Sunday, March 11, 2018

Somewhat Secret

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, subject of yesterday's blog post, is an 86-minute movie that TCM put into a two-hour time slot. That meant there was a lot of time to fill. In addition to the obligatory promo for the TCM Wine Club, there was also time for a two-reeler, in this case 1939's Somewhat Secret.

The plot is hackneyed and the acting not very good, although that's beside the point. Mary Howard plays Emily, the assistant dean at a school for girls. She and the rest of the administration have decided that swing music is evil, evil, evil. And dammit, none of the students better be listening to swing or doing any jitterbugging! Of course, it's all the students want to do, with the exception of one nasty tattletale. Meanwhile, Emily's boyfriend, chemistry teacher Ben (Tom Collins) was a former pianist for a swing band, and his old colleagues want him to join them again! You can guess what happens among the various musical numbers, which this time aren't particularly elaborate.

I mention it because I didn't realize this one was on DVD. I suppose it might be an extra somewhere, but back in 2013(!), the Warner Archive released Classic Shorts from the Dream Factory, Volume Two. I didn't even know there was a Volume One. Probably the most famous short on this three-disc set is Every Sunday, the one featuring Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin at the very beginning of both their careers. But it also has a short I mentioned back in January, Dancing on the Ceiling. Yeah, some of these vintage musical two-reelers had nutty plots. Apparently, another short in this disc involves waffle iron manufacturers putting on elaborate musical numbers.

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