Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1951. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Earl Baldwin. Cinematography by Wilfred M. Cline. Produced by William Jacobs. Music by Howard Jackson. Production Design by Douglas Bacon. Costume Design by Milo Anderson. Film Editing by Irene Morra.
A stilted story and some corny setups for musical numbers (oh yeah, just asking someone to sing at a party means they instantly know all the words and moves) should get in the way of a movie being good, but Lullaby Of Broadway is one of Doris Day‘s best musicals. Credit the excellent musical direction, song selections (lots of great standards, including “Somebody Loves Me” and the title number) and wonderful performances, not to mention candy-coloured photography that dazzles at every turn. Day plays a singer who’s been raised in Europe while her mother, she thinks, has been dominating the Broadway stage back home in New York. She decides to visit the Big Apple and make a surprise visit, having no idea that her mother is actually a down-and-out alcoholic who sings at a seedy nightclub in between bouts in the hospital. Before finding her, Day runs into her mother’s friends, a former vaudeville couple now working as butler and maid for a wealthy beer brewer and theatrical producer (S.Z. Sakall). The kindly Sakall agrees to help prevent Day from finding out the truth about her mother, in the meantime nursing her stage career and putting her in the way of a dancing star (Gene Nelson) with whom she falls in love. Day is in absolute top form, singing beautifully and performing some sensational dance numbers (something she didn’t often get to in movies). She’s paired to perfection with Nelson, who really should have been a movie star with the incredible talent he displays here. It’s all incredibly silly, but you just can’t help having a great time, particularly in the exciting concluding number.