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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Classic Film Review: The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)

The Fabulous Dorseys is a rather lacklustre film intended to showcase the music and talents of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey rather than display any real artistic merit as a film. It stars the brothers as themselves, essentially resulting in an entirely sanitised film which bears little resemblance to biography. It shows the brothers as warring boys then warring adults who split and form their own bands.

I found the scenes when they were children some of the most enjoyable. Once the 'real' Dorseys arrived on screen the entertainment seemed to slip a bit. There are unrealistic fight scenes and lazy dialogue, only relieved by a love story between two of the supporting cast - Janet Blair as Jane and William Lundigan as Bob Burton. The portrayals of Mr and Mrs Dorsey by Arthur Shields and Sara Allgood also lifted the film a little.

Of course, the main point of this film was to showcase the music. It manages this with limited success, only playing fragments of songs that I, for one, would have preferred to hear in their entirety. Still, there's no denying how beautiful the music and it's worth a watch for the performance pieces alone.

There's not much more to say about this one. It works as a musical showcase but not as biography. There's no denying the Dorsey brothers' talent as musicians but they were hardly threatening Cary Grant and Clark Gable in the acting stakes.

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