review for Best Foot Forward on AllMovie

Best Foot Forward (1943)
by Craig Butler review

In 1943, two decades before musicals developed the elephantitis that eventually killed them off, studios could produce any number of minor "tuners" that pleased their intended audiences with small charms and then quickly faded from memory. Best Foot Forward belongs to this group. Titanically unambitious and utterly inconsequential, it is nonetheless a pleasant diversion. The story is classic sitcom material; unfortunately the dialogue is not snappy or witty enough and the characters are not original enough to carry the story to a higher level. The Hugh Martin-Ralph Blane score is considerably better, full of peppy, sprightly numbers, all-out rousers and winning ballads. (Interestingly, almost every song is a "list song," which tends to dull their impact a bit.) The cast is solid, with Lucille Ball deserving kudos for her knowing performance - and for allowing herself to be labeled "The Queen of the B Movies." A very young Nancy Walker is a standout, already displaying the comic timing and ease with a punchline that would serve her well later in her career. She pounces on "Alive and Kicking," and with June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven makes "The Three B's" a rollicking treat. The film's best musical moment, though, comes courtesy of Harry James and his band's rendition of "Two O'Clock Jump." Never reaching too far but never exceeding its reach, Best Foot Forward is the kind of film a viewer is always glad to come across on TV, even if he never goes out of his way to find it.