Film Legends Of Yesteryear: Screen Team & “Musical Screen Teams (September 2022)” featuring… Give A Girl A Break (1953)

We’re back for my second and final entry for my Musical Screen Teams blogathon! This time, we’ve got another film from 1953, Give A Girl A Break, starring Marge and Gower Champion, along with Debbie Reynolds!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Mama’s Little Pirate (1935)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4 (1933-1935) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 18 minutes, 6 seconds)

Upon listening to his father read about the discovery of pirate treasure in a cave, Spanky (George McFarland) decides to lead the gang on a treasure hunt in a cave. However, his mother is opposed to the idea and orders him not to go. This was yet another entertaining entry in the series. Most of the fun is in watching Spanky try to be smart about how they are exploring the cave, only to have things go completely wrong (with his friend Scotty there to tell him off ahead of time). The over-exaggerated giant (as played by R. E. “Tex” Madsen) adds to the fun when he encounters the kids. I know I enjoyed this one, and look forward to seeing it again!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Rehearsals for the show Give A Girl A Break have begun under director and choreographer Ted Sturgis (Gower Champion), but they’ve hit a snag. Their big star, Janet Hallson (Donna Martell), is angry with Ted for not fawning over her after she performed a number, and demands an apology. His half-hearted apology doesn’t convince her, and she decides to walk out on the show. Without a star, producer Felix Jordan (Larry Keating) suggests they go to Ted’s former dance partner, Madelyn Corlane (Marge Champion), but Ted dislikes the idea, since he is still mad at her for walking out on him. Instead, he suggests putting an ad in the paper, in an attempt to give somebody new a chance to make good. The next day, a great many young hopefuls show up, hoping to get the newly vacant part. Among that group are Suzy Doolittle (Debbie Reynolds), whom Ted’s assistant and gofer Bob Dowdy (Bob Fosse) quickly takes a shine to, and Joanna Moss (Helen Wood), who catches the eye of the show’s composer, Leo Belney (Kurt Kasznar) (since he had seen her dance before at a recital). Both of them are told to come back the next day to audition for the part. When Ted comes up to Felix’s office, he finds Madelyn there, who is also told to come back the next day to audition. That evening, Suzy rehearses at her mother’s insistence instead of going on a date with Bob (although he is understanding, and walks her home from the dance studio). Joanna goes back to her apartment to share the news with her husband, Burton Bradshaw (Richard Anderson), who also has his own news about a potential job that may take him elsewhere. Madelyn tells her boyfriend, Anson Pritchett (William Ching), about the audition, but he convinces her to withdraw. When Ted learns about Madelyn pulling out, he goes to see her and help her get past her fears. The next day, all three women audition, and Felix finds himself unsure as to which one to pick. With the other three men all equally adamant that their girl should get the role, who will win out in the end?

Give A Girl A Break ended up being far different from its initial conception. Originally, the film was to potentially star the likes of Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Ann Miller. However, much was changing in Hollywood at that time, as musicals were falling out of favor with audiences while television’s popularity continued to rise. As a result, the cast consisted of husband-and-wife dance team Marge and Gower Champion, Debbie Reynolds, and newcomer Bob Fosse. While there was still some big talent behind-the-scenes that had contributed to the film (such as composer Burton Lane and lyricist Ira Gerswhin, director Stanley Donen and screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett), they weren’t enough to save the film. The movie lost money at the box office, effectively ending whatever chance the Champions had of becoming big stars (and didn’t do Bob Fosse any good as a movie star, either).

I first saw the film most of a decade ago. At the time, I was coming off of discovering the dance team of Marge and Gower Champion via Lovely To Look At (1952) (to be fair, I had previously seen them in the 1951 Show Boat, but their appearance there didn’t have anywhere near the impact that Lovely To Look At did in my estimation). In Give A Girl A Break, they have two dance routines together, set to the songs “Challenge Dance” and “It Happens Every Time.” In general, their “Challenge Dance” seems to be what they are known for here, as it feels like the better promoted dance of the two. Personally, I don’t care for it that much, and prefer “It Happens Every Time.” Admittedly, the lyrics to “It Happens Every Time” are quite forgettable (not helped by the fact that Gower’s singing voice was VERY obviously dubbed for this song, in spite of him actually singing for an earlier song in the film). The music, however, is quite memorable, and sticks with me long after I finish watching the film. Their dance is equally enjoyable, with them swinging around on a set full of poles. The whole song makes me think of their dance to the instrumental version of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” from Lovely To Look At. I wouldn’t put “It Happens Every Time” on the same level as that one, but it certainly left an imprint on me.

