Best Music Movies of 1938
Alexander's Ragtime Band
Classical violinist, Roger Grant disappoints his family and teacher when he organizes a jazz band, but he and the band become successful. Roger falls in love with the band's singer, Stella, but his reluctance to lose her leads him to thwart her efforts to become a solo star. When the World War separates them in 1917, Stella marries Roger's best friend and, when Roger returns home after the war, an important concert at Carnegie Hall brings the corners of the romantic triangle together.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Rebecca's Uncle Harry leaves her with Aunt Miranda who forbids her to associate with show people. But neighbor Anthony Kent is a talent scout who secretly set it up for her to broadcast.
Dr. Tony Flagg's friend Steven has problems in the relationship with his fiancée Amanda, so he persuades her to visit Tony. After some minor misunderstandings, she falls in love with him. When he tries to use hypnosis to strengthen her feelings for Steven, things get complicated.
Musician Adam Lemp and his four equally musical daughters, Emma, Ann, Kay, and Thea, live happily together. Each daughter has an upstanding young man for whom she cares. However, the arrival of a cynical, slovenly young composer named Mickey Borden turns the household upside-down, and romantic and tragic complications ensue.
Stan and Ollie are mousetrap salesmen hoping for better business in Switzerland, with Stan's theory that because there is more cheese in Switzerland, there should be more mice.
The Great Waltz
Composer Johann Strauss risks his marriage over his infatuation with a beautiful singer.
Ideas in Search of Light
Black-and-white abstract animated short of light, shadows, and reflections by The Dodals (Karel Dodal (1900-1986) in collaboration with his wife, Irena Dodalová).
Mad About Music
A young woman at a girl's school in Switzerland makes up stories about and writes herself letters from an imaginary explorer-adventurer father; and is eventually put in a position where she has to produce him. Interesting things happen as she talks a visiting Englishman into helping her out.
Billy Rose's Casa Mañana Revue
The scene is set at Billy Rose's Casa Manana Revue, filmed at the Fort Worth Frontier Fiesta (1937), an enormous production created as part of the Texas Centennial civic celebrations. The opening song, "The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful" emanated from the first edition of the Revue and became a hit song on two continents in 1936.
To stop Pinkie's widowed, struggling mother Dottie from marrying a well-off older man they know she doesn't love, teenager Pinkie and her best friend Buzz kidnap her in the family travel trailer to live a carefree life on the open road. They then get the idea to find Dottie a financially secure husband whom both she and Pinkie would like.
Two young men try to wrest their father from the clutches of a gold digger but by mistake think the woman is a young nightclub singer with whom they both fall in love.
Philips Broadcast of 1938
Puppet animation of Bert Ambrose and His Orchestra performing. A Puppetoon animated short film.
Bandleader (Romero) and manager (Ameche) discover skater (Henie) in Norway. They become rivals as she returns with them to America.
Have You Got Any Castles?
Another entry in the "books come alive" subgenre, with possibly more books coming alive than any other. We begin with some musical numbers, notably the various pages of Green Pastures all joining in on a song, The Thin Man entering The White House Cookbook and exiting much fatter, and The House of Seven (Clark) Gables singing backup to Old King Cole. The Three Musketeers break loose, become Three Men on a Horse, grab the Seven Keys to Baldpate, and set the Prisoner of Zenda free. They are soon chased by horsemen from The Charge of the Light Brigade and Under Two Flags and beset by the cannons of All Quiet on the Western Front. All this disturbs the sleep of Rip Van Winkle, who opens Hurricane so that everyone is (all together now) Gone with the Wind.
Her Jungle Love
While searching the South Pacific for a missing aviator, Bob Mitchell and Jimmy Wallace are caught in a typhoon and crack up on an island, escaping unharmed with the aid of Tura, a beautiful jungle girl who is the only inhabitant of the island and is believed a goddess by the natives of the adjoining islands. The three are about to leave the island on a make-shift raft when a gang of savage tribesman land, headed by Kuasa, a half-mad potentate who informs them that all whites are his mortal enemies because an Englishwoman once spurned his love and he got his revenge by stealing her daughter, who is Tura.
