Film: 8153

Music | 1940 | Sound | B/W


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The beginning of a short film featuring the 1930s / 40s British jazz / swing group Harry Parry and his Band, with guest appearances by singer Shirley Lenner, pianist Renara and dancer Irene Cutler. See 837 and possibly 684 for further excerpts.

Accompanied by the music of the Harry Parry band, the title appears against the image of a gently swinging piano keyboard, and the other credits against a background of turning musical notes and a kaleidoscopic effect of notes and musical instruments.

The girlish Shirley Lenner (SL), wearing a white blouse with a dark horizontal stripe across it, peers around the side of a large leather-bound volume, which is open with the spine pointing towards us and bears the title 'Higher Mathematics'; the silhouette of a stone bust can be seen at the left of the screen, suggesting that she is in a library; as the tune played by the band changes, she rises above the volume and stands leaning over the top. A closer shot of SL, so that the book is scarcely visible, as she starts to sing an introductory song, the gist of which is that she would rather be listening to Harry Parry than studying Mathematics. A slightly more distant view, with the top of the book visible. A close-up of SL continuing to sing, ending with a cry of 'Give me Renara!'

A dark-haired woman is sitting at a piano, playing the familiar theme from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto, with a row of small white arches behind her. A more distant shot of her, taking in more of the grand piano, a potted plant and some white columns between the arches, suggesting a 'palm court' setting. A closer view of Renara, as she switches to a faster, more popular piece. A more distant view, showing even more of the piano, as she changes tune once again, to a slower piece. A close-up shot. We return to a more distant view again, while she changes first to an even slower piece, then finally to a much more jaunty tune. We see her hands alone moving along the keyboard, reflected in the polished wood of the piano. The most inclusive view of her again, as she breaks into a very rapid tune to finish her performance, ending with a gesture.

SL is seen still leaning on the leather tome, as she begins to add a new verse to her opening song, which concludes with a call to 'give me Irene Cutler and her show'.

Irene Cutler (IC) appears from the right of the screen in white frilly shirt and a long black skirt that she picks up at the hem with her left hand, while she tap dances in rather cumbersome high-heeled shoes, to the tune of 'Honeysuckle Rose', played on the piano; a closed grand piano on a stage is visible to the left behind her, with white columns, a network of small white arches and potted plants further behind; she soon ceases to hold her skirt and swing both arms as she dances. A closer shot of IC dancing, with the end of the piano still visible in the background to the left. A close-up shot of her from the neck down, the head just occasionally moving into view. A close-up view of her feet and the lower part of her legs, as she dances. A view of the lower part of the body, as she gives a twirl that allows her skirt to float a little, before she takes it by the edge with her left hand again. A more distant view including her whole body, as she incorporates a kind of can-can dance into her routine.

The excerpt ends.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 8153.