? These two didn't drop the ball with the classic Holiday Inn and they sure didn't with Blue Skies. With such great songs from the late Irving Berlin, what could have gone wrong? Nothing at all! This is a delightful musical which is, I think, a little darker than Holiday Inn, but still a classic in its own right. The only reason I gave it four out of five stars is that Fred should have gotten the girl! Why does Bing always get the girl? Why, why, why?
Bing sings and Fred treads in this sketchily-plotted musical, which pits Astaire and Crosby against one another, rivals for the hand of the blonde, domestically-minded Joan Caulfield. This frothy postwar frolic has a wild Techncolor exuberance, with crazy explosions all over the pastel-lined spectrum (and an odd tilt towards purple). The sad thing, though, is that this isn't a very good movie -- the plot is razor thin, barely a hint of an excuse to stage a bunch of great (and lesser) Irving Berlin tunes. Some numbers fall flat (and Billy DeWolfe's interminable, painfully unfunny drag routine brings the movie to a screeching halt)... Still, Astaire's killer performance on "Puttin' On The Ritz" is the stuff that legends are made of: as he's angelically hoofing his heart out, a curtain parts behind him, revealing a phalanx of distant, miniature Astaires, keeping time with the big guy. A technical and aesthetic triumph! This flick might be worth it for that routine alone, although Bing gets in some choice vocal performances as well. A dud scriptwise, but it still has two of the greatest performers of the 20th Century, both still at their peak.
Never had the opportunity of watching this Paramount feature of 1946until it showed on a cable channel recently. The pairing of FredAstaire, supposedly acting what was supposed to be his last movie, wasan added incentive, plus Irving Berlin's music was enough for a look.Directed by Stuart Heisler with an uncredited help by Mark Sandrich,seems to have been an excuse to use Mr. Astaire and Bing Crosbytogether. Mr. Sandrich, a man closely associated to some of FredAstaire's best screen work must have served to tweak an otherwise aproject that had nothing except Astaire's charisma and Berlin'swonderful repertoire to offer. The plot is thin. Jed Potter, now years later, is doing a radio showwhere he announces there must be a pretty girl listening to thebroadcast and he threatens to go looking for her after he finishes.That gives way to flashbacks in which Jed, singles out a pretty chorusgirl, Mary O'Hara, and taps her to be a star. Jed makes the mistake ofbringing Mary to his pal Johnny Adams' place. Mary and Johnny willbecome a couple because they fall in love.Johnny is a man that loves to start night clubs and in the height oftheir popularity, he sells them, because he is already thinking of anew theme for his next spot. When Mary boldly asks him to marry her,she has no idea in what she is getting into. Johnny's own inconsistencyis enough to make Mary a frustrated lady who only wanted to settle downwith the man she loved.The redeeming point of the film is Fred Astaire's fantastic job in"Puttin' on the Ritz", which gets the splashiest production number. Heshows why he was the best of all American dancers of his generation.What style, what elegance, the man was amazing! A stiff Bing Crosbyshows up as Johnny. Unfortunately, he does not fare as well in thefilm. Beautiful Joan Caulfield, a pretty face in the Hollywood of thatera, does what she can to give Mary some warmth. Billy De Wolfe is alsoon hand to play Tony, Johnny's right hand man in his clubs. Olga SanJuan has a couple of numbers.
