Two Tickets Too Many
"Two Tickets to Broadway" may not have been a MGM musical but it is certainly one which is made in the same style with many big musical numbers and a lot of pretty starlets. And if you are fan of those MGM musicals from a bygone era I am pretty sure you will enjoy "Two Tickets to Broadway". But, there has to be a but, because unlike many of those MGM musicals "Two Tickets to Broadway" is not as well known and I put that down to the fact that if you stripped away all the songs, the dancing and the comedy you are probably left with less than 10 minutes of story making it sadly an out of balance musical.
With the whole town turning out to give her a huge send off Nancy Peters (Janet Leigh - Holiday Affair) leaves Pelican Falls heading for the bright lights of Broadway and stardom. On the bus she meets Joyce (Ann Miller), Hannah (Gloria DeHaven) and Foxy (Barbara Lawrence) who after a disastrous engagement on a showboat are heading back to New York and their agent Lew Conway (Eddie Bracken) who might be dating Hannah but is lousy at his job. Lew also represents singer Dan Carter (Tony Martin) who after two years of trying to make it is ready to call it a day and go home. Feeling the pressure Lew cons Dan in to staying by saying that he has an audition for the Bob Crosby show and the act will include Hannah, Joyce, Foxy and Nancy as back up dancers and singers. But the truth is that Lew has not arranged the audition and somehow has to sort things out before they all give up on him.
First up I enjoyed "Two Tickets to Broadway" it was fun, fast paced with some really enjoyable musical numbers but I am going to have to say what is wrong with it right away. What's wrong is that the storyline is slim even by musical standards and as already mentioned if you took out all the comedy and musical numbers I doubt what was left would make up 10 minutes of film. It means that if you like your musicals to have some substance "Two Tickets to Broadway" leaves you wanting and feels like someone, possibly producer Howard Hughes, trying to out do MGM and there musicals but making the mistake of just throwing more big production numbers into things rather than working on the story. Having said that, whilst slim the basic idea of a dodgy agent conning his stars is amusing and the predictable romantic subplot between Dan and Nancy is nice it just needed more work done on it.
So what that means is we get musical numbers, lot of musical numbers and a lot of big productions. It is too much and the perfect example of this is the scene in Pelican Falls as the town and High School band turn out to see Nancy off, we get 3 songs, 3 entertaining songs but 3 is too many and it drags the scene out. And it is the same throughout because there are a lot of musical numbers thrown in which just feel like they have no purpose other than someone liked them and wanted them included. Having said that some of these musical numbers are great from the fun "Big Chief Hole-In-the-Ground" to the brilliant "Let's Make Comparisons" which sees Bob Crosby sing with a mannequin of his brother. It is a shame that "Two Tickets to Broadway" feels like it has too many musical numbers because a bit of restraint would have improved things no end.
Aside from the musical numbers there is of course the cast and we have the typical issue when it comes to the romance because Tony Martin was 13 years older than Janet Leigh and whilst they sing well together there is no chemistry between them. In fact all the stars which include Gloria DeHaven, Barbara Lawrence, Ann Miller and Eddie Bracken all deliver fun performances but to me there was little chemistry between any of the stars making some of the humorous banter end up mechanical.
What this all boils down to is that "Two Tickets to Broadway" is a bit of a hit and miss musical because for everything which works there are a couple of things which don't. But the good thing is that it is fun and you remember it for the funnier scenes such as Bob Crosby singing with a mannequin of Bing rather than for the bad.