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Song of the Open Road Reviews

A sweet young 14-year-old named Jane Powell made her debut in this film, and they surrounded her with several cameos to help the project along, although she didn't need anyone but herself. In a slight parody of Shirley Temple-Judy Garland, Powell is an immensely successful and popular child movie actress who is lonely. She makes a movie about the CCC fruit pickers (this was an actual group begun by Roosevelt to help youngsters have employment during the Depression) and grows to love the life. So when her next acting job is offered, she takes off, leaves her mother, Hobart, a note, jumps aboard her bike and pedals out to where the young people are doing their best to harvest a crop before it dies on the vine. Powell changes her hair color, rearranges her tresses, alters her name and goes unspotted by the youngsters, who include Granville, Moran, O'Neill and Christy. Powell is happier than she's been in years to be just one of the guys. However, she bites off more than she can chew in her attempt at being a bicycle repair person and ruins several bikes. She also thinks she's a matchmaker and her meddling almost puts an end to a pair of romances. All the while, Hollywood is up in arms about where Powell has gone, wondering if she was the victim of foul play. There's a problem with the crop and the pickers need help so Powell goes back to Hollywood, rounds up a bunch of members of the movie crowd (hence the cameos) who all pitch in to help save the crop on the ranch. In between the details of this simple story, Fields does a monologue, Bergen and McCarthy do some special material, Kaye leads his band and the Condos Brothers dance. McCarthy and Fields had already established their radio feud on several shows and it continues here, although the insults are not nearly as good as the ones that played on the air. The film earned Oscar nominations for its score and for the song "Too Much in Love" (Walter Kent, Kim Gannon). Other songs include: "Here It Is Monday," "Rollin' Down the Road," "Delightfully Dangerous," (Kent Kent, Gannon), "Hawaiian War Chant" (Johnny Noble, Prince Leleiohaku of Hawaii, Ralph Freed), "Carmona," "Notre Dame," and Schubert's "Marche Militaire." Good dance direction from George Dobbs.