There are four terrific reasons to see this boring musical: 1: FredAstaire dancing Puttin On The Ritz; 2: Fred Astaire in the boogiewoogie version of Heatwave; 3: The incredible Technicolor' and 4: Theproduction values of this massive Paramount nightclub musical. Thereare three reasons the film repeatedly falls as flat as a tackin-between: 1: Bing Crosby...ugh. 2: a leading lady who was really aleaden lady in Joan Caulfield whose character seemed to have apersonality bypass... and 3: the normally effervescent campy Billy deWolfe who seemed to be Bing's secret lover in this film, following himabout from nightclub to nightclub and performing possibly the mostembarrassing and tedious female impersonation act last century: his MrsMurgatroyd nonsense which stops the film cold at a point when it isactually becoming tedious. Thank god Fred dances and tosses himself offa bridge not long after that. At 104 minutes and crammed with about 30Irving Berlin songs, several big dance sequences and several elaborateand very lavish nightclub sets, BLUE SKIES annoyingly becomes dull andexasperating when Bing Crosby appears to warble, look lost and attemptsome overextended dance moves. I find him just so wet. I know he had amassive following and in the crowded cinema where I saw it today therewere even ancient Bing Crosby fan club members (!!!) who calledthemselves The Bing-Gang ............ and they sat there goggle eyed atthe screen at this soppy percolation in a suit as he moaned his waythrough too many songs. If you get the DVD for home enjoyment, just gostraight to the two dynamite Astaire numbers applauded above and watchthem for 104 minutes, thus saving yourself many trips to the fridgewhich you will feel compelled to make any other time you get a whiff ofBing.
This review is from: Blue Skies [VHS] (VHS Tape) Fred's Putting On The Ritz absolutely makes the movie. Without it, the movie would be forgettable but that dance routine is my favorite of all Astaire's efforts. Amazing!
BLUE SKIES (Paramount, 1946), directed by Stuart Heisler, reunites acouple of song and dance men Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire from the everpopular HOLIDAY INN (1942) in a lavish scale musical with songs by theIrving Berlin. While the title BLUE SKIES tends to sound like anaviation movie, it's actually a love triangle story set to music. Thiscould have been an interesting sequel to HOLIDAY INN, where Crosby andAstaire both continue to compete for the same blonde, this time JoanCaulfield instead of Marjorie Reynolds. Overall, it's an original ideacredited by Irving Berlin himself with an added touch of Technicolorand larger scale dance routines.In common tradition to many 1940s movies, most commonly found in the"film noir" genre, BLUE SKIES is told in flashback, starting in modernday setting at a radio station, Broadcast Network of America in NewYork City's Rockefeller Center, where Jed Potter (Fred Astaire), aformer dancer now a radio personality, relates his life story andcareer to his listeners, a story with a beginning but without a finish.Dating back circa 1919 following World War I finds Jed attracted toMary O'Hara (Joan Caulfield), a girl, a "very pretty girl," working inthe chorus. He invites her to accompany him for dinner at a night clubowned by Johnny Aams (Bing Crosby), his Army buddy. Almost immediately,Mary is attracted to Johnny, but in spite of Jed's warning that Johnnyis not the marrying kind, she cannot resist him. Johnny and Mary marry,and during their union have a daughter, Mary Elizabeth (KarolynGrimes). All goes well until Mary finds that Jed is right in hisassumption of Johnny being selfish and unstable, buying and sellingnightclubs (oneof them called "Top Hat") at a moment's notice, andunable to settle down at in one place they could call home. After theirdivorce, Mary becomes engaged to Jed. Finding she's unable to marryJed, Mary disappears, leaving Johnny as well as Jed, through hisnarration, to wonder whatever became of her.As Jed Potter relates his "album of Irving Berlin songs" to his radiolisteners, movie viewers get to to be treated to see and hear suchclassic tunes including: "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" (sung bychorus, danced by Fred Astaire); "I've Got My Captain Watching for MeNow" (Sung by Bing Crosby); "You'd Be Surprised" (sung by Olga SanJuan); "All By Myself" (Crosby); "Serenade to an Old-Fashioned Girl"(sung by Joan Caulfield); "Puttin' on the Ritz" (Astaire);Â "I'll SeeYou in C.U.B.A." (Crosby); "A Couple of Song and