Step Lively

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Musical, USA, 1944, 88 min.

Tagline It's Fun!

Synopsis Penniless theatrical impresario Gordon Miller has housed his entire cast of twenty-two in a New York hotel managed by Gribble, his brother-in-law. When Gribble informs him that Wagner, the supervising director of the hotel, has discovered the troupe's unpaid bill, Gordon assures him that he has found a financial backer for the show. Gordon's financial woes multiply when playwright Glenn Russell arrives from Illinois and threatens to call his uncle, a judge, unless the impresario refunds the $1,500 he had accepted to stage Glenn's play. To placate Glenn, Gordon checks him into the hotel and lies that his play is in rehearsal, inviting him to attend a performance the following morning. That evening, Gordon takes Glenn to a nightclub to see his star, Christine Marlowe, perform. When Chris invites Glenn to join her in a song, the women in the audience go wild, and Gordon, recognizing Glenn's potential as a singer, asks Chris to convince him to join the show. The next morning, Simon Jenkins, Gordon's backer, watches a dreadful rendition of Glenn's play and is about to withdraw his support when his companion, Miss Abbott, hears Glenn sing and insists on investing in the show. Jenkins then offers Gordon $50,000 to produce his musical revue, explaining that he is a representative of Miss Abbott's wealthy patron, who wishes to purchase the show as a starring vehicle for her. Before the deal is finalized, however, an impatient Wagner demands that Gordon pay his hotel bill. To stall, Gordon lies that Glenn has become ill and is unable to move, and Chris convinces Glenn to go along with the scheme. Wagner brings a doctor to examine the "patient," and when Jenkins appears at the hotel room door, Gordon locks the doctor on the balcony. Jenkins presents Gordon with a check signed by a Los Angeles millionaire and is about to endorse it when Wagner enters the suite and threatens to call the police unless Gordon vacates the premises immediately. Wagner's threat panics Jenkins, who attempts to run away. When the doctor, who has overheard the entire proceedings, reveals the name of the wealthy benefactor, Wagner, Gribble and Gordon pursue Jenkins and coerce him into endorsing the check, which Wagner then confiscates. After Wagner leaves the hotel room, Chris arrives with news that Jenkins plans to cancel the check. Because the check has been drawn on a California bank, Gordon reasons that he has five days before it will bounce, and decides to stage the show in three days. Knowing that Glenn's singing will ensure the show's success, Gordon asks Chris to romance him into performing in the production. When Glenn discovers her duplicity, however, he walks out of the show and returns home to Illinois, causing Chris to realize that she has fallen in love with him. To lure Glenn back to New York, Gordon cables him that Chris is in love with him. On opening night, Wagner and Gribble discover that the check has bounced and Wagner threatens to jail Gordon. At that moment, Glenn arrives, and to distract Wagner, feigns a suicide attempt. Gordon then sends his assistants, Harry and Binion, to start the show while he stalls Wagner and Gribble. As Wagner, Gribble and Gordon stand their "death watch," the show begins, and when the time for Glenn's performance arrives, Gordon stuffs Wagner in the closet and rushes Glenn on stage. Escaping just in time to witness the audience's acclaim for Glenn's performance, Wagner happily acknowledges that Gordon has a hit on his hands.

Directed by Tim Whelan  

Starring Frank Sinatra, George Murphy, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria DeHaven, Walter Slezak, more...

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