As for the rest of the movie, I think it’s a lot of fun. Realistically, I think that Bob Fosse is what really makes this film. He has three songs and dances, “Nothing Is Impossible” with Gower Champion and Kurt Kasznar, and “In Our United State,” which is used for two different partnered routines with Debbie Reynolds (one a romantic duet in the park, and the other a dream dance sometimes referred to as the “Balloon Dance,” with them dancing “backwards and forwards”). Those three dances are some of the most fun and entertaining in the film, and easily make the movie worthwhile (alongside the previously mentioned “It Happens Every Time”). There are a few other tunes, but, apart from the “Puppet Master Dance” with Helen Wood and Kurt Kasznar, they don’t really stand out that much (and quite frankly, Helen Wood is fairly good as a dancer but very much underutilized compared to the other two leading ladies). It’s not an absolutely great film, as I think the Champions can’t really carry it in the acting department (they’re decent, just not great). Thankfully, Bob Fosse, despite being billed fifth, does a much better job (and is given nearly as much screentime as the Champions). While it certainly would have been fun to have seen what the film would have been like with its original conception, I do think that what we got is entertaining enough. I know I’ve certainly enjoyed seeing it a number of times over the last decade. So, as I have no hesitation about sticking it on when I feel like it, I would definitely have no qualms about giving it some of my highest recommendations!

This movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Lovely To Look At (1952) – Marge Champion

Lovely To Look At (1952) – Gower Champion

Singin’ In The Rain (1952) – Debbie Reynolds – Susan Slept Here (1954)

Kiss Me Kate (1953) – Bob Fosse – My Sister Eileen (1955)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart (September 2021)” featuring… Hit The Deck (1955)

Today’s entry in the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon is the 1955 film Hit The Deck starring Jane Powell, Tony Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Walter Pidgeon, Vic Damone, Gene Raymond, Ann Miller and Russ Tamblyn!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Prefabricated Pink (1967)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2 (1966-1968) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)

The Pink Panther sees a “Help Wanted” sign at a construction site, and hops right in to help out the workers.  I found this one to be middle-of-the-road as far as the Pink Panther is concerned.  It has its moments, as everything the Panther does keeps causing trouble for the various Little Men.  Honestly, I was slightly disappointed when the short started out with the Panther causing trouble for some of the workers, who would then get in trouble with the foreman (which was quite hilarious!) before dropping that idea entirely.  I’ll admit, sometimes jokes can go on too long, but that one wasn’t used enough in my opinion, with the remainder of the short just being similar to a lot of the stuff that the Panther has done before.  There is some fun and humor to be found here, that’s for sure, but I just feel I’ve seen the Panther do better with similar situations.