Dance Men" (Astaireand Crosby); "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song" (Crosby); "Always"(chorus); "Blue Skies," "The Little Things in Life," "Not for All theRice in China" (all sung by Crosby); "Russian Lullaby" (Chorus);"Everybody Step" (Crosby); "How Deep is the Ocean" (chorus); "RunningAround in Circles" (Crosby); "Heat Wave" (sung by Olga San Juan/dancedby Astaire); "Buy Bonds Today" "This is the Army" "White Christmas" and"You Keep Coming Back Like a Song" (all sung by Crosby). "Mandy" and"Some Sunny Day" are those other songs heard as background music.Astaire's "Puttin' on the Ritz" number, where he dances to eight imagesof himself, is one of the great highlights. First introduced by HarryRichman for the 1930 musical, PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ, the original lyricshave been changed to fit the Astaire style as well as the changing oftimes. Crosby and Astaire also provide fine moments with their jointcollaboration as "A Couple of Song and Dance Men." Billy De Wolfesupplies much of the comedy relief as Johnny's partner and assistant.Aside from being the love interest to Olga San Juan, he does a fiveminute one man comedy routine as Mrs. Murgatroyd.While the story tends to get corny at times, it does get better withits passage of time and its assortment of fine songs. Aside fromCrosby's singing, his sentimental moment where he meets with his littlegirl (Grimes) again is well done, along with Astaire's dancing, whichis always first rate. He briefly breaks away from his traditionalcharacter where he becomes a troubled dancer who turns to liquor afterbeing jilted. Legend has it that BLUE SKIES was originally intended tobecome Astaire's farewell movie. Fortunately, after his two yearretirement, he was lured back to the screen for more musicals, dramasand everything else through 1981. Joan Caulfield, then new to themovies, would work again with Crosby in WELCOME STRANGER (1947), anunderrated drama with songs. Crosby and Astaire wouldn't work togetheragain until being reunited again for their TV special, "A Couple ofSong and Dance Men" (CBS, 1974)Formerly presented on American Movie Classics (1994-1999) and laterTurner Classic Movies (where it premiered February 18, 2007), BLUESKIES, distributed on video cassette in 1997, is also available on aDVD package double featured with Crosby's other musical, BIRTH OF THEBLUES (1941). Although BLUE SKIES is not as memorable as HOLIDAY INN,they can be summed up as being two different movies with similarstoryline as well as the memory of all that. (***1/2)
This film starts off with Fred Astaire addressing folks over the radio.Oddly, he begins to tell people about his life with his two friends andthere is a long flashback scene--where Fred looks EXACTLY the same ageas he does when the film begins. It's also odd, as his character seemsalmost like it was inserted into the film late in the production--asthe main story concerns Bing Crosby and Joan Caulfield.It seems that the three are Vaudeville friends. Fred is head-over-heelsfor Joan--and Joan is in love with Bing (who is reasonably indifferentfor a while). Eventually, Bing and Joan marry--and you see VERY littleof Fred through much of the rest of the film. It's a shame, as I reallywatched this movie for him more than anything else. Eventually, the newmarriage goes on the rocks because Bing is too focused on success--muchto the detriment of family life. Can these folks somehow make a go ofit? Now considering it's a Hollywood film, I'd say the chances arepretty great they will--though if these were real people, you'd adviseto Joan to get a divorce and be done with the louse! And what aboutpoor Fred?! What will happen with this really swell guy? Well, whatREALLY happens took me aback--as it appears as if she got BOTH of themby the end of the movie! "Blue Skies" is a film weighted very heavilytowards singing and Crosby's talents. So, if you love his singing, thefilm will no doubt be more enjoyable--especially when he sings anabbreviated version of "White Christmas" (who could dislike that?!).However, I do think the film has one or two too many musical numbersand could have used from a bit more plot. As for me, seeing Fred get toplay the #3 man and only dance a bit was sad--though his number"Putting on the Ritz" was terrific. One or two more of his numbersmight have made the film a bit better. As for the story, it's prettyclichÃ©d but enjoyable. A decent film but it could have beenbetter--particularly if they'd made Bing's character more likable.
