Mill Creek Musings: Delightfully Dangerous (1945)

Sherry Williams (Jane Powell) is a young girl who, like many young people, dreams of having a big-time singing career. She’s 15 years old, and she’s already working hard to achieve her goals, studying at the Fernridge School of Music.

Sherry wants to find success like her sister, Jo (Constance Moore), who is living in New York and working in stage musicals.

Sherry and Jo (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Sherry and Jo (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Sherry is set to give a performance at her school, but she’s feeling down. Jo was supposed to visit to see the performance, but she never arrived, and Sherry’s very upset about it. On top of that, one of her classmates is heckling her about her sister’s career.

She gets some encouragement from a Broadway producer (Ralph Bellamy) who is visiting her school to see the performance. He fills her head with tales of all of the success that her sister has found in the big city, assuring her that Jo would have made it to the show if she weren’t so busy.

Sherry decides to visit her sister in New York, to see firsthand all of the success she’s had. But when she arrives there, she finds that Josephine’s career isn’t quite the name-in-lights, Broadway stardom that she had imagined.

Arthur Lubin directs 1945’s Delightfully Dangerous, the plot of which bears some resemblance to 1946’s Two Sisters from Boston, which I reviewed in 2012. This film appears in the Mill Creek 50 Classic Musicals box set.

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

There are sound problems with this print. Some of the musical numbers are crackling and muffled, though the dialogue is all fairly clear. The picture quality is decent for a public domain film — not too fuzzy, but showing its age.

As for the film, Delightfully Dangerous is absolutely FULL of corny jokes in the dialogue. These jokes got a few chuckles out of me, but would get eye-rolls out of the average viewer. Beware if you’re not a bad humor buff like myself!

Despite its corn, the film contains a couple of very fun musical performances. The Fernridge student showcase stage show numbers are cleverly choreographed and staged. Jane Powell’s numbers dragged on a bit for me (just because her vocal style isn’t a favorite of mine), but there’s no denying her talent.

Powell also fills her role well as an actress, playing the slightly obnoxious but well-intentioned little sister. She and Constance Moore are believable as sisters.

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

The story has a bit more of a dramatic edge than I expected it to, with Sherry’s harsh reaction to the reality of her sister’s life in New York, and what we learn about what motivates Jo’s choices (which I won’t spoil).

The performances of Constance Moore and Ralph Bellamy are also quite good. These two make a great screen pair. Their conversations feel very natural and they’ve got a spark of chemistry.

Delightfully Dangerous isn’t a stellar picture, but it’s a pretty good musical dramedy with solid performances by a highly likable cast, perfectly selected for their roles. Recommended for fans of the genre or of any of the three stars. The score: 3.5/5

 

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