This unauthorized gray-market European disc combines songs directly mastered from the soundtracks of three Hollywood musicals, Du Barry Was a Lady, The Sky's the Limit, and 42nd Street. Annotations are minimal and not entirely accurate; a few minor songs are missing; sound quality varies somewhat; and, of course, the recordings, intended for the visual medium, sometimes disappoint when heard without the movies, as dialogue drowns out music and one hears extensive tap dancing without being able to see the dancers. Still, there is some classic music here. Du Barry Was a Lady (1943) is a movie adaptation of a Cole Porter Broadway musical, albeit without much of Porter's original music retained and what there is, e.g., "Katie Went to Haiti," seriously bowdlerized for general audiences. This was the height of the Swing Era, and Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra are featured, along with, for example, an extensive parody of other bandleaders whose styles are mimicked. The arrangements are heavily swing-oriented. The best moment is Gene Kelly's rendition of Porter's "Do I Love You." The Sky's the Limit (1943) is a Fred Astaire picture with songs by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. (Co-star Joan Leslie had her songs dubbed by Sally Sweetland, which is not noted on the album.) Astaire's version of "One for My Baby" is actually the premiere performance of this song, which later became a signature number for Frank Sinatra. Astaire's take on it (which includes an unseen dance routine) is much livelier than Sinatra's, however. The odd film out on the disc is 42nd Street (1933), from ten years earlier than the others, with songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler handle most of the vocals, but a young Ginger Rogers gets some lines in "Shuffle Off to Buffalo." So, there's plenty of good music on this album, even if it is presented in such an offhand manner.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann