Carolina Blues (1944)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Comedy  |   Release Date - May 31, 1944 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Bruce Eder

Kay Kyser proves a reasonably adept comedic actor -- at least when it comes to playing himself -- in this musical comedy with a patriotic subtext, made at the height of the Second World War. What's more, the writers and director Jason Leigh, despite limiting themselves to working on Hollywood soundstages, have successfully captured a realistic ambience of the North Carolina counties that Kyser called home, and on that basis alone, Carolina Blues would be of interest. But then there are the exceptional performance sequences, most notably an extended production number set to the song "Mr. Beebe" and featuring Harold Nicholas and the Step Brothers, that's worth the price of admission by itself -- no one has ever done dancing like that, before or since, and in 2007 it still elicits waves of applause at theatrical screenings.