Jun 23, 2023
In this extra-special 20th Century Fox 1943 episode, we stare agog at a couple of dazzling musicals: Stormy Weather, whose all-Black cast is headlined by Bill Robinson and Lena Horne and boasts an embarrassment of geniuses; and Busby Berkeley's The Gang's All Here, a Technicolor psychedelic extravaganza that's the pinnacle of Fox's signature variety-style musical. We try to sketch out some of the complex representational issues attending Stormy Weather, and our reasons for thinking that the movie itself has an awareness of them and is attempting to be progressive and sophisticated in certain ways. Turning to The Gang's All Here, we focus on its exhibition of sometimes jarring self-reflexivity and the way it perfects the typical romantic and comedic storylines of this era of Fox musical. But if all of that sounds too dryly academic, don't be afraid - we want to play!
0h 00m 45s: STORMY WEATHER [dir. Andrew L. Stone]
0h 51m 53s: THE GANG’S ALL HERE [dir. Busby Berkeley]
Studio Film Capsules provided by The Films of 20th Century-Fox by Tony Thomas and Aubrey Solomon
Additional studio information from: The Hollywood Story by Joel W. Finler
* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s
* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)
* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.
* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project!
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