And Now For The Main Feature…

Chief Boatswain’s Mate William “Bilge” F. Clark (Tony Martin) and his two buddies, Rico Ferrari (Vic Damone) and Danny Xavier Smith (Russ Tamblyn), are on leave in San Francisco.  Bilge wants to go see his nightclub performer girlfriend, Ginger (Ann Miller), but Rico and Danny have some other plans.  When Bilge offers to have Ginger find them some dates, they agree to meet back at the club later.  However, none of them find things to be as they expect.  Bilge surprises Ginger, but she is mad at him for the fact that they have been engaged for six years, and tells him that she has met somebody else.  Rico goes to visit his mother, Mrs. Ottavio Ferrari (Kay Armen), but she is spending time with her neighbor (whom she likes), Mr. Peroni (J. Carrol Naish).  However, when Mr. Peroni sees just how old Rico is (as opposed to the picture his mother has of him at the age of nine), he leaves.  At home, Danny finds his father, Rear Admiral Daniel Xavier Smith (Walter Pidgeon), leaving for a meeting that will last the duration of his leave, and finds his sister Susan (Jane Powell) getting ready to go out and audition with the star of a Broadway show, Wendell Craig (Gene Raymond).  Danny goes to the theatre (which is right next to Ginger’s nightclub) to see Susan audition. There, he meets actress Carol Pace (Debbie Reynolds), who tells him that Wendell’s “auditions” usually happen at his hotel room.  The three buddies gets back together and commiserate over their troubles.  The three decide to go over to Wendell’s hotel room to get an unsuspecting Susan out of there.  Rico takes her away while the other two duke it out with Wendell, but she gets away from him.  When she arrives, she finds Danny and Bilge gone, and the place is a mess.  Wendell has already called the shore patrol, with intentions of filing charges (especially when he learns that one of the men was Susan’s brother).  She leaves with the intention of warning them and immediately runs into Rico. He takes her to his mother’s apartment, where everybody (including Carol) has gathered, with Ginger joining them later on.  They all try to figure out how to get the guys out of the mess they are in, but all that happens is everybody starts getting mad at everybody else and leaving.  The next day, the guys try to reconcile with the gals, and try to fix things.  But, with the shore patrol constantly breathing down their neck, can Susan and the guys convince Wendell Craig to drop the charges?

In 1922, a play called Shore Leave (by Hubert Osborne) was produced for the stage.  After that, the story would be adapted in many ways, including the 1927 stage musical Hit The Deck (with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Leo Robin, Clifford Grey and Irving Caesar), plus different movie versions coming from both versions of the tale.  As early as 1947, MGM bought the film rights to the stage musical from RKO studios.  However, the delay in actually doing anything with the property hurt its chances.  By the time the studio got around to it, television had become big, keeping more and more people at home instead of going to the movie theaters.  As a result, the studios would try cramming a bunch of stars into one film, hoping their star power would be enough to get audiences into theaters. For Hit The Deck, their star power wasn’t *quite* enough, and most of the cast were fired by MGM either directly after this film, or within one or two more.

Hit The Deck has a number of wonderful musical moments, but I’d be remiss to not talk about the film’s best-known one, the song “Hallelujah” (which is done twice in the movie). The first time is done within the first ten minutes (give or take) by Tony Martin, Vic Damone and a (dubbed) Russ Tamblyn (with backup by The Jubalaires). That version is kind of fun, but it pales in comparison to the second time (done as the film’s finale by the majority of the cast). I’ll tell you, that finale is about as joyful a musical number as any that I can think of, and is easily enough reason for me to stick this movie on every now and then! I love the singing, I love the orchestration, and I enjoy Ann Miller’s dance routine. Admittedly, done as a tap routine where she “drills” the sailors with her tap steps reminds me very strongly of Fred Astaire’s dance to “I’d Rather Lead A Band” in Follow The Fleet (1936) (incidentally, that was another filmed version of the play Shore Leave, albeit with a score by Irving Berlin). Personally, I prefer Fred’s version, but Ann Miller still does quite well here.

Of course, the song “Hallelujah” is hardly the only reason I like to watch this movie. I also enjoy some of the other music, including “Lucky Bird” (sung by Jane Powell), “Why, Oh Why?” (done twice, once with the men, and once later with the ladies), “Chiribiribee” with most of the cast, “Lady From The Bayou” with Ann Miller, and “A Kiss Or Two” and the Funhouse dance with Debbie Reynolds and Russ Tamblyn (and quite frankly, the last two I mentioned make me wish that Debbie Reynolds and Russ Tamblyn had been teamed up for more films together). Of course, I know this movie is not without its issues. There is some argument to be made that, with its huge cast, not everybody gets equal screen time, and that is fair. Quite frankly, I also think the first few minutes of the film with the three guys before they get to San Francisco have little to do with the rest of the movie, and could be removed without losing much of the story. It’s not the MGM musical at its absolute best, but I do enjoy this movie, and it’s one I’ve enjoyed sticking on every now and then. If for nothing else, it’s certainly good for cheering me up when I’m down! Definitely a movie I would recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 52 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Jane Powell

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Tony Martin

Athena (1954) – Debbie Reynolds – The Tender Trap (1955)

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Walter Pidgeon

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Vic Damone – Kismet (1955)

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Ann Miller – The Opposite Sex (1956)