Weak plot, yes. But for Astaire lovers, the "Puttin' on the Ritz"number makes the whole hour and a half or whatever fully worth it. Bingis good, just slightly cheesy as usual. Irving Berlin's lovely songsshone through like a light in the darkness( he is one of my favorites,so i may be a little biased ). It's my belief Joan Caulfield is in this movie just because of herface. But in the very quick shot of Jed and Mary at the theaterwatching Valentino,there is a girl in the bottom right who looks tremendously like DorisDay. Was it her?I couldn't find anything about her being in it, but maybe i was justlooking in the wrong places. According to a lot of her filmographies,she wasn't in anything before Romance on the High Seas.
This is a pleasant musical film. There is a plot, that Bing's charactercan't settle down in one place even when he has a daughter. The romanceis with Joan Caulfield who is a pleasant looking blonde with a goodfigure.The romance doesn't really have a lot of sparks. The story line israther bland. If you want to enjoy this one, you want to hear Bingsing, which there are lots of songs including a chorus of WhiteChristmas, Fred dance and narrate the story, and then some comicsupport from Billy De Wolf who was a pretty funny guy.Once you get past these things, there is not much other reason to checkout this movie. Still, the Technicolor looks good and Irving Berlin diddo some decent song writing for Crosby in this one.
Bing Crosby gives a great performance with dazzling vocals in this old - time movie. I loved the plot and everything about it. "Blue Skies" could have been a little faster like in White Chrismas. And did anyone notice that the guy in Blue Skies also was in Holiday Inn? Only bad thing was the film, a little sratchy. 5 stars, great, cute movie!!
Fred Astaire plays a disc jockey telling the story of his careerthrough a bunch of old Irving Berlin recordings. It appears he was oncea great Broadway star in love with a chorus girl (Joan Caulfield) butthat relationship ended once crooner pal Bing Crosby won her heart andmarried her. Astaire, now spinning records on the radio for somemysterious reason, has a secret motive for his tale, which you have towait until the last record is spun to find out. This is a taleinvolving alcoholism, major egos and fatherly neglect. To see Astairegetting tipsy and then going on stage to do a musical number is strangeto say the least. It's one of the most disturbing images in films.The songbook is mixed with familiar tunes ("Blue Skies", "Heat Wave","Puttin' on the Ritz", even a bit of "White Christmas") and obscuresongs that hadn't been pulled out of Berlin's sheet music trunk inyears. There's probably a reason why those songs aren't classics today.For my taste, "Easter Parade" was the best of the Irving Berlinsongbook films, while "There's No Business Like Show Business" comes aclose second. Astaire's dapper "Puttin' on the Ritz" is the best knownroutine from this film. "Young Frankenstein" fans won't be able toresist adding their Peter Boyle impression (as I didn't). All in all, Ifelt the film overlong and a bit dull, although Crosby's rendition of"Blue Skies" (and its filming) is quite lovely. Billy DeWolfe'sportrayal of a housewife visiting a nightclub for the first time isembarrassing, and the Crosby/Astaire vaudeville routine is extremelydated, even by 1946 standards.
Even in something as dire as Second Chorus Fred Astaire lights up thescreen so when Paramount re-teamed him with both Bing Crosby and IrvingBerlin he wasn't going to do a lot wrong. Actually Paramount re-teamedhim with Crosby, Berlin AND the same screenplay they shot in Black andWhite as Holiday Inn shrewdly betting that lightning would striketwice. Had they retained Marjorie Reynolds and deep-sixed JoanCaulfield we may well have been talking classic. As it is Fred Astaireis just about the only thing worth watching. Crosby has a fewhalf-decent moments, Billy de Wolfe and Olga San Juan do their best butCaulfield just didn't turn up. Given how well they worked with a scoreby Berlin we can only dream of how sensational they would have been ina movie with words and music by Cole Porter.
