Olivia appears in the film too, in a short routine which I'll write about toward the end of this post.
All of the songs and dances are tied together in a plot involving two producers (Edward Everet Horton and SK Sakall) looking for stars to perform at their benefit concert.
The movie opens with Horton & Sakall in the audience of comedian Eddie Cantor's radio show in Hollywood, California. The show - one of the biggest variety shows on the air at the time - regularly featured singer Dinah Shore, and she appears in this film too, playing herself. After she performs, the producers are determined to recruit her for the benefit.
|This was Ms Shore's first movie appearance, and she performs 3 songs in the film.|
One of the funniest parts of the movie has Cantor trapped in a room with a bunch of dogs and maple syrup. There's no easy way to describe it; you just have to see it.
The other two actors driving the plot along - and adding a little romance to the movie - are Joan Leslie and Dennis Morgan playing aspiring showbiz performers. Joan shows off her comedic chops throughout the movie, and does a funny imitation of her Yankee Doodle Dandy co-star Jimmy Cagney (who's not in this picture).
John Garfield appears within the first 10 minutes and plays himself as a guest on the Cantor show. Paroding his tough guy image, he is seen "threatening" Cantor backstage before the two exchange some funny wisecracks on stage. He then performs a unique rendition of "Blues in the Night", which was first introduced in the 1941 Warner Bros. film of the same name and became a big hit. According to IMDb, Garfield was originally considered to play the lead in Blues in the Night, but for whatever reason he turned it down. Perhaps his singing the tune was a way to make amends.
John Garfield singing - one of the film's highlights
Some other of my favorite bits in the film feature some of Olivia's best-known co-stars: Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, and Hattie MacDaniel.
"That's What You Jolly Well Get" is set in an English pub, and Errol Flynn is amusing as a jolly chap who performs the song with a strong cockney accent and beer in hand. It's funny to see him in his handlebar mustache. One of the signs in the barroom reads "Drink Wine in Winter for Cold and In Summer for Heat".
"Ice Cold Katie" features Hattie MacDaniel (as "The Gossip") in an ensemble number about a girl who will not return the affection of a young soldier (Willie Best) waiting at her doorstep. Ms McDaniel and a chorus of singers and dancers urge Katie to "marry that soldier".
|"Katie" is played by Rita Christiani; "The Justice" is played by Jess Lee Brooks|
Non-musical cameos by Don Wilson, Frank Faylan, and Mike Mazurki as Cantor's bodyguard.
Humphrey Bogart is the only big name in the picture who does not sing or dance.
All of the stars in the film donated their salaries to the Hollywood Canteen, where solders came for entertainment during WW2 (Mr Garfield and Ms Davis were co-founders).
Thank Your Lucky Stars is available on DVD.
If you see it, you'll thank your lucky stars that you did!
This post is featured in Patti's blogathon devoted to the films of John Garfield in celebration of Mr. Garfield's centennial year.