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For sheer entertainment, "Star-Spangled Rhythm" is one of the most satisfying pictures in ages. It is also such wonderful publicity for Paramount that they'll find it difficult to follow up. They've thrown together nearly every important star in the lot, tossed in a few directors to boot, added a line score, and tied it up with an especially slick script. The girl in the next seat did miss Richard Denning, though.
As a proper showcase for its stars, Paramount has wisely revived the variety show, long neglected by Hollywood, but as tremendous care was taken on every second of the picture, it doesn't fall apart as it so easily might. The only real bringdown is the blatantly banal patriotic finale, which you can miss without regrets.
The hair-thin plot concerns the efforts of Betty Hutton, a telephone operator at Paramount, to keep sailor Eddie Bracken from knowing that his father, Victor Moore, is not the studio's head, but its gateman. This indirectly involves such sequences as when the Golden Gate Quartet steals the "Dreamland" number from Mary Martin and Dick Powell, a hilarious ride in a jeep, and a "Swing Shift" number with luscious brown Donna Drake swinging it in a good deal less than a shift.
Later on, in a benefit show for the Navy, Zorina dances in the snow to one of the best songs of the season. "That Old Black Magic." Hope gets caught in a shower with jealous husband William Bendix. Alan Ladd commits a ten-second murder, Lamour, Goddard, and Lake chant the woes of "A Sweater, A Sarong. And A Peckaboo Rang," MacMurray, Milland, Tone, and Overman revive George Kaufman's classic "If Men Played Cards As Women Do." and Rochester's zoot suit number is stolen by un-billed dancer Katharine Dunham. Bing Crosby is really wasted, however, on the patriotic finale, and Harold Arlen's song "Old Glory." is a rehash from his own and better "God's Country."
The other feature, "Truck Busters," is not without its moments, but succumbs in a morass of cliches. Most distinctive is a bosomy heroine, two brotliers who actually look like brothers, and an apparently asbestos-palmed villain who kept putting out cigarettes in his hand. Someone appropriately dropped a stink bomb.
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