If this movie doesn’t put the ukulele at the centre of the plot, it does give it a respectable place within it. The story revolves around Stanley Meyer, a middle-aged man down on his luck whose ambition is to play ukulele on cruise ships headed for Hawaii. While he waits for his big break, Stanley takes work as a ‘musical therapist’ at a aged peoples’ home. Here he meets among the various characters an angry loner, Eleanor (Marla Gibbs), who was a jazz singer in the 1940s, but now she hates music. Stanley’s self-appointed mission is to bring Eleanor out of her shell and get her singing again.
William Sanderson, who plays Stanley, gives a most convincing performance, but he is not a ukulele player. He mimes to the fine strumming and singing of Ian Whitcomb, who also provides the voice over ‘flash back’ commentary of Smiling Jack, the radio personality from whom Stanley learned ukulele as a child. Whitcomb provides mood music too, including a great version of Leo Wood’s song, ‘Somebody Stole My Gal’.
The movie has a bitter/sweet ending, for which you’ll have to watch the movie. I enjoyed it — hope you will too.