Any assessment of this collection, the third disc in a three-disc set, must be conditioned upon its price. The three CDs together were selling for about 18 dollars upon release, or about six dollars per disc. For that extremely cheap price, one is generally thankful for what one gets. In this case, one gets 20 tracks from the 1940s and early '50s, borrowed from studio recordings and, in several cases, original Broadway cast albums. All the songs are associated directly with a film or stage musical, in many cases both, since some of the songs were written for shows and then included in movie adaptations or otherwise interpolated on the big screen. For example, Lena Horne's performance of "Where or When" and Mickey Rooney's of "Manhattan" are from Words and Music, a bio-pic about Rodgers & Hart. But, of course, the songs were written originally for stage shows scored by the songwriting team. In most cases, the person or persons singing also appeared in the movie from which the song derives, but not always. For example, band singer Art Lund has two selections, but he was not associated with either of the films in which they were featured. But Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Doris Day, Peter Lawford, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and others are heard performing songs they also sang in the movies or shows in which the songs were featured. The selections range from standards like "Swinging on a Star" to lost gems like "Friendship," Kaye's comic song from Cole Porter's 1939 musical DuBarry Was a Lady. Sound quality is iffy, as if a bunch of 78 rpm records had been transferred and then subjected to sound processing that eliminated the upper frequencies along with the clicks. But for six dollars, the collection isn't bad.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann