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Ship Ahoy

“In this delightful revival of one of Eleanor Powell's neglected films, one can find all sorts of half-forgotten joys that lie hidden in MGM's musical treasures. Ship Ahoy is a wartime piece of escapism, made when the horror of overseas combat was finally apparent on the home-front. At MGM, Skelton was comedy-king, and his work with Eleanor Powell in Minnelli's I Dood It (1943) and this film, were big box-office hits. The plot is extremely whimsical, with its usual subplot of enemy agents attempting to steal a strategic wartime secret from Miss Powell during a cruise to Puerto Rico. Fortunately, Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra are part of the ship's personnel and this gives us a chance to see the very young Frank Sinatra singing on-key, vulnerable, and, in retrospect, rather moving as he croons ‘Poor You' in a Cossack uniform. There is also Jo Stafford, plump, wonderful and harmonizing with the Pied Pipers. The era of the big bands is with us here, alive and well. There is also Bert Lahr, vastly amusing, sharing witticisms with deadpan comedienne, Virginia O'Brien. Naturally, there is Eleanor Powell, as brilliant as ever, tap dancing with all the grace and fluidity of a zephyr, especially to a Conga-jazz tune called ‘I'll Take Tallulah.' Her only competition comes momentarily, when, all of a sudden, the black comedy tap dancers, Stump and Stumpy, break loose and tear up the screen. Absolutely not to be missed.”

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