Wabash Avenue (1950)

Genres - Musical  |   Release Date - May 24, 1950 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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In 1950, a studio could still get away with a musical as slight as Wabash Avenue, a film that packs in some two dozen musical numbers into its 92 minute running time. Clearly, the emphasis here is on the song-and-dance routines rather than on the story, and these are certainly diverting. Choreographer Billy Daniels turns in some notably strong work; there's nothing innovative about what he achieves here, but it's distinctive and effective and certainly showcases the performers quite well. Of those performers, Grable is her usual appealing and charming self, selling the title song and "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" (among others) for all they're worth. Phil Harris brings out his reliable Harris schtick to good effect, and James Barton is a delight with his accurate recreations of several period chestnuts. Director Henry Koster keeps things moving, allowing only as much time to focus on the thin plot as is necessary, and the color sets and costumes provide distraction from the sometimes-painful dialogue. Not one of Grable's greatest films, Wabash is still amiable if unambitious.