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The Big Show-Off

USA 1945
produced by
Sydney M. Williams, Claude Spence (associate) for Spence-Williams Productions/Republic
directed by Howard Bretherton
starring Arthur Lake, Dale Evans, Lionel Stander, George Meeker, Paul Hurst, Marjorie Manners, Sammy Stein, Louis Adlon, Dan Tobey, Douglas Wood, Emmett Lynn, Sherry Cameron, Klayton Kirby, Anson Weeks
screenplay by László Vadnay, Richard Weil, songs by Dave Oppenheim (music), Roy Ingraham (lyrics), Dale Evans

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Pianist Sandy (Arthur Lake) is madly in love with singer June (Dale Evans), but she eems to hardly notice him and have only eyes for their show's master of ceremonies Wally (George Meeker), an asshole if there ever was one. However, Joe (Lionel Stander), owner of the club they work at, wants to help Sandy, so after a few unsuccessful attempts to make him win her heart, he arranges it that Sandy beats up someone in the club right in front of June, then he spreads the rumour that Sanmdy is really the masked wrestler Devil (Paul Hurst) whom noone has ever seen without his mask ... and June buys it and suddenly feels drawn to Sandy and the two become a couple. The plan backfires though when the Devil announces his engagement on stage - and since the real Devil is not Sandy, he's announcing his engagement to another woman, breaking June's heart.

Sandy, who thought he had everything, suddenly finds himself in a lose-lose situation, if he continues claiming he is the Devil, he can't be with June, being engaged to someone else, but if he admits to not being the Devil, June will think he is a cheap cheat (which is essentially true, even if Sandy himself was cheated into the whole situation).

Then fate intervenes when the real Devil is accused with assault and (since nobody knows who the real Devil is) Sandy is arrested for it. At the police though he learns that he could go free if it was an assault out of jealousy, only his wrestling career would be over - which is exactly what  Sandy needs to not lose face in front of June, and in the end, they are a happy couple - watching a wrestling tournament ...


Of course, the story of this musical comedy is very silly and totally lacks credibility, and the film would have vastly profited from a more creative direction and better staged dance numbers - yet at the same time the film is not all bad, both Dale Evans (years away from becoming America's TV cowboy mama of the nation) and Lionel Stander give fun performances, and some of the plot devices are at least amusing - if by no means credibly. But masterpiece this is not.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD