Comedy / Musical / Romance
Comedy / Musical / Romance
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Movie star Brooks Mason tries to avoid his fans and spend some weeks on vacation. When Hawaiian plantation owner George Smith is mistaken by Mason's fans for Mason and brought to Mason's house. They decide to exchange their identities for a few weeks. But George Smith is mobbed by Mason's fans again on a personal appearance tour in New York City, Mason falls in love with dancer Dorothy March, who also is on her way to Hawaii. Problems for Mason arise, due to the fact that Smith is engaged to Cecilia Grayson and her wealthy father believes that Smith has double-crossed him. Mason isn't able to establish a connection with Smith in New York City due to his agent's orders. —Stephan Eichenberg.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Mar 01, 2022 at 12:14 AM
grade Movie Reviews
Fun but an awful lot of dancing,....if you like that sort of thing
Robert Young plays dual roles--one is a famous movie star who longs to escape and get some needed rest and relaxation and the other is a pineapple plantation owner from Hawaii who is visiting the States. The two meet and decide to switch roles for a while. However, total chaos results and no one believes either one when problems develop and they try to explain the switch. As a result, the actor is almost forced to marry the plantation owner's fiancé and the plantation owner is thought to be crazy and ends up in a straight-jacker! It's all pretty funny, but is greatly hindered by the ill-defined focus of the film. That's because in addition to this cute plot, there is a parallel element to the film that just doesn't seem to fit. Eleanor Powell, the Queen of Dance, is also on hand and spends a HUGE amount of the film dancing and dancing and dancing. And these dancing segments don't seem all that well integrated into the rest of the film. It either should have been ALL comedy or ALL dance--making it BOTH was, in hindsight, a mistake. In addition, while I really liked the nice guys that Young played, I HATED Burns and Allen, as they seemed like more of a distraction than anything else. In fact, Gracie's brand of humor, to me, wore very thin. I guess that they aren't everyone's taste!
Not a great film but a pleasant way to pass the time
Honolulu's not perfect (in my opinion), starting with a rather ridiculous story with a tired scenario that can get confusingly told in places. It was unevenly paced, some parts were fine, others were rushed and others were pedestrian. George Burns doesn't really have a lot to do and was a touch bland, and his chemistry with Gracie Allen while pleasant could have shone more if they were on screen longer together, Allen's chemistry with Eleanor Powell fares much better. Honolulu is still a pleasant film though, that is not among the best film musicals but a long way from the worst. The score is lush and while the songs are not the most memorable set of songs from a musical they are still very good and well-placed, the title song, the Hawaiian Medley and The Leader Doesn't Like Music particularly good. Honolulu does have some witty dialogue, with Robert Young having some lovely comic moments, and the shipboard costume party was a lot of fun especially to see what the characters dressed up as. Terrific also was the choreography, the best being the hula dance(you'd be hard pressed to find a sexier one on film), Powell's homage to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and the tap/skipping-rope routine, the last one possibly being the most complicated- a lot of people would find it impossible to do- but danced effortlessly by Powell. And despite the black-face in the Robinson homage causing alarm bells for some who are yet to see it there is nothing really offensive here, although the rather stereotypical and out of place Chinese valet character played by William Fung will not work for some. The direction is pedestrian at times in the non-musical scenes but is very efficient mostly while the performances are good too, Gracie Allen is adorable and very funny and Robert Young is charming and quite gifted in comedy. But Honolulu is Eleanor Powell's film, she radiates the screen and generates warmth and ease, plus her dancing is just incredible (easily among the best dancers on film). Overall, not great but pleasant entertainment. 6/10 Bethany Cox
Enough To Go Around
Burns&Allen's last film as a team was Honolulu where they supported Robert Young and Eleanor Powell. Gracie did two more guest star appearances in film while George would wait over 30 years to go back in The Sunshine Boys which netted him an Oscar. Oddly enough their characters do not have any scenes together until the very end of the movie, almost as if they were trying their separate wings.Honolulu was the start of a winding down of a vogue for south seas movies that started over at Paramount with Dorothy Lamour and her sarong and with Bing Crosby's Waikiki Wedding celebrating a trip to Hawaii Bing took in real life. MGM wasn't going to let Paramount get all the tropical box office.Robert Young plays a dual role as both a movie star and a visiting planter from Hawaii. Young trying to escape the constant demands of his adoring public offers to switch places with his lookalike. But he gets into all kinds of complications on the ship to Hawaii when he meets Eleanor Powell on board. He falls for her, but the planter, now miserably cooped up in his hotel room because he can't get out in public is engaged to Rita Johnson, daughter of another planter Clarence Kolb back on Oahu.Let's just say that with two Robert Youngs there was enough to go around by the time Honolulu was over with a few bumps along the way.No memorable songs came out of Honolulu, but Eleanor Powell had some great numbers including a hula tap dance. She seems to have invented her own dance genre because I've never seen anything like it before or since. The production values are also a little skimpy for an MGM musical. But with Eleanor dancing and George and Gracie doing their thing Honolulu holds up very nicely for over 70 years.
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