Mill Creek Musings: Reet, Petite and Gone (1947)

Schyler Jarvis (Louis Jordan) is a wealthy music star nearing the end of his life. He hopes to leave behind something beneficial for his son, Louis Jarvis (also played by Louis Jordan), a bandleader: a plan for his future happiness Schyler is willing to leave his entire estate to his son… if he will find a good woman to marry.

Schyler hopes this woman will be Honey Carter (Bea Griffith), the daughter that his own long-lost first love had with her husband. Henry Talbot (Lorenzo Tucker), crooked lawyer, however, plans to get in the way of that so he can take the money for himself.

Louis Jordan, star of the musical (Image: NPR)
Louis Jordan, star of the musical (Image: NPR)

Reet, Petite and Gone (1947) was directed by William Forest Crouch. The story was also written by Crouch and adapted for the screen by Irwin Winehouse. Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five provide the film’s fantastic music.

Reet, Petite and Gone is a film that reminds me a lot of Cabin in the Sky, but is much sillier. Both films include a man looking back on his life, loves and career. The twist here is that the flashbacks aren’t the film’s focus; rather, Schyler’s son Louis becomes the center-point of the film. There’s a bit of Seven Chances mixed in here, too, with Louis being required to find a certain type of lady in order to get his inheritance.

The music and the story are equally enjoyable here, and they don’t impede on each other too much until they become intertwined in the second half. In the beginning, the songs are only performed when Louis is working his radio job, but he later holds musical show auditions in order to search for a wife, so the two sides of the story converge. The plot is simple but pleasant enough to watch, and the music is fantastic. Tons of great performances are packed into the film.

Jordan and Griffith have a very cute chemistry, and many of the songs have hilarious lyrics (I’m looking at you, “Wham, Sam! Dig them gams!”), which makes the film even more fun to watch.

The picture quality throughout most of the film on the Mill Creek print is pretty great. It’s clear and it has nice contrast, with very little fuzziness to annoy the viewer. There are a few scenes that seem to have been damaged (a few of the radio performance numbers are particularly distorted), but overall it’s above average for a public domain film.

Reet, Petite and Gone is a fun musical that fits perfectly into the 50 Classic Musicals set from Mill Creek. I’d been slacking on watching films from this set (I kept going for 50 Dark Crimes instead!), but this one was so enjoyable that it made me excited to watch more. The score: 3.5/5

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