Best Foot Forward (1943)

Best Foot Forward (1943): 2/5

Bud Hooper (Tommy Dix) is a cadet at Winsocki Military Academy. He invites Lucille Ball to be his date at one of the Academy’s dances.

Not expecting a reply, he invites his girlfriend Helen (Virginia Weidler) and turns her name into the academy for approval. His evening is spoiled when he receives a reply from Ball, who decides to accept under pressure from her agent.

Ball soon shows up in town and expects to escort him to the dance. Bud must choose between the beautiful star and the girl he loves.

It could be because I watched this directly after Love Me Tonight, but Best Foot Forward didn’t wow me.

In comparison to other musicals of the time, and especially its fellow MGM musicals, it’s nowhere near grand. The songs are lackluster when compared to the brilliance of Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and Cabin in the Sky (1943).

One of the earliest songs, “Wish I May,” is very fun. The accompanying dance is well-choreographed. If only the film had kept this momentum!

Some of the performers overact in the worst way, especially Bud’s two best friends from the Academy. Though Weidler, Walker and Ball all give very solid performances as previously mentioned, their efforts alone can’t save the film.

With slight improvements in the songs and a few casting changes, this could have been a great musical. Unfortunately, it is enjoyable to watch once, but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again despite my love for Lucille Ball.

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