Monday, May 3, 2010

Moon Over Miami

TCM is showing several bright color musicals from the 40s tonight. Among them, they got the rights to broadcast one from Fox: Moon Over Miami, at 9:45 PM ET.

Betty Grable and Carole Landis play a pair of sisters working at a drive-in diner in Texas when they learn of the passing of a wealthy relative, who has left them $55,000, a fairly substantial sum for the early 1940s. Unfortunately, they quickly discover that's the amount he left them before tax. Estate tax, probate fees, and the lawyers' cut take the vast majority of that money, leaving the two sisters and their aunt with just over $4,000. It's not really enough to live on, so Grable gets an idea: the three of them should go to Miami, where she'll pretend to be wealthy, all the while playing golddigger to look for a wealthy man. So, off the three women head, Grable playing the rich one, Landis her secretary, and Aunt Charlotte Greenwood her maid.

Once in Miami, they quickly get a bottle of champagne from wealthy Bob Cummings, who invites Grable over to his bungalow for what looks like the remnants of a wild party. Cummings proceeds to pursue Grable, but isn't alone in this, as fellow wealthy businessman Don Ameche is also in town looking for a woman, and has his eyes on Grable. The result is a fairly standard story, with the two men each trying to outdo the other, secondary romances for Landis and Greenwood, everybody trying to cover up their lies, the requisite amount of music, and the obligatory happy ending.

Moon Over Miami is nothing groundbreaking. What it does have is Betty Grable in spades; she was quite popular back in the 1940s and Fox made musical after musical with her in an attempt to cash in on that popularity. The music may not be up to the standard of a Johnny Mercer, but is passable enough. Perhaps best, though, is the location shooting. There's quite a lot of outdoor scenes, and many of these were filmed at various places in Florida. That opportunity to see at least a bit of Florida as it was in 1941 is by itself worth watching the movie at least once. (There is a Traveltalks short made around the same time on Florida, but TCM doesn't have that listed on the schedule, despite having a 90-minute movie start at 8:00 PM, and a good 10 minutes after Moon Over Miami before the next movie.

Moon Over Miami has been released to DVD, both on its own and as part of a box set of Betty Grable movies.

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