After retiring from movies to get an education, a man discovers his ex-staff is trying to have him expelled.
Sing, You Sinners
Of the singing Beebe brothers, young Mike just wants to be a kid; responsible Dave wants to work in his garage and marry Martha; but feckless Joe thinks his only road to success is through swapping and gambling. It seems the only thing all three can join in is their singing act, which Mike and Dave hate. Finally, all Joe's hopes are pinned on a race horse he's acquired swapping, but it's a bigger gamble than his family knows.
Gracie Alden tries to graduate from college to get an inheritance.
Swing Cat's Jamboree
"Swing cat" Louis Prima and his jazz quartette play songs and accompany featured singers and dancers.
Freddie Rich and His Orchestra
A musical short subject in which band leader Freddie Rich conducts three musical numbers with his orchestra, with solos by Nan Wynn with the Three Symphonettes. In the midst of the radio broadcast on which the band is performing, a gangly guitarist named Joe Sodja interrupts and asks to perform.
The Duke Is Tops
A theatrical producer puts aside his own success to boost the career of a talented singer.
Straight, Place and Show
The Ritz Brothers go to the race track. They raise training end entrance money in a wrestling match and help a young man train the horse of his fiancée.
Little Miss Broadway
An orphan is provisionally adopted by the manager of a hotel populated by show business people. The hotel's owner doesn't like the entertainers and wants the girl returned to the orphanage.
The Big Broadcast of 1938
The Bellows family causes comic confusion on an ocean liner, with time out for radio-style musical acts.
The farm comes to life, to various classical tunes. The high point is a rooster serenading a chicken, with all the animals joining in. But then comes the sound that's even more welcome to the animals: the farmer and his wife with food (the only actual words spoken).
Thanks for the Memory
Steve Merrick is an out of work writer who stays home and plays house husband while his wife goes to work for her former fiancé and Merrick's publisher who is still carrying a torch for her.
Out Where the Stars Begin
When the ballerina star of a musical feature walks off in a huff, aided by the fit-throwing director, her understudy steps in and a star is born.
Just Around the Corner
Penny helps her idealistic architect father get his dream of a slum clearance project; The little miss dances with Corporal Jones.
Bickering husband-and-wife stage stars are manipulated into a break-up for publicity purposes.
Three women who grew up in an orphanage cross paths later in life: one unhappily married with a young daughter, one an office secretary, and one a nightclub performer.
Under Western Stars
In his starring debut, Roy gets elected to Congress in order to bring water to the ranchers in his district. In Washington, he learns he needs the backing of a key congressman and gets that man to go west for an inspection trip. When the congressman is initially unimpressed, Roy gets the inspection party stranded without water to show the true conditions.
Socially prominent Michael Ashburn, chief assistant for a London loan broker makes a large loan during a closing time to a man for a pair of earrings. He is unaware that the collateral can not be removed from the ears in which they reside, so then Julie becomes part of the collateral.
The Lady Objects
A former college football hero and his college sweetheart get married. Marital turmoil ensues as her criminal law practice soars while he cannot get his career as an architect off the ground. They separate, and the man begins making extra money by singing in a nightclub. When he is unjustly accused of murder, it is up to his estranged wife to defend him in court.
Snow Gets in Your Eyes
A department store has an indoor ski slide for the annual contest for store employees. Salesgirl June has two admirers - a sausage salesman in the store and the store's snooty ski instructor. The Dandridge Sisters (Dorothy, Vivian and non-sister Etta Jones) perform two numbers.
A score of amateur children sing and dance in costume in a multi-act musical revue.
At the Katnip Kollege, we see a roomful of cats taking a course in Swingology. Everyone swings except Johnny, who can't cut it and has to sit in the dunce chair. Miss Kitty Bright tells him to look her up when he learns how to swing. Finally, listening to the pendulum clock at night, Johnny gets the beat. He rushes out to where everyone is playing and sings "Easy As Rollin' Off a Log" to Kitty Bright. She joins in; he grabs a trumpet for an instrumental break, with the complete band. They both fall off a log; she covers him with kisses.
