Ladies of the Nightclubs

The Influences of Dorothy Dell

Breaking News – Wikipedia is going to the moon! Every jot and tittle – all preserved on tiny sheets of nickel and in a number of translations. [See: The Arch Foundation’s first step toward building a Lunar Library] And, perhaps, in the nick of time – seeing that none of us really know when The […]

Angela Lansbury Re-Tweets “Goodbye, Little Yellow Bird”

It’s 1944. Louis B. Mayer has wooed Albert Lewin back to MGM to direct The Picture of Dorian Gray. Lewin has kept his distance from Mayer for the past eight years – since the day the studio’s head of production, Irving Thalberg, died of pneumonia. Lewin headed the script department and was Irving’s right-hand-man. The two were literary eggheads; workaholic companions with […]

“I’m Good for Nothing But Love” – Frances Langford is RKO’s Bamboo Blonde (1946)

For everything – there is a season, a time and a place. The Bamboo Blonde. RKO. Story of a nightclub singer during WWII. 67 minutes. B&W. Released July 15, 1946. Up until a recent screening on TCM, I never saw or ever heard of The Bamboo Blonde. At sixty seven minutes – the film qualifies as a Feature Length, somewhat on the […]

Jane Russell is “His Kind of Woman” – Robert Mitchum’s, that is

“The hottest combination that ever hit the screen!” – declared Louella O. Parsons in late August 1951. It’s possible that Louella was still in party-mode, having passed her 70th birthday just a few weeks before. No point in holding back now! Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum have IT. Apparently, not since way-back in ’21 – between Agnes Ayres and Rudolph […]

“Ladies of the Nightclubs” at SF’s Main Library, 5/10, 6:00pm

In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection at San Francisco’s Main Library in Civic Center, Janet Roitz and Sean Martinfield present Ladies of the Nightclubs, a talk exploring songs from night club scenes in classic Hollywood films. Click on the photo  below to see our promo on YouTube: Drawing […]

No Place for the Blues: “Quicksand” at The Stage Door Canteen

“Ethel Waters, the gleaming tower of regality who knows how to make a song stand on tip-toe.” Brooks Atkinson…
Ethels’ power to get a song up on its feet was never more evident than in her rendition of “Quicksand” written especially for her by the team of Al Dubin and James Monaco.

“Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone”

When the studios needed a charismatic blonde to play a determined but desperate woman heading straight to the final curtain – Gladys George was the ideal choice. She is the doomed “Madame DuBarry” in MGM’s lavish Marie Antoinette (1939), the hard-boiled owner of a speakeasy in The Roaring Twenties (1932), the ultimately tragic heroine of […]

Meeting Soprano Jeanette MacDonald in “San Francisco”

What’s the best film for getting acquainted with Hollywood soprano Jeanette MacDonald? Click on the photo to find my answer on YouTube.
 My first encounter with Jeanette MacDonald was through a local broadcast of MGM’s major box office hit from 1936, San Francisco. It’s been a long-term affair ever since – with both her and […]

“Veda Pierce” – Lounge Lizard or High Toned Viper?

Ann Blyth enters as the youngest in our series, Ladies of the Nightclubs. As Veda in the 1945 production of Mildred Pierce starring Joan Crawford, Ann was assigned a familiar rag from 1911, “Oceana Roll” – lyrics by Roger Lewis, music by Lucien Denni. By the time filming began at Warner Brothers Studios, the song […]

JEANETTE MacDONALD and The Great American Songbook, Pt. 1 — Close encounters with “Dinah” and “Some of These Days”

As Janet and I continue our front row view of films that include some variety of nightclub scene featuring – as Rosemary Clooney might put it, “girl singers” – we are also keeping an eye on how much of this material is appearing in an expanding archive referred to these days as, The Great American […]