Two Tickets to Broadway (1951): James Kern’s Musical, Starring Janet Leigh, Gloria DeHaven, and Ann Miller

James V. Kern directed Two Tickets to Broadway, a Technicolor musical, choreographed in an uninspired mode by Busby Berkeley, and amateurishly acted by Janet Leigh and the rest of the cast.

wo Tickets to Broadway
Two Tickets to Broadway FilmPoster.jpeg

Original film poster

Our Grade: C- (* out of *****)

Three frustrated singers, Hannah Holbrook, Joyce Campbell, and S. F. “Foxy” Rogers, return dejectedly to New York on a bus, their out-of-town engagement in Vermont, arranged by small-time promoter Lew Conway.

Nancy Peterson, another passenger on the bus, mistakenly believes Dan Carter has stolen her suitcase. It turns out both are entertainers. They end up with each other’s bags, then become better acquainted after the mix-up.

The conniving Lew represents Dan and tries to get him to take the same bad gig the girl singers just left. Lew also meets a couple of delicatessen owners, Leo and Harry, who might have money to invest in his performers’ careers. The agent has an impersonator, Glendon, pretend to be the producer of bandleader Bob Crosby’s television program.

Everybody believes that Lew has booked them on the TV show. Lew continually tries to get in to see Crosby’s actual producer, totally in vain. He lies to the singers that Crosby won’t book them because he is jealous of Dan’s ability as a singer. A furious Nancy barges into the TV studio to berate Crosby and his producer, who have no idea what she is talking about.

Nancy boards a bus, headed back home. Crosby’s producer, however, says he’s been interested in Dan for quite a while, and ends up with an opening on tonight’s show after Lew locks the scheduled performers in a closet. Nancy refuses to believe Lew that the gang really is performing on tonight’s show, until she spots Dan singing on a TV in a store’s window. She races back to New York just in time to join the others on the show.

The roles of the two delicatessen owners were originally offered to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who had to turn down the parts due to Laurel’s illness. The comedy team of Smith and Dale got the roles instead.

Mediocre in every aspect of the production, this musical was a commercial flop at the box office.

Note:

TCM showed it on July 13, 2020.

Cast
Tony Martin as Dan Carter
Janet Leigh as Nancy Peterson
Gloria DeHaven as Hannah Holbrook
Eddie Bracken as Lew Conway
Ann Miller as Joyce Campbell
Barbara Lawrence as S. F. Rogers
Bob Crosby as Himself
Charles Dale as Leo, Palace Deli
Joe Smith as Harry, Palace Deli
Taylor Holmes as Willard Glendon
Buddy Baer as Sailor on Bus

Credits:

Directed by James V. Kern
Produced by Norman Krasna, Jerry Wald, Howard Hughes (uncredited)
Written by Sammy Cahn
Music by Walter Scharf (score); Jule Styne (songs)
Cinematography Edward Cronjager, Harry J. Wild
Edited by Harry Marker
Distributed by RKO Pictures

Release date: November 1, 1951

Running time: 106 minutes

Oscar Context:

The musical was nominated for the Best Sound Recording (John O. Aalberg) Oscar, but did not win.

 

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