The Girls In The Band - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan

For music lovers who don’t know any better, girl bands tend to be a supplement to a study of the real bands, conducted and staffed by men.  “The Girls In The Band” is an illuminating film about real bands conducted and staffed by women.  Once upon a time, Ina Ray Hutton was one of those band leaders.  She was not a musician but she knew how to assemble and organize a good band, and she could dance, which added to her group’s appeal.

During the forties, when many male musicians were serving in the military overseas, great girl bands were welcomed and appreciated onstage.  Offstage, they faced the same problems as the men, suspicion and all the assorted pitfalls of one night engagements.  Some chose to remain on their touring buses when they weren’t performing: it was easier than dealing with racial bigotry, and endless hassles with hotels and restaurants.  After the war, a number of gifted female musicians chose to leave their bands and move into teaching.  The women didn’t disappear into the shadows and often returned as much honored living legends. 

Remember that “Great Day In Harlem” photograph capturing so many jazz greats of 1960 - and two women?  In 2000, another picture was taken of an all women jazz gathering.  See “The Girls In The Band”: It’s a treasure and the music is wonderful.  “The Girls In The Band opens this week at The Opera Plaza in San Francisco, The Rafael Film Center in San Rafael and the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland. 

© 2014 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 01/15/14
Movie Magazine International