Murder With Music (1941)
Released in 1941: Some of the pioneers of American Jazz and Swing display their talents in a showcase of music and mahem.
Directed by George P. Quigley
Written by Georges Friedland, Victor Vicas, Norman Borisoff and Augustus Smith.
The Actors: Bob Howard (the editor), Milton Williams (Ted), Nellie Hill (Lola), George Oliver (Hal), Bill Dillard (Mike), Marjorie Oliver (Bill Smith's secretary), Ruth Cobbs (Mary Smith), Ken Renard (Bill Smith), Andrew Maize (Jerry), Pinky Williams (Lewis), Skippy Williams (band leader), Alston (dancer, Alston and Young), Noble Sissle (band leader, Noble Sissel and his Orchestra), Young (dancer, Alston and Young), Johnson (specialty dancer).
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I must be in some kind of funky karma right now, because over the past week or so it seems that every old movie that I watch and add to the site has a couple of girls fighting each other. I remember back in the 1980's watching Linda Evans and Joan Collins of the television series 'Dynasty' fighting in the lily pond and thinking that I was watching television history to see two women fighting like that, but I'm finding more and more catfights among the actresses in these older motion pictures. This movie is no exception, with a doozie of a fight between the nightclub owner's wife and the star singer near the end of the story. Sheesh, I'm getting a whole new respect for the pugilistic talents of women throughout the ages. The weaker sex? I'm not so sure anymore. But the catfight at the end is just a small note in a film full of the talents of the African American jazz and swing performers of the 1940's. This movie is chock full of amazing music from some of the performers that created and performed the music that eventually evolved into rock and roll. Bob Howard, the narrator and singer, became the first African American to host a network television variety show when CBS created The Bob Howard Show in 1948, about 7 years after this movie. Along with him, just about every actor in the film was a top notch performer who displayed their music talents throughout the story. In fact, if you are looking for an engrossing murder mystery, you might be a bit disappointed, but if you want to experience some of the best music and entertainment from the pioneers of American Jazz and Swing, pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter and get ready to tap those feet to the beat.
Alston and Young tap dance to a song by Noble Sissle and his orchestra
Bob Howard and Milton Williams
Bob Howard in Murder With Music
Bob Howard sings to his girl
Marjorie Oliver in Murder With Music
Nellie Hill and George Oliver
George Oliver tries to kiss Nellie Hill
Nellie Hill and Pinky Williams
Nellie Hill and Pinky Williams
Nellie Hill singing
Noble Sissle and his orchestra
Ruth Cobbs and Ken Renard
Skippy Williams and his Sax