SWEET AND LOW-DOWN Benny Goodman

SWEET AND LOW-DOWN. 20th Century-Fox, 1944. Benny Goodman and His Band, Linda Darnell, Jack Oakie, Lynn Bari, James Cardwell, Allyn Joslyn; with Terry Moore, Gloria Talbott, and The Pied Pipers (all uncredited). Director: Archie Mayo.

   Despite what a couple of viewers who’ve left comments on IMDB might tell you, Benny Goodman is not all that bad an actor. After all, it’s the perfect part: himself. But OK. If you were to pin me down, I’d have to tell you the truth. The only reason anyone would want to see this movie is to see both Goodman and his band in action. On the bandstand. At least half the movie is filled with musical numbers, one song after another, and you can take it from me, they’re all great.

   In between the songs? Well, that’s a whole other matter. Let’s assume that the truth serum you dosed me with is still working. The story is not so hot. It’s not terrible, but it sure isn’t good. James Cardwell plays a young trombone player whom Benny takes a liking to, puts him in his band, young man makes good, meets a couple of girls, starts his own band, and …

   Lynn Bari plays the singer in Benny’s band, and according to IMDB, she may have done all her singing herself. I rather doubt it, but she was still a beautiful lady. The other girl in the new band member’s life is Linda Darnell, a young social heiress whose league he doesn’t belong to, but…

   It’s a pleasant enough way to spend 72 minutes, if you’re a fan of the big bands. If not, you won’t last more than ten. The movie did earn one Oscar nomination. You can look it up. If you were think about it for a few seconds, though, I’m sure you can easily guess the category.

SWEET AND LOW-DOWN Benny Goodman