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Film / One Hundred Men and a Girl

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One Hundred Men and a Girl is a 1937 film directed by Henry Koster.

John Cardwell (Adolphe Menjou) is a trombone player who has been out of work for two years. The film opens with John sneaking into an orchestra and begging for a job from the conductor, Leopold Stokowski. Stokowski, not accustomed to receiving people from the street, turns John down flat. On his way out of the building he finds a rich lady's purse, dropped on the street.

John returns to the boarding house where he shares a room with his teenaged daughter Patsy (Deanna Durbin). Facing imminent eviction because he's broke, John uses the money in the purse to pay rent. When she finds out about this, an indignant Patsy insists on returning the purse. She meets Mrs. John R. Frost, wife to radio magnate John R. Frost, who promises Patsy that her husband will bankroll an orchestra and concert for Patsy's father and all of his unemployed musician buddies. Patsy the Determinator sets out to make it happen.

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Real Life orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski was famous enough to be in this movie and also to be parodied three years later by Bugs Bunny in "Long-Haired Hare". ("Leopold! Leopold!")


Tropes:

  • As Himself: Leopold Stokowski as himself.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: The sympathetic noises that Mrs. Frost makes about Patsy's father being unemployed, and one rich guy's comment about how "We should sponsor an orchestra!", causes Patsy to realize that her dad and all the other broke, jobless musicians that her dad knows can get jobs together.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Everyone's wondering how the story about Leopold Stokowski sponsoring the orchestra got in the paper. A puzzled Patsy says "The message came directly from Mr. Stokowski's office. Now who on earth could have put that in th—". She then realizes that the man who called Stokowski's hotel room was a reporter and that she accidentally planted the story with him when she answered the phone.
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  • Genki Girl: When Patsy isn't singing, she's talking a mile a minute and running hither and yon at high speed. She's a very upbeat, excitable girl who throws herself enthusiastically into setting up an entire orchestra for her father and his friends.
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: Patsy decides that if she can get John R. Frost to sponsor a concert and Leopold Stokowski to conduct it, she can get work for her father and all the other starving musicians in his social circle.
  • Insistent Terminology: John and Patsy's friend Michael delivers the news to the other unemployed musicians by saying "Patsy's got a sucker!" She corrects him by saying "A sponsor!". Later Patsy tells the gang "I've got a su—a sponsor!"
  • Missing Mom: John Cardwell and his teenaged daughter sharing a room, with nary a word about where Patsy's mom is.
  • The Musical: The musical stylings of Leopold Stokowski and his Philadelphia Orchestra (although the on-screen musicians are Los Angeles performers miming), interspersed with songs from Deanna Durbin. The film ends with Patsy singing an opera from La Traviata.
  • Nice Hat: Patsy's nice hat with the big feather sticking up is plot relevant, as her attempt to sneak past the booth attendant is foiled by the feather sticking up where the booth attendant can see it.
  • No Antagonist: The booth attendant at the orchestra and Stokowski's assistant are both kind of mean but they're only doing their jobs. There's no villain in the movie other than the Great Depression.
  • Running Gag: John Frost and one of his rich buddies playing practical jokes on each other, like dribble glasses and fake cue balls. When Patsy barges into their club babbling about Mrs. Frost promising to sponsor an orchestra, John Frost thinks it's a drink.
  • Spinning Paper: The newspaper headline announcing that Leopold Stokowski is going to conduct a concert with unemployed musicians is shown by newspapers zooming up onto the screen. The later headline about the actual concert is shown with a newspaper that actually spins.
  • Starving Artist: Starving musician. John takes the purse because he hasn't worked in two years and he is due to be evicted from his shabby boarding house room the next day.
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