Deep In My Heart (1954) – Russ Tamblyn

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… The Tender Trap (1955)

We’re back for more fun, and today’s movie is none other than the 1955 romantic comedy The Tender Trap, starring Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, David Wayne and Celeste Holm!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Bouncing Babies (1929)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1 (1929-1930) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 45 seconds)

Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) is sore because his baby brother is getting all the attention, and wants to send the baby “back to heaven.” While Wheezer’s complaints about being overlooked might run a little too long, this one was a fun short. Some memorable moments were Wheezer’s attempts to make pancakes using plaster ingredients, getting dressed with Petey’s help, and being chased by the rest of the gang in their Halloween costumes. The previous short was better overall, but this one was still fun, and I continue to look forward to watching more of the series!

And Now For The Main Feature…

New York-based theatrical agent Charlie Reader (Frank Sinatra) is given a surprise visit by his old childhood friend, Joe McCall (David Wayne). The married Joe confesses to Charlie that he is currently taking a “vacation” from his wife, and is shocked at the parade of women who come to visit Charlie, including his date for that night, violinist Sylvia Crewes (Celeste Holm). The next day, Charlie goes to see an audition for a new client of his, Julie Gillis (Debbie Reynolds). She gets the part, and he invites her to join Joe, Sylvia and himself for coffee. While there, she tells them all about her big plans to get married and raise a family (even though she hasn’t met the right man yet). Charlie, who is infatuated with her, invites her out for dinner, but she turns him down, as she doesn’t think he’s “husband material.” Her life plans cause trouble for Charlie, as she refuses to sign a run of the play contract (mainly because she has a set date she plans to get married, even though she is still single) and she also misses rehearsals once to go to a homemaking show as she tries to continue making her future plans (and Charlie has to chase her down). When Charlie sits in a chair for her at the homemaking show, and later, when he shows her a better way to sing her song in the play, she starts considering going out with him. In the process, Joe starts going out with Sylvia (since, in going out with Julie, Charlie stood Sylvia up for a date that first night). One night, Julie complains about the fact that they always do what Charlie wants, and never what she wants to do. When he calls her bluff and asks her what she wants to do, she decides to go along with what he had previously planned. Later that evening, when he learns that her folks aren’t home, he decides to take her there for some privacy. Julie tries to resist his charms, but slowly starts to give in to him. She stops only when she finds a bulge in his pocket. No, it’s not what you think (so get your mind out of the gutter!), as what she finds is a stack of messages from all his girlfriends that he had hastily picked up (when she arrived at his apartment earlier to pick him up). Furious, she demands he give up all his other girlfriends, since she feels that he is the one she wants to marry. When Charlie states his lack of interest in getting married, Julie kicks him out. Returning to his own apartment, Charlie tries to ask some of his other girlfriends out, but they all turn him down, stating that they are going out with somebody else. An amused Joe is happy to see Charlie getting his comeuppance, and tells him off for how he has treated Sylvia. Later, when Sylvia comes by, Charlie shocks everybody by proposing to her (and she says yes). While there is a feeling of impending disaster in the room, Charlie decides to celebrate their engagement by throwing a party for their friends. While everybody else goes to get some supplies for the party, Charlie, realizing his mistake, tries to go see Julie and apologize. He doesn’t have to go far, as she quickly shows up in a cab, and the two of them make up (and decide to get married). When Charlie sees some of his friends coming, he sends Julie home (under the pretext of her having early rehearsals the next day) and joins his friends at the party. The next morning is filled with hangovers and a messy apartment to be cleaned. What’s worse, both Julie and Sylvia show up and learn about each other’s “engagement” to Charlie. This results in Julie leaving Charlie, and Sylvia deciding not to “settle” for Charlie. With Joe now planning to return home to his wife and family, Charlie finds himself alone. Can he repair his relationship with Julie, or is he going to stay alone?

Around the time he made the film musical On The Town for MGM, Frank’s career was on a downturn. His next two films after On The Town were both made for different studios, and both failed to make a mark at the box office. Then, he got himself into From Here To Eternity, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and reviving his film career. After continuing to make a few big films for other studios, Frank returned to MGM for the first time in six years to make The Tender Trap. This movie (which was based on a 1954 play of the same name by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith) provided him with the Oscar-nominated song “(Love Is) The Tender Trap,” which would become one of his big hits.

