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This review is from: Orchestra Wives [DVD] (DVD)
This is the best of the two Miller movies. The storyline is largely incidental, the important thing being the music - and what music. The Miller band never sounded better than when recorded on the Fox sound stage and 'though all the numbers are well known Miller tunes, the versions on this DVD are very different from the RCA Victor studio recordings. There are plenty of sequences showing the band in action and for dedicated fans it's possible to pick out and name the musicians, some of whom would carve out distinguished musical careers later - Billy May and Ray Anthony in the trumpet section, Bobby Hacket, also trumpet but in this film playing guitar, (he'd just had some dental surgery). Tex Benneke of course on tenor sax. Incidentally, George Montgomery's trumpet solos were ghosted by John Best - one of the most underated sidemen in the big band business, who as well as a key man for Miller was also a stallwort for Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Jerry Gray and Billy May before taking up studio work on the demise of the big name bands. If you are partial to the music of the early forties, then this DVD is a must because Glenn Miller was the benchmark against which all the rest were measured. Oh and there's also the bonus of some extraordinary gymnastics by the Nicholas Brothers.
Alex J Gray