Blonde from Brooklyn (1945)

Dixon Harper (Bob Haymes, credited as Robert Stanton) has been released from the Army and is ready to head back to the big city. Before the war, he was a song-and-dance man, but rather than getting back on stage he’s most looking forward to rekindling some old flames. As soon as he arrives in town, Dixon calls his old girlfriend for a date… but learns that she got married while he was away! To a Marine!

(Image via Listal)

(Image via Listal)

Susan Parker (Lynn Merrick) is a talented singer working as an intercom operator and jukebox-record-spinner. She answers Dixon’s call when he tries to request a song for his gal, to play for her over the phone. When his call doesn’t go well, he makes a date with Susan instead.

Susan and Dixon meet at a nightclub and immediately hit it off. After learning of Susan’s dreams of becoming a singer, Dixon convinces the band leader to let them sing a spur-of-the-moment duet, which catches the attention of a radio man (Thurston Hall). Soon enough, Susan is performing on a radio program called “Plantation Coffee Time” under the alias of Susanna Bellwithers. But will she and Dixon rise to radio fame, or will that phony Bellwithers name stir up some mistaken-identity troubles?

Del Lord directs 1945’s Blonde from Brooklyn. This minor Columbia Pictures musical comes from an original script by Erna Lazarus.

Running at just over an hour, Blonde from Brooklyn tells its story briefly but enjoyably, with plenty of songs peppered throughout. There’s a nice blend of both comedy and drama through the mistaken identity/inheritance plotline. Susan takes the Bellwithers name and finds herself heir to a huge fortune — $800,000, which would be the equivalent of about $10 million today. She feels incredibly guilty about accepting it when Dixon and their manager encourage her to do so. She never had bad intentions getting involved in the ordeal, so she’s easy for the viewer to root for in the mixed-up scenario.

Lynn Merrick is quite charming in the role of Susan, a young woman who is talented and desperately wants to make the most of her talents by becoming a singer. I wish she was given more to do, since she seems more than capable as an actress. Other than her musical numbers, which are lovely, the plot is too thin and the run time too short to develop her character with any depth. Her performance is still very nice, though, especially given the film’s constraints.

(Capture by Lindsey for TMP)

(Capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Thurston Hall is also very funny as a radio man, posing as a Southern colonel in order to profit off of the folks who like to listen to “Plantation Radio Time.” He always seems like he’s five seconds away from being found out (see: the scene where the waiter asks if he wants another highball, and he replies that he only drinks mint juleps, because he’s Southern!). Somehow, he usually manages to save himself in the knick of time, roping Susan and Dixon into his schemes. The character is written to be a swindling but somehow likable ol’ scammer, and Hall pulls it off with success.

Bob Haymes is somewhat forgettable as Dixon. It’s not a bad performance, and his musical numbers with Merrick are very nice to listen to, but he just doesn’t seem to have that “leading man” quality. But, as a fun side note, he found some success as a songwriter, and was the co-writer of the famed 1952 tune “That’s All.” The song has been performed by Nat King Cole, Dorothy Dandridge, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, and even Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, among plenty others.

Blonde from Brooklyn is enjoyable, not substantial in story but still delightful to watch, with a very likable leading lady and songs that offer easy listening. The score: 3/5

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