Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MURDER WITH MUSIC - "Mistaken Identity" (1941)

Tonight's feature is a tasty little morsel from 1941, and a great way for us to help celebrate "Black History Month" called "Murder With Music!" I bought my copy, but once again as I was writing this I found out you can download or watch it for free right "HERE" at the good old Internet Archive, so if you like music as much as I do, then head on over and check it out!

"Murder With Music" probably should have been called "Music With Murder" because it is approximately 85% music with just a thread of a plot to kind of tie it all together!

It starts off with this dude Milton (THE COOL WORLD) Williams as Ted Simmonds asking for a job as a reporter. The editor behind the desk is Bob (JUNCTION 88) Howard!  Bob is relating to Ted the story of the last reporter he hired, a loser named Hal!

Now Hal instead of being focused on his job, was more concerned with trying to make whoopee with this nightclub singer named Lola! Lovely Lola was played by a popular nightclub entertainer of the time named Nellie Hill! Nellie was only ever in one other movie called "Killer Diller," and in it she played a gal by the name of Lola! Hal was played by an actor named George Oliver! George only appeared on the screen again some 57 years later as a pawnbroker in a film called "Little Voice!"

Hal's lovemaking ideas get interrupted when Lola's attention is turned to this unnamed act on the televison doing a number by the name of "I'm A Cute Little Bangi From Ubangi" that really needs to be seen and heard to believed!! Lola must do pretty well, my parents never had a TV until the 50's!

That's the TV there in the flip-top box! The next thing you know Mike shows up but she thinks it's her boyfriend Lewis, and Hal has to hide in the closet! Mike has just escaped from a two year stint in prison and he thinks the smokes and drinks he sees are that of Lola and Lewis, he knows nothing about Hal!

If you ask my humble opinion, if they remade "Murder With Music," Mike's role would be perfect for Snoop Dogg as he's almost a dead ringer for Mike! Mike was played by Bill (HOUSE-RENT PARTY) Dillard! So Mike needs some new duds, so Lola suggests they go to the pad of the guy who owns the club she works at, a fellow named Bill Smith. She said Bill likes her so much, he'd gladly give Mike one of his suits!

There's only one problem, and that is that Bill Smith is at this party! Now why Bill and his wife who you can't see in this shot, are the only two people with masks on at the party is anybody's guess! As you can see, Bill Smith is quite popular with all the ladies! Bill Smith was played by Ken Renard and is one of the few characters in this film that had much of an acting career! Ken went on to be in "True Grit," Sparkle," "Exorcist II: The Herectic," and was even in an "Outer Limits" episode called "Corpus Earthling!" He was also in "Killer Diller" with Nellie Hill!

The band at the party is Nobel Sissle and His Orchestra, and they swing hard!

When Bill Smith and his wife return to their apartment, they have no idea that Hal the reporter is hiding behind a chair listening to their conversation!

Right about here it gets a little confusing! Bill Smith and his wife leave via the window, and then this police officer comes in through the window!

Lola and Mike show up at Bill's apartment, and tell the cop that they live there! Hal is still hiding behind the chair!

Meanwhile, back at the party the joint is still jumpin' with entertainment by  these tap dancers known as Alston and Young! Noble Sissle there in the middle keeps the music flowing! Noble Sissle wrote the song "I'm Just Wild About Harry" in 1921, and that song was used in like 27 different cartoons, movies and TV shows including "Harry And The Hendersons," and "The Muppet Show!"

Then it's time for the editor Bob Howard to join Noble's orchestra and sing "Too Late Baby!" The music refuses to stop!

Time for Nellie to break into her standout number called "Can't Help It" that was written by Skippy Williams. The uncredited policeman on the keys also does an outstanding job! 

Then there's this uncredited cat who breaks in on the editor 3 or 4 times talking in German, and then leaving post haste! A real honest to goodness case of WTF?! Weirdsville!!

The final moments include a stunner of an audition by Johnson and Johnson called "That's The Cheese you Got To Squeeze!" This piano and tap dancing boogie-woogie is so hot that it causes Bill Smith to say, "I'll buy that number!" The Skippy Williams Orchestra comes in on the end of the song to wrap it up tight!

Nellie reprises "Can't Help It" at the end of the film with Skippy's orchestra accompanying!

And then, just like the title suggests, somebody does indeed get murdered!! Best news of the year so far, I just found out that "Killer Diller" can also be downloaded for free at the Internet Archive! What a way to go!!

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