Happy New Year 2012!
Posted on: 5th January 2012 22:36:56



Welcome back to Movies and Music!


This year we will take another look at all the films in the workbook.

I will endeavor to shed new light on all the films, talk about favorite scenes, dialog and add some trivia along the  way!

As always feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts!

As Bing Crosby said in Holiday Inn, “let’s start the New Year right!”-- Touring the country with Glenn Miller and His Orchestra-- in the aptly titled -- Orchestra Wives!

Orchestra Wives was Miller’s second film, preceded by Sun Valley Serenade in 1941.  (Sadly, Sun Valley Serenade is not available in U.S. markets on DVD—as far as I know, so it will have to wait for the workbook’s second volume. Too bad – I have a great story to tell about the film and the disappearance of a Sonja Henie Doll!).  It was to be followed by a third Miller film, Blind Date.  However, due to his entrance into military service it was never made. 

Therefore, by default or by design, we are left with only one piece of Glenn Miller history on film, which suits our current purposes. Orchestra Wives not only showcases great musical history, but also some social history.

The social history of the 1930’s and 40’s revolves around 3 main events: The Depression, WWII and the Big Band Sound.  When the group hears the Glenn Miller Orchestra play they are transported to that era and have vivid memories of growing up with the Big Bands —- listening to songs by your favorite artist on a Juke Box for a nickel, drinking Cherry and Lemon Coke at the drug store, going to dance halls. Some of the ladies in the group confess they snuck in without an escort – scandalous!   The room and the group light up with singing and stories. 

Of course, when we talk about the dances we talk about the fashion.  The ladies always wore hats and gloves and the men wore suits—Now that’s class! 

“Classy” isn’t a word we use very often these days. (Too bad. It’s a very good word!) 

In this film we find that all the characters have a certain level of class—whether it‘s the way they dress, act or walk we stop and take notice. Even when we didn’t like them, as in the scene when the women are gossiping and we called them “catty”, they looked classy doing it!  When we know Jaynie is plotting to take Bill away from Connie we watch her enter a room and command attention – that’s class.

Class also enters our discussion when we speak about dating practices. Is it proper for a man to ask a young lady to stay with him in a hotel without the benefit of marriage?  Wide and varied opinions come out here.   

The male character’s behavior is a great discussion topic. As the film begins, Bill Abbott refers to Connie Ward as a “Synch” (as in a bird /how easy it would be to “woo” her). As the film progresses and they see each other a second time, Bill realizes to get what he wants – the girl—he needs to show respect for her!   Great insights come out here when we discuss what it means for men to respect women.

Respect, class, fashion, and the Big Band sound are great features of this film. Revel in them and they will certainly put you and your group in the mood for a swinging year of great Classic Movie Musicals!


Thanks for looking in!



See you in February for Presidents Day in Philadelphia  in the year 1776!





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