Blue Skies was to be Fred's "swan song" as he had announced he wouldretire from dancing. He had been on the stage since being a child, andat age 46 thought he was danced out. The very last dance number filmed(as in all Astaire musicals) were his solos. The last number, hethought, ever to be filmed in his life was Puttin' On The Ritz. Afterthe last take, he pulled off his mini-rug and stomped on it saying hewas glad he didn't have to wear that thing ever again.His retirement didn't last too long (he spent time with his racehorses)as Gene Kelly called saying he had broken his foot playingfootball, and Fred came back to film work in Easter Parade.There was to be a third paring of Crosby and Astaire in WhiteChristmas, but Fred had other commitments, that's when Danny Kaye wasbrought in. Both Astaire and Crosby made their last recording togetherin the early 1970's called, "A Couple of Song and Dance Men". When theystarted to record the album, one of them remarked this was the firsttime they had worked together since Blue Skies. It was their lastrecording date as Crosby died shortly after, and Astaire never madeother recordings.
Okay, so we all know 'Blue Skies' had a simple, thin plot designed around a bunch of Irving Berlin songs instead of vice versa, but it really works and it's a good movie.Fun, memorable songs are all over the place. Bing's simple reading of the title song is beautiful. His Oscar-winning "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song" is a treat, and "I've Got My Captain Working for Me Now" is a hoot. Bing and Fred team up for "A Couple of Song and Dance Men" in a particularly fun number. But, Astaire's dancing steals the show, with big sequences like "Heat Wave" and what is certainly one of his greatest moments, the mind-blowing "Puttin' on the Ritz." It was originally designed as his final screen dance (he had said he was quitting the business) and just the type of flashy number that Astaire didn't like to do, but ya gotta admit, it's amazing. The high-voltage big band arrangement crackles, and Astaire's moves are flawless--you can really see that he gives this piece his all. Classic tunes, great leads, and beautiful production conquer a weak story to make a nonetheless wonderful movie worth three stars. The fourth is for Astaire's phenomenal would-be swan song. All in all, a light, fun way to pass an lazy afternoon at home.
Wrong, "Blue Skies" lays an egg that would do a Kiwi proud. What wentwrong? Simple, Joan Caulfield as "Mary." Don't get me wrong; JoanCaulfield was my first TV crush, even before Annette Funicello.However, "Mary" is a woefully underwritten part; and, as Caulfieldplays her "barely there." Better to have the luscious Olga San Juanplay Mary and eliminate Olga's character entirely. Perhaps given racerelations at the time (Olga San Juan is Puerto Rican), the studiocowered away, and split "Mary" into two characters. Stupid, becauseboth characters are two-dimensional. If race were the problem, why notsave Olga for another movie and borrow Rita Hayworth from Columbia,Betty Grable from Fox, Ann Miller from MGM, Jane Russell from RKO (yes:she also sings), or even entrust the role to the studio's Betty Hutton?Further, why not flesh out the female character rather that wasteseveral seemingly endless minutes of screen time with a patheticallyunfunny Billy DeWolfe routine?Now for the good stuff; Crosby's singing, Astaire's dance, IrvingBerlin's songs, Billy DeWolfe's short bits, Caulfield's beauty andsweetness, Olga San Juan's EVERYTHING, glorious Technicolor, beautifulsets and costumes.By the way, I once planned to update "Blue Skies" with Madonna songs,and have Madonna, John Travolta and Patrick Swayze play the leads. Mybiggest twist (and maybe why I found no interest in Hollywood), was tohave the lovers' triangle revolve around TRAVOLTA.It's not too late, Hollywood! Kenny Ortega, are you listening? You'veproved there's lot of young talent out there with "High SchoolMusical".I give "Blue Skies" a pathetic "5" out of "10," based entirely on themusical numbers and visual splendor. Otherwise, sadly, it's a waste oftalent.
