Hi De Ho/The Duke is Tops [DVD]

This release brings together two classic, independently produced African-American musicals of the 1930s. 1934's Hi-De-Ho captures Cab Calloway and his band at the height of their powers as Cab finds himself torn between two beautiful women and struggling to steer clear of a gangster who wants him to play at his new nightclub. Songs include "Swing Time Wedding and "St. James Infirmary." And 1938's The Duke Is Tops stars a young Lena Horne as Ethel Andrews, a rising singing star in love with Duke Davis (Ralph Cooper), a bandleader who breaks up with her thinking he's holding her back, only to reconcile when he sees she needs his support. The Duke Is Tops was later re-released under the title The Bronze Venus after Horne rose to full-fledged Hollywood stardom in the film Cabin in the Sky.
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Cab Calloway's Hi-De-Ho
Cab Calloway's Hi-Do-Ho is a ten-minute Paramount musical short from 1934. The short story involves jive-master jazz performer Cab Calloway as he travels by train on his way to the Cotton Club. Features performances with his full orchestra, including the famous call-and-response song of the title. This black-and-white short is contained on the Kino Video DVD Hollywood Rhythm Vol. 1 - The Best of Jazz and Blues, along with musical shorts featuring Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

The Duke Is Tops
Also known as The Duke Is Tops, this is one of the best examples of the many all-black films made in the 1930s for what were then designated as "colored" theatres. Looking about 15 years old, Lena Horne plays the main attraction for the stage shows put on by a fellow named Duke (Ralph Cooper). When she gets a chance at a Broadway show, Lena swiftly severs all ties with Duke. But when Lena's big-time debut threatens to be a disaster, it is Duke who saves the day. The dialogue is for the birds, but The Duke Is Tops is aces when it comes to musical numbers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Cab Calloway
    Cab Calloway - Himself
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