Moon Over Miami (1941)

“Nobody knows anything about anybody.”

Synopsis:
A waitress (Betty Grable), her sister (Carole Landis), and her aunt (Charlotte Greenwood) travel undercover to Miami with plans to find a rich husband for Grable — but Grable falls for a penniless salesman (Don Ameche), Landis (posing as Grable’s secretary) falls for a millionaire (Robert Cummings), and Greenwood falls for a waiter (Jack Haley) intent on preventing gold diggers from achieving their goals.

Genres:

Review:
Betty Grable sparkles in this vibrantly filmed but dully scripted Technicolor musical, based on the slightest of mistaken identity/love triangle premises and designed to showcase escapist fantasies in Miami-for-the-rich. It’s fun to see Jack Haley (the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz) in a non-metallic role, and the dance numbers are catchy. But it’s tough watching Grable fall for Ameche after their initial meet-not-so-cute:

Ameche: (Yawning with boredom at a late night party) “You know… you’re not very pretty… No, it’s not a beautiful face by a long ways. Cute, maybe, for people who like cuteness… I’ve been noticing your figure… It’s practically perfect, but it has no poetry. It’s built on architectural principles, like the sculpture on radiator caps. Your voice isn’t pitched very nicely, either — it suits your personality, but that doesn’t make it good.”

I suppose the point is to call him out as worthy of someone (Grable) who would stoop to deception and golddigging, but he’s simply not a likable character.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Vibrant Technicolor cinematography

  • Some fun musical numbers, dances, and costumes

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look as fluffy escapist fare.

Links:

3 Responses to “Moon Over Miami (1941)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see. As per my post in ‘The ’40s-’50s in Film’ (fb):

    “Phil… I was marrying you for your money.”

    ‘Moon Over Miami’ (1941) [film link in comments]: This is a perfectly bizarre little musical about golddiggers: how they (apparently) aren’t such bad eggs ’cause they just want to be happy… and (apparently) how easy it is to overlook and forgive the fact that they’re mercenary. Two average, working girl sisters (Betty Grable and Carole Landis) find out they’ve inherited over $50,000 and are overjoyed… until they learn that, after all sorts of taxes, they’re left with under $5,000. What to do? Head off to Miami with their aunt (Charlotte Greenwood) in search of guys with dough (like Don Ameche and Robert Cummings). But, boy are they in for a surprise! Once we get past the girls being so money-hungry, we find that the film itself is a lackluster affair (mostly tepid writing, layered with lower-tier songs). However, Hermes Pan is on hand for the choreography, at least, and there is some snappy tap dancing that features Grable with The Condos Brothers. Side note: At age 29, Landis became a Hollywood casualty. Hers is a strange tale indeed:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carole_Landis

  2. I intentionally didn’t read your post before watching this to review it myself… So was pleasantly surprised to see how much we’re in agreement. Your term of “perfectly bizarre” is an interesting one. And I should have pointed out Hermes Pan himself, big name as he was — the dancing was stand-out.

  3. True – we do often think along similar lines. 😉

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