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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Honolulu (1939)

Honolulu (1939) is probably my favorite Eleanor Powell film. The story & acting isn't all that spectacular, but the dancing is. The story is about a famous actor who switches places with his double so he can get a vacation. Robert Young does a decent job with both those roles. While pretending to be his double the actor falls in love with Eleanor Powell who is travelling with Gracie Allen. With the story being on the weak side, it's a good thing they had Gracie to throw in her odd ball 1 liners from time to time. Her husband (irl) George Burns plays Robert Young's manager, and for the most part fell flat.

There are 2 dance routines in this film that will really stick with you. The first is a sexy hula/tap number & the second is a blackface medley done in the style of Bill Robinson. Unfortunately I couldn't find a video of the blackface routine on YouTube, but I did find 2 others to share. Here's a link to the movie Trailer if you're interested, but I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys musicals. When The Queen Of Taps starts dancing, you won't be able to take your eyes off her.

The La Conga Tap This number was cut from the final film, but later used in the film The Great Morgan (1946). This clip from Honolulu (1939) is probably the best thing about the Frank Morgan film. I also found a talk Eleanor did in 1981 at the Variety Arts Theatre, Los Angeles, CA. I found it very interesting if you want to give it a listen. Be warned, the video & audio quality suck. (LINK)

Not her most difficult routine, but it's fun, and Gracie's line at the end of the clip is funny.

Hola E Pae
The entire "Hola E Pae" number of the Hawaiian Medley was inserted into the movie I Dood It (1943).

"A tap dancer is really a frustrated drummer." - Eleanor Powell
Fun Facts: (Source)
- One of Eleanor Powell's first New York jobs was working with the legendary Bill Robinson in private shows (1927).
- This was the last film in which George Burns & Gracie Allen appeared together.

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