Yesterday was the day of the big event, our debut concert as the L. A. Soprani Sisters, The Story of the Code Through Classical Song at Hollywood and Western. It was a great success. Continue checking back for information about the video and a detailed account of the great adventure of putting on a classical concert in Joseph Breen’s former office!
The 84th anniversary of the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code has passed, but #CleanMovieMonth still has another half to go! We are continuing our celebration of pure Code films with a review of “Here Come the Waves” from 1944. This patriotic musical features Bing Crosby as a matinee idol who wants to join the Navy and Betty Hutton as twins who are night club singers turned Waves in the second World War!
The Allison twins are sister night club singer. They look identical except for the fact that Rosemary, who is the older, sensible twin, has dark hair, and Susan, the enthusiastic sister who is younger by twelve minutes, has blonde hair. Susie’s main interest in life is Johnny Cabot, a crooner whom she calls her “love boat.” Rosemary, however, has more serious purposes in life. She has decided to join the Waves and help the war effort by doing more than singing patriotic songs. Susie is not impressed with the same sense of duty, but she joins the Waves because she can’t get along without her older sister. The twins begin their training. At first, Susie is awkward and disgruntled about the process, but she soon adjusts to military life. Naturally, she convinces Rosemary to spend their first leave at a personal appearance of Johnny Cabot. She is thrilled to see her idol in person. Meanwhile, the popular singer is getting very tired of all the foolish girls constantly fainting and clambering over him. He just wants to join the Navy and be aboard the ship on which his father fought and died. However, colorblindness prevents the patriotic celebrity from joining the service. After the show, he goes out with an old sailor friend of his, Windy Windhurst. Johnny is more interested in hearing details of a battle from Windy than signing autographs for adoring fans in the night club, but Windy just wants to find some female companionship. He eventually spots the twins, old friends of his who are revisiting the night club where they used to sing. Windy and Johnny go over to greet them, and Susie almost faints when she sees her idol approaching the table. Johnny is polite to but unimpressed by the wild blonde who throws herself at him like every other woman. However, he is fascinated by Rosemary, who uses no uncertain terms to tell him how little she likes him. Naturally, this makes him admire her deeply. However, Windy also admires the thoughtful twin. Soon after, the Navy lowers its physical requirements, and Johnny enlists. As luck would have it, he and the Allison twins end up being stationed very near each other on the East Coast. Susie haplessly attempts to see him, but she only succeeds in getting him mobbed by a busload of fans when he is on guard duty. Later, he manages to get Rosemary alone when she is on a date with Windy. As they walk home after dinner, he tells her about his military aspirations and his real thoughts on his fame. She is moved by his sincerity and depth, and she apologizes for her rudeness. Swept up in the romance of the moment, they kiss. Back at the barracks, Susie is alarmed to learn that her sister was with her “love boat.” She demands to know the details, but Rosemary doesn’t mention the kiss. When Susie hears that Johnny’s ship is sailing soon, she becomes hysterical. She doesn’t understand that he wants to fight aboard this ship, and she fears that he will be killed. Determined to preserve the nearness and life of her “love boat,” she devises a plot to keep him out of harm’s way and near her. However, Windy leads Rosemary to believe that Johnny thought of the idea himself to avoid duty, hoping that this will give him a chance with her. Can Johnny make Rosemary believe the truth about the situation? Will Johnny come between the twins? Will Johnny be able to fulfill his own dreams by getting back to his ship in time to sail? Watch the movie to find out!
Johnny Cabot is played by Bing Crosby. Rosemary and Susan Allison are both played by Betty Hutton in a really convincing dual role as twins with identical faces, different hair colors, and completely different personalities. Windy Windhurst is played by Sonny Tufts. The twins’ roommates are Ruth, played by Ann Doran, Dorothy, played by Noel Neill, and Isabel, played by Marjorie Henshaw.
This is a rousing Paramount musical with a lot of peppy, sentimental, and catchy tunes by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. Betty Hutton starts the music with one of her signature-style songs, “Come Join the Waves.” As the crooning heart throb, Bing sings “That Old Black Magic” to an audience of adoring, swooning bobbysoxers and “Let’s Take the Long Way Home” to Rosemary. In a show which he and the Allisons put on later in a recruiting effort, he and Windy perform in a big musical number of Johnny Mercer’s famous “Ac-Cen-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” In that same show, he and Rosemary perform a beautiful, sentimental duet called “I Promise You.” One of the most memorable numbers in that show is “There’s a Fellow Waiting in Poughkeepsie,” which is part of the skit called “If Waves Acted Like Sailors.” Susie and several of her Wave comrades are on leave, and they’re acting hilariously “wolfish.” They show each other tattoos of the boys they have in every port, and Susie pulls out her little black book to find dates for the evening. Bing and Windy are their dates for the evening who quarrel over wearing the same suit and going rowing in Central Park. It’s very funny, but I think it was much funnier in the 1940s, since it was ridiculous then. Now, many women really act like the Waves in this skit! I think this is one of the instances where you have to put yourself in the mindset of 1944 to enjoy it. I’m able to do that, largely because I don’t partake in modern culture. Try it yourself!
This movie was made in 1944, during the height of World War II. It was one of the really patriotic films which Hollywood produced during this time to strengthen our country and boost morale. This was one of the upbeat musicals which focused on encouragement and distraction from the troubles and toils. I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie encouraged many women to join the Waves. The women in the service in this film are still feminine. They want to do their duty, but they are not trying to be men.
This movie has great messages about duty and honor above your own convenience. It inspires people to be good Americans by helping any way they can. Naturally, it also has the good, clean wholesomeness which the Code required. It’s a very good Code film, and it’s a lot of fun, too. It will make you laugh and smile.
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