Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… Anything Goes (1956)

And here we are, ready to dig into the 1956 film version of Anything Goes, starring Bing Crosby, Donald O’Connor, Jeanmaire, Mitzi Gaynor and Phil Harris.

Broadway legend Bill Benson (Bing Crosby) gets teamed up with television star Ted Adams (Donald O’Connor) for a new show.  They are both allowed to choose the leading lady, although they supposedly agree that Bill can pick, before they take separate trips to Europe.  The trouble starts when they BOTH sign a leading lady, when there is only ONE part!  On the boat trip home, they both do their best to keep the gals from learning the truth, while dealing with a new complication: each is falling for the gal the other signed!

For me, most of the fun with this movie is the music (some of the dancing, as well).  The main highlight of this movie, I think, is the song “It’s De-lovely,” as performed by Donald O’Connor and Mitzi Gaynor.  It’s their romantic duet in the movie, done on the ship’s deck.  I enjoy the music itself, and watching them tap dance together is about as fun as I can hope for.

After that, the two songs with just Bing and Donald are probably the most fun.   The songs “Ya Gotta Give The People Hoke” and “A Second Hand Turban And A Crystal Ball” are two new songs for the movie, supplied by composers Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, instead of the original show’s composer, Cole Porter.  Both songs essentially allow Bing and Donald to just do pure comedy, as they ham it up together, and they are quite a lot of fun.

The movie is the second film version of the Broadway show from Cole Porter.  The previous film version, back in 1936, also starred Bing Crosby (and sadly, the ’56 version ended up being the last movie he did for Paramount, the studio that he had worked for during most of his career).  I can’t claim to have seen the ’36 film (although it is one I hope to see at some point), but based on the cast, I assume the movie was a bit more centered on singing.  The ’56 version seems to focus more on the dancing, as three of the four main cast members are primarily dancers (with Bing certainly looking out-of-place because of that).  Whatever the case, though, this is a movie that I enjoy, and I would recommend it to anybody that is interested, as it is a lot of fun!

This movie was available on DVD from Paramount, and is one hour, forty-six minutes in length.

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

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