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One Hundred Men and a Girl

(1937 b 85')

En: 7 Ed: 7

The daughter of an unemployed musician manages to get funding and Stokowski to conduct an orchestra of jobless musicians.

After a concert John Cardwell (Adolphe Menjou) tells Leopold Stokowski (himself) that he is a musician and needs work, but he is pushed out. Cardwell finds a purse and pays the rent. Patricia Cardwell (Deanna Durbin) thinks her father got a job. Michael Borodoff (Mischa Auer) plays piano, and she sings "It's Raining Sunbeams." Cardwell tells her she can't go with him to rehearsal; but she goes and learns that he was not hired. Cardwell pretends he worked; but Patricia cries. He shows her the purse he found, and she returns it to Mrs. Frost (Alice Brady), asking for the $52.10 they used for rent and carfare. Mrs. Frost invites her to eat, and Patricia sings "A Heart That's Free." Patricia says that many musicians are out of work and asks Mrs. Frost if she would sponsor an orchestra. Patricia finds her father playing cards and says she is starting an orchestra. She calls Mrs. Frost, who tells Michael so they can believe it.

Cardwell organizes an orchestra that rehearses in a garage as the owner (Billy Gilbert) demands the rent. Patricia learns that Mrs. Frost went to Europe and goes to John Frost (Eugene Pallette) at his club. He and his friends play practical jokes on each other, and so he dismisses Patricia's request but then goes after her later. Patricia tells the singing cab driver to wait for the sponsor; but when he arrives, Frost denies he is Cardwell's benefactor, saying they could not make money without a name. When Frost calls it a joke, Cardwell socks him. Patricia sneaks into Stokowski's rehearsal and is ejected; but she answers the phone and says Stokowski is not going on vacation but will conduct unemployed musicians. From the balcony she sings "Allelujah" to Mozart and asks Stokowski to conduct her orchestra; but he says he'll be back in six months. The cab driver praises Patricia's singing and gives her a ride home. Patricia cries and is consoled by her father and Michael.

Newspapers report that Stokowski will conduct jobless musicians. Frost sees it and objects, but his two friends want to sponsor it and call Stokowski, whose manager denies it. The musicians read it; Patricia calls the editor and realizes she gave him the story. Frost comes in and asks Cardwell to sign a contract over her objections. Stokowski tells Frost that it is not true. Patricia sneaks the musicians into Stokowski's house and tells him she told the newspapers. He asks to hear her hundred reasons, and she has the musicians play. Stokowski listens and starts conducting. He postpones his trip and conducts the orchestra in concert. He asks Patricia to speak, and she sings "Traviata."

This moving and amusing film has great music. The extraordinary effort of a young woman helps the wealthy and a famous conductor to help deserving musicians who need work, which results in more music and wider prosperity for society, reflecting one of the many liberal policies that helped to alleviate the Depression.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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