The comic antics of Red Skelton was substituted for the songs of Cole Porter in this MGM adaption of his Broadway show Panama Hattie. That a Porter score would survive almost intact from Broadway was unheard of. His other contemporaries suffered the same fate, but in Porter's case more so because of the sophisticated and naughty lyrics he wrote. Ethel Merman starred on Broadway beginning a run that lasted 501 performances. Only Rags Ragland who along with Ben Blue was one of Red's sidekicks as a trio of oafish sailors who capture enemy spies by accident is the only survivor from the Broadway cast. Ann Sothern takes Ethel's place as the star and she performs along with young Jackie Horner the big hit of the Broadway show Let's Be Buddies. Only I've Still Got My Health and Fresh As A Daisy survived from Porter's original score. Songs were written and interpolated from many sources. But one of the best is from Porter himself when Lena Horne sang Just One Of Those Things. In fact it doesn't get better than that. In the title role Sothern is the owner of a nightclub located in the Panama Canal Zone which is frequented like Rick's Cafe Americaine of all kinds of people from our Armed Forces and from an international assortment of mysterious and intriguing figures. Some of them are planning to do damage to the Canal. Some are planning to damage to Sothern like Marsha Hunt who has her eye set on Army sergeant Dan Dailey. But with Sothern guarding what she's got a previous claim on and the comic sailors guarding the Canal the spirit of America carries on. Panama Hattie is more Red Skelton than Cole Porter and Porter fans will not be happy. But it is a fun wartime film.
Comedy / Musical
Comedy / Musical
Hattie Maloney runs a saloon in Panama where assorted characters congregate where they frequently sing and dance Cole Porter numbers. An upper class gentleman arrives and sparks fly between...
January 12, 2021