Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Garden of the Moon(1938).

Garden of the Moon (1938). Director: Busby Berkeley. Cast: Pat O'Brien, Margaret Lindsay and John Payne.

When Rudy Vallee, can not perform at the Garden of the Moon nightclub, owner John Quinn hires the young struggling band leader, Don Vincente. Don and his band fly out to California from New York, but Don is not too happy when he learns that they will be performing with a woman singer. He believes that they will only cause problems between the band members. Quinn, insists that Don use her in the band. Don surrounds her with horns so that she can not be heard. Which angers Quinn, who turns off Don's microphone so Don has to sing without it.

Thinking that they are being swindled, Toni goes looking for a new sponsor and convinces a chewing gum manufacturer to listen to Don's broadcast. When Quinn hears about their plans, he fires Don.

Knowing that Quinn is a fan of royalty, Toni plants a story about Don's friendship with the Maharajah of Sund. It's not long before Don is back at work. Quinn throws a party for the Maharajah and things are going as planned until Maurice, the materde, almost ruins them when he recognizes the Maharajah as a waiter who once worked for him.

Quinn, eventually learns the truth, but Toni convinces him not to take revenge on Don. Don has been so popular that the owners of the hotel want him to sign a contract. Which Don refuses to sign, because the gum manufacturer has offered him a radio program.

Toni, convinces Don to do the radio broadcast from Hollywood. Mistakenly, he believes that Toni is in with Quinn and quits. Quinn, has gossip columnist Jimmie Fidler, warn Quinn over the radio that gangsters are out to kill him. Quinn fakes a shooting and begs Don to stay. His plan works and soon Quinn is back to work, with Don as his bandleader.

Fun Fact:

The roles played by John Payne and Margaret Lindsay were originally intended for Dick Powell and Bette Davis. Powell took a layoff rather than make this film.

This is a fun story and the film has a lot of big band era music with some swing numbers mixed in. Payne looks and sounds great and is supported by a wonderful actress, Margaret Lindsay. The musical number, "Girlfriend of the Whirling Dervish," better known today thanks to a Looney Tunes cartoon, made its debut in this film.

Margaret Lindsay (September 19, 1910 - May 9, 1981). She is best known for her supporting work in films of the 1930s and 1940s such as: Jezebel (1938) and Scarlet Street (1945). She had leading roles in "B" films such as: Ellery Queen series in the early 1940s. Critics say her standout performance, was as Hepzibah Pyncheon in the film, The House of the Seven Gables(1940).

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