Man from Music Mountain
Scanlon is pulling off a land swindle by selling lots in a ghost town claiming the power company is bringing in a line. As a bonus he throws in shares in a worthless gold mine. Gene is on to Scanlon and tries to get him to buy back the deeds by salting the mine with gold. But when a new vein is really discovered Gene has to stop the sales but is trapped in the mine by Scanlon's men.
Swingtime in the Movies
In this musical short, a waitress at the Warner Bros. commissary gets her big break.
Billy The Kid Returns
After Pat Garrett kills Billy the Kid, Billy's look-alike Roy Rogers arrives and is mistaken for him. Although a murderer, Billy was on the side of the homesteaders against the large ranchers. As Billy's death is unknown, Roy gets Garrett to let him pose as Billy to continue the fight, but without the killing.
The Magician's Daughter
A magician's daughter falls in love with a reporter for a magazine. When the magazine publishes a story that exposes her father's methods, she dumps the reporter. He now must convince her that he had nothing to do with the magazine's exposé.
That Certain Age
Dashing reporter Vincent Bullit has just returned from covering the Spanish Civil War. His boss, newspaper magnate Fullerton, has more plans to send him off to China. However, first Fullerton invites Bullit to the peace and quiet of his own home to write a series of European affair articles. When Fullerton's adolescent daughter Alice develops a crush on Bullit, her suitor, boyscout Ken Warren, doesn't seem to stand a chance. Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton, Ken Warren, and even Vincent Bullit himself do their best to sway young Alice's feelings away from the older man. It's a difficult task though, as she is at 'that certain age.'
Garden of the Moon
Don Vincente is determined to make a success of himself and his band. He gets his break by performing at the Garden of the Moon, which is broadcast over the radio. The problem is that John Quinn is the club's ruthless, scheming manager who will do anything to keep Vincente under his thumb. John's assistant, Toni Blake, falls for Vincente, complicating the escalating war.
Down in 'Arkansaw'
A government representative travels to the backwoods of Arkansas to convince the people there of the benefits to them of a proposed dam on their river.
Two-Gun Man from Harlem
A cowboy is wrongfully accused of murder. He winds up in Harlem, where he assumes the identity of a preacher-turned-gangster who looks like him. He infiltrates the gang to catch the men who framed him.
When boisterous Judy Bellaire (Judy Garland) encourages her fellow school chorus members to sing a classical piece with a modern swing beat, her scandalized teacher uses the musical mutiny as an excuse to expel her from the Colvin School for Girls. With the encouragement of Ricky Saboni (Allan Jones), her family's cook, Judy decides to follow her dream and audition for a stage musical. Meanwhile, Ricky struggles to gain the affection of Judy's sister, the lovely Sylvia (Lynne Carver).
A screenwriter falls in love with a Mexican woman while searching for a story line south of the border.
My Lucky Star
George Cabot Jr., the son of a department store owner, enrolls Kristina Nielsen, the store's sports clerk, at a university to use her as an advertisement for their fashion department. She falls for Larry Taylor, a teacher, and gets expelled.
This comical campus romance showcases the fancy footwork of All-American basketball player Hank Luisetti while it tells the story of a dean's son who does his very best to become a good student. When he fails, he turns to playing basketball and befriends Luisetti, which makes him quite popular. This doesn't sit well with the dean, who wants academics to be more important than sports.
The Canary Comes Across
A prisoner with a good singing voice escapes, only to grow jealous when an opera singer who looks like him is delivered back to the prison and receives attention, especially from Ann, the warden's daughter who leads the prison glee club.
Swing Your Lady
Promoter Ed Hatch comes to the Ozarks with his slow-witted wrestler Joe Skopapoulos whom he pits against a hillbilly Amazon blacksmith, Sadie Horn. Joe falls in love with her and won't fight. At least not until Sadie's beau Noah shows up.