A musical made as a WWII fundraiser that’s enjoyable primarily for its self-reflexivity. A bunch of stars feature in a film about a bunch of stars (the same) featuring in a WWII fundraiser show*. Yup. It allows the slim plot to constantly break to an unrelated musical performance elsewhere, but it also allows a Curb-esque form of self-deprecation. “Gee I hope none of my movie fans hear about this” exits Bogart, but it’s Eddie Cantor who really goes for it in a dual role. As Joe Simpson, he’s a bus driver Eddie Cantor-lookalike who despises Eddie Cantor (as do many of the characters in the film). As himself, he more than lives up to the reputation – a vain, egotistical, interfering troublemaker. Of course, it’s all a big joke for our benefit, but it’s bold (now, let alone then) and funny. S.Z. Sakall, who I loved in My Dream is Yours, plays the same character, but who cares, it’s funny, and the stars sparkle. The musical numbers are imaginative and varied.
*Specifically what it funded was the Hollywood Canteen – a club for servicemen – where many of the same stars performed. Talk about meta.