Blue Skies is a fantastic cavalcade of song and dance numbers--even if it is held together by the thinnest plot I've ever seen in any movie! The convincing acting held my attention all the way; and the musical numbers are sublime! We get Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire singing and dancing up a storm. The plot (or action, since the plot is so thin) moves along at a good pace, too.The action begins back in the 1920s when Jed Potter (Fred Astaire) has his eyes on a beautiful chorus girl named Mary O'Hara (Joan Caulfield). However, Joan isn't truly all that interested in Jed--she much prefers the company the Jed's buddy Johnny Adams (Bing Crosby). The two men vie for Joan's attention and her hand in marriage; and along the way we are treated to upwards of two dozen magnificent musical numbers. Over time, Mary and Johnny do finally wed--much to the chagrin of Jed Potter. Nevertheless, there's still one major fly in the ointment for Johnny and Mary: Johnny isn't very "stabile;" he likes to bet on the horses and he always winds up having to sell his nightclub business to pay debts and then he starts over in a new city--dragging Mary along with him. Mary tolerates this until a child is born; at this point when she insists that Johnny stay put and not leave for another city their marriage does get have considerable trouble.Meanwhile, look for a subplot between Johnny's right hand man Tony (Billy De Wolfe) and his girlfriend Nita Nova (Olga San Juan). Tony also does a number of his own that, while not the best in the movie, does reflect his fine talents as an actor.Of course, from here the story line could still go anywhere. What happens between Mary and Johnny--will they be able to stay together or will they divorce? Even if they split up, will it be forever--or will Mary finally break down and marry Jed who still loves her after all? No plot spoilers here, folks--you'll just have to watch the movie to find out!I said the plot was razor thin--and believe it or not I've told you most of it except for a spoiler or two. This is one movie you watch for the musical numbers. It's fantastic to see Fred Astaire dance--especially in the scene that has miniature Fred Astaires on the screen dancing behind him! Bing sings beautiful number after number; and I loved every minute of it.Blue Skies is best viewed as a musical with just enough of a plot to get the musical numbers on the screen. I highly recommend this classic movie musical for fans of this genre; and people who like Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire will never be disappointed.
Fred Astaire's dancing and Bing Crosby's singing: wow, not a badcombination! As good as Bing's voice was, I preferred seeing Fred danceso the picture is only so-so for me. Either way, you'd think with thesetwo stars, this musical would be tremendous, but it isn't.Astaire has three of his four dance numbers in the first half of themovie. One of them, "Puttin' On The Ritz," is one of the mostimpressive performances, if not THE best, he's ever done. It isabsolutely spectacular. The movie is worth seeing for that performancealone. For the next hour, there is a romance gone sour and Crosby'scrooning (some good songs, some bad).The film's intent was to pay tribute to Irving Berlin and all the musiche gave us, and it succeeds on that level. There are nothing but nicepeople in the movie and tons of music.....but the whole thing lackssomething.
I agree with most of the other reviews: This is not a great movie,story-wise. In fact it's quite a dumb story about a girl who can't makeup her mind which guy she wants to marry.And I agree that Joan Caulfield adds nothing to the movie. Too bad theydidn't use someone with more appeal.But it's fun seeing Bing and Fred together, and some of the songs arepretty good.But by far the main attraction is the Puttin on the Ritz tap number inwhich Fred Astaire once again out-does himself! This time, literally,with mirrored images... And the magically jumping cane had me going "Huh?! How'd he DOthat???!!" I wish someone could take all of Astaire's dance numbers with GingerAND with all the others and put just those on a DVD! Now THAT would bea great DVD to own! And would prevent us from having to watch some ofthese so-so movies just to get to the "good parts" where Fred dancesand/or sings!All in all, though, this isn't that bad of a movie. Not nearly so badas some of the other later Astaire movies. (Again, Fred was alwaysgood, but sometimes the supporting cast and/or the scripts were justplain bad.)
