(Review originally written at 28 September 2008)

This movie is a rather odd mix of musical, romance, drama and crime with a sniff of film-noir to it. It's basically one messy heap of different genres, of which none really works out like it was supposed to.

This movie is an attempt by Mickey Rooney to be taken more serious as an actor. He's a former child-star who always used to star in in happy comical- and musical productions at the start of his career. In this movie he picks a different approach (although the musical aspects are still present in the movie). 

But his role is actually quite laughable within the movie. I mean Mickey Rooney as a tough player? He's an extremely small boyish looking man. He actually was in his 30's already at the time of this movie but he seriously looks more like a 16 year old. Hearing him say babe to women and hearing talking tough to gangsters who are about 3 times bigger than he is just doesn't look and feel right. He simply isn't convincing in his role.

Because the movie mixes so many different genres, the story also really feels as a messy one. Somewhere in it there is a crime plot and somewhere in it is a romantic plot-line and one about living your dream but none of it works out really due to the messy approach and handling of it all. It just isn't an interesting or compelling movie to watch. László Kardos is also a director who has done only 10 movies in his lifetime, despite the fact that his career span from 1935 till 1957. He must have been a struggling director who had a hard time getting work into the industry and instead once in a while was given a lesser script to work with. His movies are all unknown ones and normally also not of too high quality.

Let's also not forget that this is a '50's movie but yet it more feels like a '40's one or perhaps even as one from the '30's. This is of course mostly due to the fact that this movie got shot in black & white. Generally speaking black & white movies from the '50's often have a cheap looking feeling over it and this movie forms no exception.

It's a rather strange sight seeing Mickey Rooney and Louis Armstrong and his band as themselves performing together in a sequence. It wasn't the only movie Armstrong appeared in though and he would often pop up in these type of movies, often simply as himself. I guess jazz lovers can still somewhat enjoy watching this movie due to its music, since there is quite an amount of it present in this movie. The movie actually received an Oscar nomination for best original song.

An awkward little movie and outing from Mickey Rooney.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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