has one little gem of a moment that has found its way into many Fred Astaire highlight reels. Astaire sings and taps "I Ain't Hep to That Step but I'll Dig It" then tries to coax Paulette Goddard onto the floor. She declines, twice, then joins him in a joyous dance. The rest of the movie is not as enticing. Astaire and Burgess Meredith portray trumpet players vying for a spot in Artie Shaw's orchestra and for the affections of Goddard. The interplay among the three stars has its charms, and there's plenty of toe-tapping big-band music from Shaw, who plays himself in a substantial part and wrote the Oscar-nominated "Would You Like to Be the Love of My Life" with Johnny Mercer. Filmed in 1940, Second Chorus
pales in comparison to the nine-film Astaire-Ginger Rogers partnership that had just ended. Astaire doesn't dance enough, and a tedious subplot involving Charles Butterworth stretches the movie about 15 minutes too long. No great surprise that like Royal Wedding
, Second Chorus
has slipped into the public domain and is generally available in poor-quality prints. --David Horiuchi
When pretty college band manager Ellen (Paulette Goddard) is lured away by the glamour of famous bandleader Artie Shaw, trumpet players Danny (Fred Astaire) and Hank (Burgess Meredith) scheme to get her back in a wily game of romantic cat-and-mouse. Packed with great song-and-dance numbers, this romantic comedy delight will lift your spirits to the skies!