5.8/10
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33 user 14 critic

Second Chorus (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 3 January 1941 (USA)
When perennial college students Danny O'Neill and Hank Taylor are forced to make it on their own, the competitive pair get jobs with Artie Shaw's band and reunite with ex-manager Ellen Miller.

Director:

H.C. Potter

Writers:

Frank Cavett (original story), Elaine Ryan (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire ... Danny O'Neill
Paulette Goddard ... Ellen Miller
Artie Shaw ... Self
Charles Butterworth ... Mr. Chisholm
Burgess Meredith ... Hank Taylor
Frank Melton ... Stu
Jimmy Conlin ... Mr. Dunn (as Jimmy Conlon)
Don Brodie Don Brodie ... Clerk
Marjorie Kane ... Secretary
Joan Barclay ... Receptionist
Willa Pearl Curtis Willa Pearl Curtis ... Scrubwoman
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra ... Artie Shaw's Orchestra (as Artie Shaw And His Band)
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Storyline

Danny and Hank are surprised when Artie Shaw hires competent manager Ellen away from their college band. The two trumpet players scheme to get into Shaw's outfit themselves, each trying to trump the other's plays. Written by Diana Hamilton <hamilton@gl.umbc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 January 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor de mi vida See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fred Astaire would later refer to this as the worst film he ever made. Artie Shaw confided that it put him off film acting. See more »

Goofs

At c.3 minutes Danny's chair suddenly jumps to immediately (and intimately) next to Ellen's left side at the table.. See more »

Quotes

Artie Shaw: [to Ellen] I said 'music,' and Father said 'bottlecaps.' Father won.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: A UNIVERSITY IN NEW ENGLAND See more »

Connections

Featured in Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Mr. Chisholm
Music by Bernard Hanighen
Played by Artie Shaw's band (uncredited)
Fred Astaire conducting and dancing (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Only Watchable Because of Astaire
8 July 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

There are not many strong points to "Second Chorus", and it is really only watchable because of Fred Astaire, whose talent and charisma provide for some good moments. The writing is noticeably weak, and the rest of the production is not strong enough to overcome the faulty story-line and the mediocre dialogue. The whole premise of the college band does not work for a moment, and there is never a time when the viewer is not overly conscious that the whole situation is contrived.

To be sure, some of Astaire's most enjoyable pictures have lightweight plots, which allow him and the rest of the cast to be the center of attention. But the good ones are much more creative than this, and they also come with much better characters and dialogue. As slight as the story lines may be in "Top Hat" or "Swing Time", you don't think about it while you are watching them, because everything else is of such high quality. "Second Chorus", on the other hand, seems thrown together, as if they just hoped that Astaire could keep it afloat by himself.

That's not to criticize the rest of the cast, who do their best. Paulette Goddard can be very charming, but her character here gives her very little to work with. She does manage to get a couple of nice moments out of it, anyway. Burgess Meredith is stuck with a character who is both ill-defined and annoying, so he never has any chance to show what he could do.

It's worth watching once, as is practically anything that stars Astaire. There is at least one very good number, and most of the time it is watchable, as long as your expectations are not too high.


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