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A dean of a music school undergoes a transformation after she meets a swing bandleader.
Mousy, staid Katherine Hilliard is dean of the Hilliard School of Music which was founded by her ancestors one hundred and seventy years before. After the school's current Board of Trustees declare themselves pleased with Katherine's work, she tells the Board that after the annual Spring Festival, she and school treasurer Ralph Wainwright plan to be married. Katherine then leaves for New York to consult with Dr. Herbert Benham, a composer and critic, who is to be guest conductor at the Festival. On the crowded train into New York, Katherine is forced to stand in the vestibule of a car reserved for Barry Clayton's band, and he invites her in. Barry and the band attempt to entertain her with a swing number but, much to Barry's chagrin, she announces that she doesn't like it, prompting Barry to declare that she has "ice water in her veins." In New York Katherine meets Herbert at his office, but is still confused by her encounter with Barry and wonders if she is indeed a "cold fish." Herbert suggests that she remove her glasses and let her hair down. She is pleased with that "look" and goes on a shopping spree to buy more fashionable clothes. After a new, elegant Katherine emerges, she takes a cab to El Sudan, the nightclub where Barry is appearing. When the driver tells her she cannot be admitted without an escort, Katherine approaches a total stranger, well-dressed Jimmy Hale, and invites him to join her for dinner. In the cab she tells him she thinks swing musicians are crude exhibitionists, with Barry heading the list, and "crooners" not far behind. From the bandstand in the club, Barry introduces Jimmy, "the crown prince of crooners" and persuades him to do a song. While Jimmy sings, Barry introduces himself to Katherine, whom he does not recognize, telling her that she is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. When she puts on her glasses and reminds him about a certain train ride, he is flabbergasted, but Katherine thanks him for forcing her to change her appearance. A few moments later, Katherine spots a distinguished-looking, French speaking, older gentleman entering, and tells Jimmy she must leave. In the cab to her hotel, Jimmy reveals that he and Barry have often been rivals for the same girl. The next morning, Jimmy sends Katherine flowers and invites her to lunch, and although she tells him that she is engaged, he arranges to meet her at Benham's office. Herbert is stunned by the "new" Katherine. Jimmy, who knows Herbert, calls with a change of plan and asks Katherine to meet him at Mindy's restaurant. Barry and his sidekick, Dilly, are also there, and Dilly tells columnist Earl Williams about Barry's interest in Katherine. When the same distinguished gentleman who was at El Sudan comes into Mindy's, Katherine skips out once more. Barry then tells Jimmy that he is really in love with Katherine. Later, Katherine tries to write to Ralph, but her mind wanders and she decides to go out. She finds Jimmy waiting for her, and they go for a romantic walk in a park. The next day, four bellboys arrive at Katherine's room with flowers from Barry. In the meantime, Ralph has called Herbert to find out what has happened to Katherine and Herbert covers for her. Later, Katherine tells Herbert that she is in love with Jimmy. After more gifts arrive from Barry, he phones Katherine and she agrees to meet him, intending to tell him she is going to marry Jimmy. At her hotel, Katherine finds a telegram from Ralph saying that he will be arriving momentarily. When Barry shows up with room service and dinner, plus an engagement ring en route from Cartier's, Katherine begs him to leave before Ralph arrives and promises to meet him later at a jam session. Herbert tries to help her by telling Ralph that she is in love with another man and Ralph, assuming Herbert is the other man, socks him and leaves. Later, Katherine asks Jimmy to take her to the jam session where Williams utters a cryptic apology to Jimmy. Jimmy then finds a copy of Williams' column, which suggests that Katherine has been using Jimmy to get to Barry. She denies Williams' charge, but when Barry shows up and announces their engagement, Jimmy is totally disillusioned. After Jimmy socks him, Williams suddenly realizes Katherine's connection with the Hilliard School and writes an article, with accompanying photo, about her "goings-on." This scandalizes the school's trustees and Katherine is removed as dean with a final decision about her future to be made after the Festival. Barry, Jimmy and Herbert team up to try to save Katherine's job and reputation. At the Festival, Herbert conducts a spirited version of a classical work, then introduces a classic in the swing tradition, played and conducted by Barry. Jimmy closes the concert with a popular song. The concert is a big success and the trustees are convinced Katherine has done no wrong. After the concert, Barry and Jimmy go to Katherine's office where Jimmy waits outside while Katherine reveals her feelings to Barry. A dejected Barry emerges, socks Jimmy and tells Dilly that he is through with women. However, Dilly introduces him to an ardent fan who is waiting for him in a cab, and Barry is thrilled when the fan turns out to be Betty Grable. Jimmy then surprises Katherine in her office and they embrace.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 17 May 1946|
|Release Date:||1946||Production Date:||
EB*; UCLA; AFI
35mm nitrate; 5 reels; M17432; F43-R11-2
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
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