The story begins in Naples, Italy, in 1928. Billy Gordon is born into a troubled family - his father, Leon Alba (George Houston) has professional singing ambitions that cause him to ignore his pretty, unhappy wife Alice (Ann Doran) , who wants to return to America. She finally deserts Leon and sails back to her homeland.
We pick up the thread in 1936 in Mapleton, Connecticut, where young Billy Gordon (Bobby Breen) watches from behind the bars of Mapleton Orphanage as Carter’s Traveling Theatre sweeps into town. The children are taken to the show. Billy is fascinated by the death-defying trapeze stunts with Jim ‘Diablo’Wilkins (Grant Withers) and Marge Wilkins (Inez Courtney) , as well as with the other acts. However, it is acerbic but kind-hearted over-the-hill tenor singer Joseph Pasquale (Henry Armetta) who captures his attention and Billy decides to run away and join the circus. Though he doesn’t remember him, it turns out that Billy has inherited his father’s awesome singing voice. Pasquale takes him under his wing. The discontented Jim ‘Diablo’ Wilkins now has ambitions of having Billy in a new show.
Meanwhile, Billy’s father, who isa renowned singing act now, is trying to trace his son through the Missing Persons Bureau. As Jim Wilkins plays dirty to try and get the talented boy for his own selfish purposes, a singular and fortuitous sequence of circumstances unfolds - Billy gets a chance to sing in a professional opera in New York. As he showcases his scintillating talent, he renders songs that have a special relevance to one of the distinguished participants. A heart-warming finale that is replete with all the appropriate emotions finally brings father and son together again.
Director Kurt Neumann began his career in the U.S.A. making German versions of Hollywood films. Not a very glorious beginning, but he eventually came into his own and found the limelight with films like The Big Cage (1932) and Hold ‘em Navy (1936). He spent awhile in 1941 making short feature films with the famous Hal Roach but found his groove with low-budget science fiction films like Rocketship X-M (1950) and The Fly (1958). The latter became something of a cult movie and spawned a number of sequels, as well as the famous recent remake with Jeff Goldblum. An avid SF aficionado, Neumann was a recognized master in this genre;nevertheless he also turned out some notable feature films in other disciplines - Mohawk (1956) and Lets Sing Again (1936) are amongst them.
Running Time: 72 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
Musicals like Lets Sing Again will never grow stale, and thisremarkable feature film bears the masterly touch of director Kurt Neumann. The story is simple enough and has distinct Dickensian undertones - heart warming in its impact and delightful from beginning to end. The story is of an orphaned boy who runs away with a traveling circus, reveals singing talents that he has inherited form his gifted father - and the final reunion. Without the singular acting and singing talents involved throughout - especially that of young Bobby Breenhimself - this would have probably been a mediocre and forgettable storyline. However, Neumann’s directorial panache and the unreservedly brilliant performances ensure that this fascinating film from the last century rises above the common place.
Amongst the most noteworthy features of this moving vintage offering from the A2ZCDS archiveare the outstanding songs ‘Lets Sing Again’ by Jimmy McHugh and GusKahn, ‘Lullaby’ by Hugo Riesenfeld and Selma Hautzik, and ‘Farmers in the Dell’ by Samuel Pokrass and Charles O. Locke. Lets Sing Again is a marvelous movie experience for the entire family, and you will carry it in your heart forever.
"What Shirley Temple did with her prodigious talents for movies like‘The Little Princess’ and ‘Little Miss Broadway’, the impishly delightful Bobby Breen does for Lets Sing Again. No one who watches this timelessly appealing film, internalizes the story and hears the marvelous singing can remain untouched. I had sort of lost hope of ever finding another musical of such caliber - here it is.Thanks a lot, A2ZCDS."
Wendy Hoffman (Brockton, Massachusetts)
"I have always loved Bobby Breen and have seen most of his films from this era - ‘Rainbow on the River’,‘Make a Wish’ and ‘Hawaii Calls’ are among the ones that come immediately to mind. It is so rare to find a combination of real acting and singing, talents in a child - I can’t think of any in today’s agethat come close to Bobby. And that’s why I loved Lets Sing Again. It’s a sort of musical David Copperfield."
Gaston F. Osvaldo (Des Moines, Iowa)
CAST & CREW:
Daniel Jarrett - Writing Credits
Harry Neumann - Cinematography
Robert O. Crandall- Editor
Vivienne Osborne - Rosa Donelli
Inez Courtney - Marge Wilkins
Lucien Littlefield - Supt. Henry Perkins
Richard Carle - Carter
Clay Clement - Jackson
Ann Doran - Alice Albe
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