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It Happened in Brooklyn

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It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante, Gloria Grahame
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It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante, Gloria Grahame

Synopsis of It Happened in Brooklyn

“Everybody is miserable in Brooklyn!” declares Anne Fielding, a pretty music teacher. It may start out that way, but Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Jimmy Durante, and Peter Lawford bring plenty of music, romance, and laughter to New York’s most colorful borough. Anne (Grayson) has to teach music because her opera career started off on the wrong note. Army private Dannie Miller (Sinatra) is too shy to let anyone hear him sing. Jamie, an English duke’s grandson (Lawford), is too stuffy to fit in. And Nick, the janitor (Durante), has never known love. But they all discover anything is possible if they believe in each other and the spirit of Brooklyn.

Editorial review of It Happened in Brooklyn courtesy of

Jobs are scarce. Rooms to rent are scarcer. Times aren’t easy for returning GIs in the years after World War II. But falling in love, that’s easy. It Happened in Brooklyn. And it happens with Frank Sinatra (in a performance critically hailed as the best of his then-young screen career) starring as an ex-soldier and with a lot of humor and Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn songs. The Song’s Gotta Come from the Heart, one tune says and, with Sinatra mimicking Jimmy Durante as he socks it over with the affable “Schnozzola,” it has enough heart to envelop all of Flatbush. Kathryn Grayson, Peter Lawford and Gloria Grahame help make the movie magic happen. And most magical of all is Sinatra’s silken delivery of a ballad forever linked with him afterward: Time After Time.

The dreamy voice doesn’t seem to fit the scrawny young fellow singing– but this was precisely the early appeal of the young Frank Sinatra. He, and The Voice, are on agreeable display in this low-key MGM musical, with Frankie cast as an ex-GI ecstatic at returning to the greatest place on earth. Where else but Brooklyn? The 1947 movie is on nobody’s short list of great MGM efforts, and it feels cobbled together from different projects. Sometimes it’s a Jimmy Durante comedy, sometimes it’s a showcase for snub-nosed Kathryn Grayson‘s coloratura (she does bits of Lakmé and Don Giovanni), and toward the end it becomes a fundraiser for a local boy who wants to be a pianist–a bizarre distraction from the romantic triangle of Sinatra, Grayson, and Peter Lawford (whose talent resides in Durante’s comment, “He has a very fine command of the English language”). Best tune: Ol’ Blue Eyes crooning the lovely “Time After Time.” –Robert Horton

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