Second Chorus

Second Chorus

Lately, I've been watching old movies from the 1930's and 1940's just to mix things up. I've been running out of things to watch ... I admit it.  Binge watching shows and movies on platforms like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime have gone to a whole new level around the world as we all find ways to keep our sanity during the pandemic.

The other night I had the pleasure to stumble upon the movie "Second Chorus".  It stars Fred Astaire and Paulette Goddard and features a ton of music by Artie Shaw.  In fact, Shaw has a big role in the film, and the musical performances featuring him and the band are fantastic.

Overall, it's a fun movie and if you are looking for something different to watch, then give it a try.  I've included a synopsis of the plot below.  Enjoy!

Picture of Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw performing in the movie "Second Chorus"

The Plot (taken from Wikipedia)

Danny O'Neill (Fred Astaire) and Hank Taylor (Burgess Meredith) are friends and rival trumpeters with "O'Neill's Perennials", a college band. Both have managed to prolong their college careers by failing seven years in a row. At a performance, Ellen Miller (Paulette Goddard) catches Danny's and Hank's eyes. She serves them a notice for her boss, a debt collector, but the fast-talking O'Neill and Taylor soon have her working as their manager.

Tired of losing gigs to the Perennials, Artie Shaw, playing himself, comes to woo Ellen away to be his booking manager. She tries to get Danny and Hank an audition for Shaw's band, but their jealous hi-jinks get them fired.

Watch: Movie clip from "Second Chorus"

Ellen talks Shaw into letting rich wannabee musician J. Lester Chisholm (Charles Butterworth) back a concert. It looks like the jig is up when Hank pretends to be Ellen's jealous husband, and then her brother. Danny and Hank manage get Chisholm back on board, then get Shaw to agree to put Danny's song into the show. All they have to do is keep Chisholm and his mandolin (which he wants to play in the concert) away from Shaw until after the show; the solution is sleeping pills to knock Chisholm, and incidentally Hank, out.

To Ellen's relief, Danny finally acts professionally, arranging his number for the show, which Shaw says "has really grown up into something special." He hands the baton to Danny, who successfully dance-conducts his own composition.

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