Thursday, March 21, 2013

Margie Hart in LURE Of THE ISLANDS (1942)

With the increasing notoriety in Hollywood of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, it was of course natural that some of her Burlesque competitors would drift into fillums as well. Ann Corio, who later penned a tell all book about her burleycue experiences, "This Was Burlesque" (1961), took off very little clothes in no less than five wartime sarong thrillers, two for bottom feeder company PRC and three for neighboring poverty row company Monogram. Also landing at the latter was Margie Hart, a redhead from (of course) Missouri who, according to Ann, completely dispensed with a G-string in her popular act. Margie contorted in something called LURE OF THE ISLANDS (1942). I reviewed this little "gem" while toiling for the All Movie Guide:

Billed as "The Girl who Stopped a Thousand Shows" and "The Poor Man's Garbo," burlesque dancer Margie Hart made her feature film debut in this ultra low-budget World War II romance. In an attempt to determine whether fifth columnists are persuading the natives to work for the Japanese, American government agents Robert Lowery and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams arrive on the tropical island of Tanukai. Befriending two beautiful island girls (Hart and Gale Storm), our heroes trudge through the jungle hotly pursued by a Nazi saboteur (Ivan Lebedeff) and several downed Japanese pilots (one of whom is played by an actor named Angel Cruz!).

I can add that Gale Storm and Big Boy Williams are the comedy relief here and what a relief they prove to be. Miss Hart never filmed again and when New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, in one of his many uplift attempts, banned bumps and grinds in the city, she retired to become a very sociable Bel Air matron. Margie Hart, nee Edna Margaret Cox, died in Los Angeles in 2000 aged 86.

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