Monday, November 17, 2008

Sailing Along (1938) Film Review - Jessie Matthews

Plot Summary - "Barge girl finds success on the London stage" - - British musical comedy starring Jessie Matthews as Kay, living on a river barge with the skipper who adopted her after her father's barge went down four years earlier, and his son Steve (Barry MacKay), a handsome fellow who Kay fights and bickers with like real brother and sister - of course, it's obvious they're secretly in love. She wears pants and handles the wheel while he makes fun of her "dirty face, scrubby clothes, and loud mouth", she acts like a bratty little sister who will do anything to get his attention and she does stuff like giving him a head butt in his stomach and sticking out her tongue at him - sometimes they're even rolling about on the floor in their fighting. Kay loves to sing and tap dance and dreams of being a "film star" or performing on the stage. Steve has ideas of investing in the stock market and believes he could turn a loan of 5,000 into a million. One day Kay is discovered by Anthony Gulliver (Roland Young), rich heir of Gulliver's Soups ("The Breath's on every mouth. The Broth's in every stomach!") who has an eye for "genius" and wants to show her to the world. Gulliver introduces Kay to famous theatrical producer/musical star, American Dicky Randall - Kay thinks he's "very beautiful", but botches her audition. But Gulliver's spinster sister, grumpy but with a real soft side it seems, takes Kay under her wing, buys her a new wardrobe, and gives her lessons to become a lady. Soon Kay has the lead in a new London musical "Barging In", with Dicky, naturally, as co-star. Steve gets funding from Gulliver to help him make his million and get his dream "schooner" - and Steve's not too happy about Kay's new fur and satin look or the new-found male attention she's getting. Will our Kay and Steve ever really hook up?!

Review - Fun, snappy musical with a light, easy to watch story. Songs are not super memorable, but are catchy and enjoyable to listen to - the musical numbers are mostly of the Fred and Ginger variety, including one number done on a polished floor in art deco kitchen with "Kay" in flowing gown, "Dicky" in top hat, white tie, and tails. The charming Jessie Matthews is seriously cute and delightful as always here, I really like her - the love/hate relationship between her and Barry MacKay's character of Steve is fun to watch. Comedy is provided by Alistair Sim (I love that guy) as a very eccentric painter, one of Gulliver's genius discoveries. More comedy in the form of Dicky Randall's bitch of a wife who comes on to Steve, plus a fast-talking American press agent, and then there's the butler (there's always a butler!). Quite entertaining. Rating - 8/10 stars

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