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This charming musical features Frank Sinatra as Danny Miller, a young Soldier fresh out of the army, who can’t wait to get back home to Brooklyn, where he hopes to become a successful singer.  Danny moves in with school janitor Nick, and meets Anne Fielding (Kathryn Grayson), a music teacher who dreams of becoming an opera singer; and when  Jamie, a shy songwriter from England arrives, Danny offers to help him develop his talent and show him the Brooklyn experience.  The four of them also find time to help a young pianist gain a scholarship to an exclusive musical school.

This is neither Sinatra’s nor Grayson’s best known or most popular musical for MGM, but it is really a lovely film.  Sinatra, who so often plays a heel or a playboy, is really very sweet here (more like Clarence in Anchors Aweigh than Francois in Can-Can), and really makes the viewer warm to him.  He is impossibly good natured throughout, and naturally, sings beautifully.  Kathryn Grayson is great in her role as the feisty Anne, although most opera music leaves me cold, and I didn’t enjoy her songs particularly (although she did a nice duet with Sinatra).  Jimmy Durante as janitor Nick, almost steals the show however, providing a fine comic turn.  Indeed, all of the characters in the film are very likeable.

There’s also an actual story as well, rather than the film being merely a vehicle to showcase the songs – the subplot about the four friends helping pianist Leo win a scholarship is sweet.

Probably an overlooked musical from MGM (who produced all the best musicals), but definitely one with plenty of charm, and it’s well worth seeing.

Year of release: 1947

Director: Richard Whorf

Writers: Isobel Lennart, Jack McGowan

Main cast: Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Jimmy Durante, Peter Lawford

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