The Bette Davis Project: Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)Reaction & Thoughts:

Lets-put-on-a-show wartime nonsense is an excuse to showcase Warners’ contract players in a variety of musical vignettes. There is something for everyone in this canned vaudeville morale booster.

The musical interludes are framed by the silly shenanigans of a struggling actor who can’t find a job because he bears an uncanny resemblance to movie star Eddie Cantor (Cantor, of course, plays himself and the actor). The unemployed actor also tries to help a singer (Joan Leslie, Yankee Doodle Dandy) and a songwriter (Dennis Morgan, In This Our Life) get their first big breaks.

The show begins with Dinah Shore singing the title song, quickly followed by John Garfield’s “Blues in the Night.” There is a delightful music and dance routine with Alan Hale and Jack Carson. Ann Sheridan does a pretty nice job with the song “Love Isn’t Born (It’s Made).” Alexis Smith dances to the tune of “Good Night, Good Neighbor,” sung by Morgan. 

Hattie McDaniel kicks butt here. She is at the center of the movie’s most elaborate segment, the energetic “Ice Cold Katie.” McDaniel started her career as a singer and this is a rare opportunity to see her doing what she apparently did best.

Bette Davis and Errol Flynn provide the biggest surprises. First, Flynn’s rendition of the Irish pub song “That’s What You Jolly Well Get” is a lot of fun. Who would have known? The actor sings and dances really well. Flynn seems to be enjoying himself.

Davis performs the Oscar-nominated song “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old” and this is the film’s highlight. She sings-talks quite well and does some crazy jitterbug dance routine (with Conrad Weidel). Davis claimed that the whole thing was shot in one take and if that’s true I’m impressed.

There is one dud; “The Dreamer,” sung by Olivia de Havilland (dubbed by Lynn Martin), Ida Lupino and George Tobias. I found the number very annoying. Humphrey Bogart has a hilarious non-musical cameo. I would have loved to see Bogie’s uniquely raspy voice attempt to do a song, but alas it was not meant to be. The cast also includes S.Z. Sakall and Edward Everett Horton. Anton Grot’s sets are spectacular.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Thank Your Lucky Stars is silly but fun. My only complaint is that it is way too long (there is, in my opinion, too much Cantor). Salaries were donated to the Hollywood Canteen, a night club that offered free food and entertainment to servicemen, run by Garfield and Davis. B&W, 127 minutes, Not Rated.

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2 responses to “The Bette Davis Project: Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)

    • It’s fun to see actors step out of their comfort zones. Non-singers in musicals are the best! Love Gloria Grahame in Oklahoma, Roy Scheider in All That Jazz, Charles Durning in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Christopher Walken in Pennies from Heaven, etc. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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