I’ve had the opportunity to see this film several times, and it’s one I’ve enjoyed every time that I’ve seen it. Given his past popularity with the likes of the bobbysoxers, Frank (as Charlie) being a ladies’ man is certainly a fitting role, and he handles it quite well. Debbie Reynolds’ character isn’t exactly a wonderful person, not with her plans being set in stone and only needing to find a man to make them “complete,” but she handles the limitations of the role as well as one could hope. David Wayne is fun as Charlie’s buddy Joe, who is a little more grounded and realizes what Charlie’s womanizing is doing to the gals he is going with. It’s hard not to be amused along with him when Charlie’s “relationships” come crashing down around him. As Sylvia, Celeste Holm certainly gains our sympathies, as she feels herself getting too old to be noticed by anybody, which is why she’s going with Charlie, and yet, Joe helps her realize her own worth. This is not necessarily the best movie ever made, but it provides a nice, enjoyable diversion every now and then. I know I get a few good laughs out of it, and the title tune is indeed a fun song! I would say that this one is worth recommending for some simple fun!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray uses an HD Master sourced from a 4k scan of the original camera negative. As usual for Warner Archive releases, this movie looks quite good, with the colors looking right, and the detail showing up well. The picture has been cleaned up of all dirt and debris, and, as usual, this is the best way to see this movie!

Film Length: 1 hour, 51 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Guys And Dolls (1955)Frank SinatraHigh Society (1956)

Hit The Deck (1955) – Debbie Reynolds – Tammy And The Bachelor (1957)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Athena (1954)

Today, we’re here to look into the 1954 film musical Athena, starring Jane Powell, Edmund Purdom, Debbie Reynolds, Vic Damone and Louis Calhern!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Lazy Days (1929)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1 (1929-1930) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 30 seconds)

Farina (Allen Hoskins) is just too lazy and tired to do much of anything, but when Joe (Joe Cobb) reads a paper for a baby contest (with monetary prizes), the whole gang decides to get their younger siblings ready for it (even the “lazy and tired” Farina). This short continues to be an improvement in how natural the kids can act using the then-new sound technology. The short itself has some issues that date it, mostly with making its main black character too lazy to do anything (and making his female friend do everything for him). There are some fun moments, mostly featuring Farina, whether when he is trying to get his younger brother bathed (and has to deal with a frog, a bee and a monkey), or when the pram that Farina puts his younger brother in falls apart (and almost has a life of its own). I still think it’s a fun short overall, and it’s a series I’m now starting to have fond feelings for!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Things are looking good for singer Johnny Nyle (Vic Damone), as he rehearses for his television show. However, after rehearsals end, he is surrounded by some of his fans, one of which is apparently a process server, who serves him with a subpoena. In desperation, he turns to a former Navy colleague, lawyer Adam Shaw (Edmund Purdom), for help. Adam is running for congress and worrying about his campaign with his law partners, but he offers to help Johnny out, just the same. Adam then goes to a nursery, where he talks with the owner about some peach trees he had purchased that weren’t doing very well. While there, he meets Athena Mulvain (Jane Powell), who suggests mulching to help save the trees. He is put off by her beliefs in numerology and declines her offer to help. However, she later shows up at his house anyway, and proceeds to mulch the peach trees. She kisses Adam before leaving, and catches a ride to her family’s store with Johnny (and proceeds to set him up with her sister Minerva, as played by Debbie Reynolds). The next morning, Athena stops by Adam’s home again to mulch the peach trees, much to the dismay of Adam’s fiancée, Beth Hallson (Linda Christian), who pushes him to tell Athena off. However, Athena disappears before he can speak with her, and so he has to try and track her down. It’s only with Johnny’s help that Adam is able to locate the Mulvain home, so he goes there with the intention of telling her off. There, he meets Athena’s Grandpa Ulysses Mulvain (Louis Calhern) and Grandma Salome Mulvain (Evelyn Varden). Grandpa tries to get Adam to join his exercise program (which includes Ed Perkins, as played by Steve Reeves, and Bill Nichols, as played by Richard Sabre, who are training for the Mr. Universe competition), but Adam only wants to tell Athena to leave him alone. Athena has him kiss her goodbye, but it ends up being more like a “hello,” as he discovers that he now loves her, too. He returns home, where he runs into Beth, and the two of them break it off. Meanwhile, Grandma Mulvain has put together a star chart for Adam and Athena, and has declared that trouble will arise because of Adam’s lifestyle. Undeterred, Athena decides to bring her sisters over to Adam’s house the next day and rearrange everything more to their way of doing things. Adam is feeling great, although his partners question him about Athena’s suitability due to his political career (especially after they meet Grandma Mulvain at Adam’s house). Adam is still determined, however, and brings Athena to a political reception. At first, everything goes fine, but then Adam’s ex, Beth, makes trouble for Athena, and she leaves out of frustration. Adam meets up with her later at their home, and declares he still loves her. However, the next day is the Mr. Universe competition. Ed Perkins wins it easily, giving Grandpa Mulvain the chance to extol the virtues of his lifestyle and how it helped Ed. Behind him, Ed tries to push Adam around and get him to stay away from Athena, but Adam uses a judo move to knock him down. In the process, that’s all the news focuses on, resulting in Athena leaving him and his political career going down the drain. Can Adam get back in Athena’s good graces, or will he lose out on everything?

