The Gang’s All Here (Berkeley, 1943)


The electrifying final number of The Gang’s All Here nearly saves the rest of the film. It’s classic Berkeley abstraction, using geometric shapes, multiple sets and a variety of practical effects/camera tricks to create something independent of the stage musical. Perhaps the summation of all of Berkeley’s efforts as a choreographer/filmmaker come during the sequence; using mirrors, the dancers and their costumes become nothing more than an abstraction of moving colours and shapes… it reminds me of something that Normal McLaren would do, not something I’d expect from a very by the books musical. The rest of the film though is never as interesting or exciting as this particular sequence, though most of the musical sequences do have exciting flourishes, but they only hint at the true potential and skill that Berkeley demonstrated in his 1930s efforts. I didn’t find the cast or story very interesting at all, they didn’t even have enough charm to make me want to endure the non-musical sequences… though, there is something strangely captivating about Carmen Miranda… strange, but captivating.

One response to “The Gang’s All Here (Berkeley, 1943)

  1. she’s a weirdo, no question about it (Carmen, I mean)… I have a weakness for the Fox musicals in general… there’s something kind of off about every single scene

    Greenwich Village may be the greatest of them all, in this regard

    all Berkeleyism aside, I think the pairing of Edward Everett Horton and Eugene Pallette is inspired–and I always love Alice Faye (although no one was more surprised than I to learn that Fox believed her name could sell two boxed sets!)… James Ellison is a pretty boring guy–but he does pull off a nice line reading when the script asks him to wonder aloud where the extradiegetic music is coming from

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