Comparison of Thousands Cheer to Stage Door Canteen is inevitable and natural. Both have the same format. Kathryn Grayson is the colonel’s (John Boles) daughter who puts on a super-duper camp show which not only re-introduces Jose Iturbi as part of the entertainment – the eminent pianist-maestro is already made part of the regular plot – but it brings forth Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Red Skelton, Eleanor Powell and others.
Paramount keynote of this expert filmusical is the tiptop manner in which young George Sidney has marshalled his multiple talents so that none trips over the other. It’s a triumph for Sidney on his first major league effort.
Paul Jarrico and Richard Collins supplied a smooth story to carry the mammoth marquee values. Casting Kathryn Grayson as herself, a click diva, making her longhair farewell at an Iturbi concert, is as plausible as it is appealing. Her idea to move with papa Boles to his camp, in an endeavor to reconcile him and Mary Astor (the mother), is well interlarded with romance and basic Americanism.
Judy Garland’s ‘Joint Is Jumpin’ Down at Carnegie Hall’ (unbilled specialty) is the cue for Iturbi to boogie-woogie; and his Steinwaying straight or barrelhouse, is something for the cats.
1943: Nominations: Best Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction, Scoring of a Musical Picture