Athena was originally intended as a vehicle for actress and swimmer Esther Williams. Along with director Charles Walters and writer Leo Pogostin, she put together the idea while they were making the film Easy To Love. However, while she was on maternity leave, Dore Schary (the head of MGM at that time) put the film into production, with singer Jane Powell cast in the title role (with her being given more time to sing, as opposed to the swimming numbers that Esther would have gotten). Richard Thorpe (who was given the jop of directing Athena) wasn’t exactly keen about the project, famously tossing pages of the script over his shoulder whenever they finished a scene. The film ended up losing money at the box office (with actress Jane Powell later in life admitting that she thought the film was nearly 20 years too early). However, one good thing came about as a result of this film. Steve Reeves, who played bodybuilder Ed Perkins, ended up being cast in the 1958 film Hercules when the daughter of that film’s director (Pietro Francisci) saw him in this movie and recommended him for the role.

I will admit, I kind of agree with the original audience reaction, as this is not one of MGM’s better musicals. I think Edmund Purdom’s performance is not as strong as it could be, leaving me wishing that more focus had been on Vic Damone’s Johnny (with him romancing Jane Powell’s Athena). The score (with music by Hugh Martin and lyrics by Ralph Blane) is mostly forgettable, with the exceptions of the songs “The Girl Next Door” (which is technically just a gender-swapped version of “The Boy Next Door” from Meet Me In St. Louis, and Vic Damone’s version, good as it is, pales in comparison to Judy Garland’s version in the earlier film) and the song(s) “Vocalize”/”Harmonize” (essentially the same tune, with slightly different lyrics). Both of those songs manage to get stuck in my head. The overall subject matter of this film is slightly off-putting (although it does have a few points I can agree with). This is a movie that I enjoy seeing every now and then, but, when I know that some of the cast members have made better movies together (at least, I think they are better), I would certainly hesitate in recommending this one to others (in spite of my decent rating for it).

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray is from a new remaster, which looks quite good (no surprise there, given that it’s from Warner Archive)! The detail is much improved, as are the colors. Seriously, this is probably the best way to see this movie at this point!

Film Length: 1 hour, 36 minutes

My Rating: 7/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954) – Jane Powell

Susan Slept Here (1954) – Debbie Reynolds – Hit The Deck (1955)

Vic Damone – Deep In My Heart (1954)

Annie Get Your Gun (1950) – Louis Calhern – High Society (1956)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Star Of The Month (March 2021)” Featuring Gene Kelly in… Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

Time for my first entry of my own Star Of The Month for March 2021’s Gene Kelly, and where else to start but with one of his most well-known musicals, Singin’ In The Rain, also starring Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor! Of course, first we have a theatrical short to get through, and then it’s on to the show!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Bully For Pink (1965)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (1964-1966) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 2 seconds)

The Pink Panther decides to try being an amateur bullfighter, and borrows a magician’s cape to use. This one is a bit of fun, with all the various tricks that occur because of the magician’s cape (including the angry rabbit). Admittedly, it does feel a lot like the classic Looney Tunes cartoon “A Bully For Bugs,” which is not a point in its favor, as that earlier Bugs cartoon is very much a classic, and this one feels like an inferior knockoff. Still, it does have a few good moments, and I certainly laughed a few times, so there is that.

