Lena
DON'T GET AROUND MUCH ANY MORE. 1943
LET'S GET LOST. 1943
Director: William Forest Crouch

MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU. 1942
DARK EYES. 1944
Director: Josef Berne

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Don't Get Around Much Anymore Lina Romay sings the Duke Ellington number on the panoram soundie Don't Get Around Much Any More (1943).

Romay is some bathing beauty, so the indoor stage is tricked out as a beach scene & she's relaxing in a beach chair in a bathing suit, singing the classic song a only a tad bit too fast, as a hunk of beefcake leers at her by her side.

She's not a great singer, but not embarrassing either, & she conveys a sense of comfortableness with her starlet nature, having a sparkle in her eyes.

She & the hunk stand up at the instrumental break & dance about on the stage sand, while other bathing beauties & beefcake hunks remain seated & watch.

The guy she's dancing with appears not really to be a dancer, & only when he lets go of her hand is Romay at liberty to shimmy & strut with some slight intimation of the dancing skills she actually does have but can't show off well with this clutz holding her back. She puts some humor into her moves, though, which not many such beauties could do.

They reseat themselves & she finishes the number, having revealed bundles of charm that totally overcomes a comparatively weak voice.

At the time of recording this soundie, Romay was performing with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra, but I've no idea if that's who's responsible for this generic orchestration; I rather suspect an in-house soundies orchestra.

This film was included in the Official Films home-release one-reeler Romantic Rhythms (1947) together with Cyd Charisse & the Stan Kenton Orchestra's This Love of Mine (1942) & Lucille Bremer's Penny Arcade (1942).


Let's Get Lost This time Lina Romay is conservatively dressed, with her hair up & wearing clunky star-shaped earrings, seated romantically with a silent fellow as she sings Let's Get Lost (1943) to the lucky dope.

Soundies generally pushed sexiness more than romantic so Lina might've insisted on this staid presentation. When she sings the opening line "The party's rather dull, iddn't it?" there is already the sneaking suspicion that this soundie is too.

"Let's get lost; lost in each others' arms/ Let's get lost; let them send out alarms/ And though they'll think us rather rude/ Let's tell the world we're in that crazy mood..."

It's a so-so lowkey swing song of the time, written by trumpet man Chet Baker. At the instrumental break Lina & her handsome beau (or perhaps he's supposed to be her dullard husband) stand & dance in close embrace, but he never ceases to be a total gentleman.

Neither of them get the least bit lost, despite that the guy does appear to eat a bit of Lina's caked-on make-up just before she takes up the lyrics anew & brings it all to a close.

In the decade of jump-jazz probably only older moms & dads played this one on the panorams. Lina comes off as a seductive aunty at a retro cocktail party just ever so slightly sloshed.


Moonight Becomes You A pleasant little swing number Midnight Becomes You (1942) opens with Eddy Howard & His Orchestra on stage, Eddie out front crooning the lyric:

"Midnight becomes you; it goes with your hair/ You certainly know the right thing to wear/ Moonlight becomes you; I'm thrilled at the sight/ And I could guet so romantic tonight/

"You're all dressed up to go dreaming/ Now don't tell me I'm wrong/ And what a night to go dreaming/ Mind if I tag along/

"If I say I love you, I want you to know/ It's not just because there's moonlight, although/ Moonlight becomes you so."

As crooners go, Eddy is adequate. The song, however, by Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke, had recently debuted in The Road to Morocco (1942) sung by the quintisential crooner, Bing Crosby. So this soundie represents the Panoram desire to have the most recent hits even if the mini-film producers couldn't afford the given hit's singer. Hence Eddie's aspect of imitating.

At the instrumental break the camera cuts to scantily clad dancer Valerie Thon in a spotlight leaping, cartwheeling, & kick-dancing to the swing number. It's an incredibly athletic performance.

Then we're back at Eddie singing, but with Valerie joining him in an evening gown. She continues her athletic dance only with more clothes on.


Les Paul The Les Paul Trio consists of Les on his guitar accompanied by piano & slap base in the soundie Dark Eyes (1944).

The trio's wearing ugly-ass shiny shirts supposed to convey Russian ethnicity to match the faux-Russian instrumental. The stage is arranged to look like a seedy jazz club or lounge where, apparently, Russians hang out.

Comic Sam Wolfe appears as the bartender. He looks the most faux-Russian of all & his hair looks like the aftermath of having put his finger in a socket.

Stupid as it all looks, Les's guitar sounds pretty darned good for about thirty seconds. Because soundies are pre-recorded, Les is having trouble looking like he's really playing his instrument, though one would think "the king of overdubbing" would be good at faking it.

Fortunately we're not supposed to take this performance seriously. After a while, Sam Wolfe begins to sing the lyrics in Russian, then Les closes with some fair guitar licks. An intriguihg soundie mainly because the trio we well know was talented but you can't tell from this.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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