I was very surprised to learn that Fred Astaire wasn't the originalchoice to play Jed Potter! That honor went to Paul Draper, whoapparently was a versatile tap dancer, but without Fred's other filmactor assets. It then became sort of a Technicolor remake of the B&W"Holiday Inn", but with just one girl(Joan Caulfield), not two, tofight over. The problem is that she is definitely more in love withBing, but Fred is more in love with her than is Bing, and keeps tryingto steal her back. Bing(as Johnny) keeps telling her he would make hera lousy husband. Like many other girls, she refuses to take no for ananswer, being sure she could overcome Johnny's need for geographicalnovelty, once she had him snared. Like many other girls, she was wrong,and eventually left him for that reason, now with a child to support.(Babies began to appear in some post-war musicals, mirroring the 'babyboom'). Mary is then back with Fred for a while, but jilts him again,relocating in Europe(doing what??). We then skip from the '20s tomid-WWII, with Bing singing about buying war bonds, followed by theIrving Berlin standards "This is the Army Mister Jones" and "WhiteChristmas". The latter was done in the context of an USO performancefor the troops, very different from the romantic context it was done in"Holiday Inn". This is followed by the anti-climactic finale, in whichBing is a singing guest on Fred's radio program. He reprises "You KeepComing Back Like a Song" and, low and behold, we hear Mary, off-stage,start singing "Blue Skies". This is very reminiscent of the emotionalreunion of Bing and Marjorie Reynolds in "Holiday Inn", with "WhiteChristmas" being reprised in a surprise duet.Actually, as in "Holiday Inn", we do have a musical supporting actressin cute Olga San Juan. However,unlike in "Holiday Inn", she is notromantically involved with either of the stars, bur rather hassomething going with Bing's constant buddy in his various nightclubbusinesses, played by Billy De Wolfe. I assume the brass pandered tothe fear of audience ethnic prejudice here, as New Yorker Olga was bornto Puerto Rican parents. I found Olga much more appealing than Joan,and she certainly upstaged her in her 3 stage numbers: "You'd BeSurprised", "Cuba", with Bing, and "Heat Wave", with Fred. To be fair,Olga was a professional singer and dancer, while Joan was not. You canalso see her in the Universal musical comedy "Are You With It", whereshe is Don O'Connor's leading lady. This was still Joan's first year infilms, having previously been Bob Hope's leading lady in the historicalcomedy "Monsieur Beaucaire". Apparently, she did rather well in hercomedic role in that film. I thought she was poorly suited to her rolein this film compared to the other lead actresses in this or theprevious "Holiday Inn".Astaire planned this to be his final film. As in "Holiday Inn", he wasgiven one classic unique solo production, to "Puttin' on the Ritz", inthe latter portion of which ,mutiple dancing copies of Fred fill thebackground,along with his front center primary image. Quite impressive!Again, as in "Holiday Inn", he does one song and dance with Bing, butwith the bonus of a terminal series of impressions of variousstereotypes, alternating with and interacting with Bing. This was moreeffective than the series of too brief comedic get ups he and DonO'Connor did individually in the later "Anything Goes" Fred also got todance around during much of the major production "Heat Wave",costarring Olga. Another major difference with "Holiday Inn" is that the great majorityof songs had been composed long ago or had been done in films withinthe previous few years. This includes the title song. Al Jolson sang itin the first ever musical talkie in 1927, and Ethel Merman, in the '38"Alexander's Ragtime Band". In that film, Ethel also sang thehere-included "Heat Wave" and "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" MarilynMonroe would later again redo "Heat Wave" in her provocative style in"There's No Business Like Show Business". However, you may prefer theperformance in this film. The opening lavish production to "A PrettyGirl...", Joan's major singing(dubbed) and dancing role, had been doneeven more lavishly in the MGM '36 "The Great Ziegfeld", with DennisMorgan's fine tenor voice(check this out on You Tube)."Puttin' on theRitz", with its unorthodox complex rhythmic pattern, had been done onfilm in 1930. Even Clark Gable did it as song and dance("Idiot'sDelight"), but Fred's performance much tops these.Billy De Wolfe wasn't especially amusing, other than his improvisedmonster guise. He was better in "Dixie", "Dear Ruth", and "Call MeMadam", for example.Now that "Holiday Inn" has been released in a colorized version, it canmore legitimately compete with this film as the best of theCrosby-Astaire films.