Hi-De-Ho (B&W, 1947): The "King of Hi-De-Ho," the irrepressible Cab Calloway stars in this musical romp from the hey-day of swing. The highly dramatic account of the bandleader's rise from obscurity and poverty to fame and riches revolves around the influence of the two women in his life. Jealous girlfriend Minnie is Cab's main muse, but when his strong-willed manager, Nettie, starts to dominate his struggling career, Minnie coaxes mob boss Mason to rub out the swing-band maestro. But it will take more than flying bullets to put a crimp in Calloway's skyrocketing success. 1947's Hi-De-Ho (not to be confused with the 1934 and 1937 Cab Calloway shorts of the same name) is a high energy showcase for the beloved bandleader who was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1993 by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Stars Cab Calloway, Jeni LeGon, George Wiltshire and Ida James; Directed by Josh Binney.
The Duke Is Tops (B&W, 1938): Beautiful songstress, Ethel Andrews, is destined for stardom, so her manager and sweetheart, Duke Davis, reluctantly signs over her contract to big-time New York producers. Now unemployed, Duke lends his show-business savvy and talent to an old friend's traveling medicine show. Sadly, he follows Ethel's success from a distance, but destiny has its own designs on the separated couple.
The Duke Is Tops marks the film debut of a radiant 21-year-old Lena Horne. Lena had been dancing since the age of 16 at the Cotton Club in Harlem, where she had help from Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington. Her biggest break came in 1943 when her rendition of the title song in Stormy Weather became a huge hit on the musical charts.
Stars Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne;Directed by William L. Nolte.