The Joy of “Music in my Heart”

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We have to admit that, despite the fact that we admire movie masterpieces that are visually stunning and that make our neurones work hard, we can’t say no to some “easy watching” films, those films we just watch for our own enjoyment, those “Friday night” films we can watch we’re tired and don’t want to focus on some too complicated plot. Music in My Heart, a musical comedy directed by Joseph Stanley in 1940, is that type of film. I chose it for my next review as I think that, despite the fact that it’s not a “masterpiece”, it’s the kind of movie everybody can enjoy. It’s simple, it’s funny, it has a nice story.

Music in my Heart is not a very well-known film, but I chose it as it is my personal favourite Rita Hayworth’s film. It also stars Tony Martin, Edith Fellows, Alan Mowbray, Eric Blore, George Tobias, Joseph Crehan and George Humbert

The story is about this foreign stage singer, Robert Gregory (Tony Martin), who, after a show, has to be deported to his native country. On the road, his taxi that brings him to the boat hits another taxi. The passenger, a young girl named Patricia (Rita Hayworth) is going to the boat too. She’s joining a rich man, Charles Gardner (Alan Mowbray), to whom she is engaged. Unfortunately (or shall I say, fortunately) they arrive late and the boat is gone. Patricia feels bad of abandoning Robert who has nothing on him except his stage costume. So she suggests him to stay at her place. She lives in a restaurant with her younger sister, Mary (Edith Fellows), Shasha the cook (George Tobias) and uncle Luigi (George Humbert). When they learn that the police is looking for Robert, they help him to hide. On her side, Mary thinks that Robert is a much more interesting man than this rich Charles Gardner and arranges thing to make her sister fall in love with him.

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Music in my Heart as its faults. But before going further, I think we can get rid of them. The fact that this is a very short film (1h10) makes things happening too fast. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but at some point of the film what is happening can make us say “What?! Already?!” Also, because of that, situations seems to be solved too easily.

I mentioned that this film was a musical. I must admit that its musical aspect is not what will attract us first. There are some nice songs, but none of them really marked the history of musicals. They are there to add a little “something” to the film, but I honestly don’t think it would have changed much if this film was just a comedy and not a musical comedy. Of course, Tony Martin, who wasn’t only an actor, but also a singer, has a great voice, and it’s a delight to hear him sing. One of my favourite singing moments is when he is singing “Punchinello” and a girl trio accompanies him. I just love the girls’ voices. It swings, it’s very jazzy and it somehow adds the missing ingredient to Tony Martin’s performance.

But of course, I have much more good things to say about the film and my objective here is to convince you to see it! As I previously said, Music in my Heart is my favourite Rita Hayworth’s film. Here, you won’t see the famous red headed Rita Hayworth, but the original brunette, a real Margarita Carmen Cansino. I adore the way she is introduced to us in the film. When her taxi is reversed by the other taxi, she comes out of the window, wearing a nice little hat and wondering what’s going on. She’s so adorable!  She has, of course, great acting skills and has a sense of comedy. It’s a very different Rita Hayworth from the one in Gilda. Music in my Heart was still an early Ritat Hayworth’s film, but this one proves us that she was on the right track to become a great star. She was about 22 when she starred in this film. What is also a real enjoyment to our eyes is to see her dances. This happens during a very short moment of the film, but we wish it would have last longer, as she truly was a great dancer!

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Let’s take a look at the scene, where you’ll also hear Tony Martin’s melodious voice

Tony Martin, who plays the leading role, especially impresses for his great singing voice, but we can enjoy his acting too. It’s not some acting that deserves an Oscar, but it’s convincing and he gives to his character what this one needs to fit into this type of film. In other words, it’s plenty satisfying.

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But, but, but, one of the best things among the casting of Music in my Heart is the supporting cast. Oh, this one is a real delight! George Tobias plays a Russian cook who always tells stories about cooking for the Russian tzar when he was in Russia, but we know these are just stories. But this nonsense makes us appreciate him even more. He wears a beard and a moustache, but we soon discover that these are false ones. He only wears them to look more “Russian”. George Tobias has a great sense of comedy and great chemistry with the other actors, especially with Edith Fellows. This one adds a lot of joy to the film. She is full of life, and I think I would like to see more films starring this child actress. Acting seemed easy for her.

Of course, an actor that we’ll never regret seeing in a film is Eric Blore. Oh, that very British accent gets me every time! His character, Griggs (Gadner’s butler), is always plotting something. He is the “evil” one in the story, but as he’s often making a fool of himself, he just turns out the be the clown. I adore his facial expressions, especially when he tries to look angry, but it doesn’t really work. Of course, this was a way to make his character even funnier. Eric Blore is always highly appreciated!

Eric Blore

Alan Mowbray, who plays Charles Gardner, is great too. We don’t see him very often in the film, but his presence is appreciated. He makes an interesting duet with Eric Blore! As for his character, Charles Gardner, it’s probably one of those who is the most well developed.

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Despite some little issues in its plot, Music in my Heart remains also has good points in his script. The major forces of the screenplay are, first, the characters variety. That’s what makes this film a real entertainment. Second, it’s the lines. For a comedy, those were perfectly chosen. I noted some  to give you examples, but I could have noted much more. I think I would enjoy reading Music in my Heart‘s screenplay!

1- Robert (about Patricia’s fiancé): Say, he’s got a lot of money!

Patricia: Most millionaire have.

2- I’m not exactly in an army, I’m an actor!

Taxi driver: Now, I’ll never get paid!

3- Charles: I’ve come to a conclusion.

Griggs: Oh, congratulation sir!

4- Charles: I have a deep pain, right here.

Griggs: Indigestion sir?

Charles: Yeah…NO! It’s love!

5- Sasha: What is life? You’re born. You die.”

So, as you can see, there are many ways to enjoy Music in my Heart. It might not be an Oscar winning picture, but it certainly deserves to be discovered. It’s very easy to watch, it’s not too long, it’s funny and certainly worthy if you like Rita Hayworth. So, what are you waiting for? 🙂

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5 thoughts on “The Joy of “Music in my Heart”

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