And Now For The Main Feature…

(Narrator): All Hollywood is abuzz at the premiere of the new silent film The Royal Rascal starring that great screen team of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen).

(Host): Don’t you mean The Three Musketeers? 😉

(Narrator): Not completely. Yes, this movie did re-use some footage from that 1948 Gene Kelly film (without sound) for The Royal Rascal, but they also threw in some new stuff to add in Jean Hagen’s Lina Lamont for this “silent movie.” Getting back to the story, after the movie’s premiere, Don makes a speech to the audience, all the while preventing Lina from talking. Backstage, we find out why: she speaks with a thick Queens accent and with a somewhat squeaky voice (and, as the press agent Rod, who is played by King Donovan, puts it, “Lina, you’re a beautiful woman. Audiences think you’ve got a voice to match. The studio’s gotta keep their stars from looking ridiculous at any cost”). Of course, to make things worse, the gossip columnists and fan magazines keep linking Don and Lina together romantically. She doesn’t mind going along with the idea, but he has no interest in her.

Anyways, getting back to the story, producer R. F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell), the head of Monumental Pictures is throwing a party to celebrate his new picture. Don is riding with his friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) when Cosmo’s car suffers a flat tire. Before they know it, Don is mobbed by some of his fans, and, in an attempt to get away from them, he hitches a ride with passing motorist Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). At first she is startled, but, once she recognizes who he is, she offers him a ride back to his home (but not before she makes some comments about silent movie actors and their “lack of” acting ability). Don makes his way to the party, but he is slightly shaken by her comments. R.F. uses the party to show off some new sound technology, but nobody thinks it will take off, even though rival studio Warner Brothers is making the movie The Jazz Singer with the tech. When R.F. brings out a cake for Don and Lina, who should pop out but Kathy Selden herself? After she does a song-and-dance number with some others, Don pursues her. She tries to hit him with a cake, but misses and hits Lina instead.

(Host): That’s a sight that never gets old!

(Narrator): You’re darn tooting it doesn’t! Anyways, Kathy runs off after that. Don later hears that she has been fired, and tries to find her, but no luck. So, it’s up to Cosmo to cheer him up.

(Host): Indeed. To quote Cosmo, “Now the world is so full of a number of things I’m sure we should all be as happy as…, but are we? No. Definitely no. Positively no. Decidedly NO. Uh-uh. Short people have long faces, and long people have short faces. Big people have little humor, and little people have no humor at all. And in the words of that immortal bard, Samuel J. Snodgrass, as he was about to be led to the guillotine…”

(Narrator): You better not be getting ready to “Make ‘Em Laugh!”

(Host): Indeed I am! I mean, how can you not? That’s one of the most fun moments in this entire movie (and, for those who may recall, this was part of my Top 10 Dance Routines list)! I don’t care how much the music may have been lifted from the Cole Porter tune “Be A Clown” (from The Pirate), it’s still fun (and funny) to watch Donald O’Connor pull off all those stunts! As they say, “Don’t you know all the world loves a laugh? My dad said be an – (slips on a banana peel) Whoops! (goes sliding offstage) Where did that banana peel come from?

(Narrator): (finishes eating a banana) I have no idea. Are you all right?

(Host): Sure, although my feet crashed into the globe out here. (I wonder how many people will get the joke). I’ll just be a few minutes while I get out of it!

(Narrator): Ok. Getting back to the story, Don and Lina prepare to start their next film, but things get slowed up when everybody realizes that The Jazz Singer is a big hit, and they decide to turn the next Lockwood and Lamont film into a talkie. While watching a musical number being filmed for another movie, Cosmo runs across Kathy and lets Don know about it. Don is ecstatic to finally see her again (and gets a good chuckle out of the idea that she had known more about him than she had indicated during their first meeting). Of course, the show must go on, and so Don, Lina and the rest of the crew try to learn the new “talkie” business for their next film, The Dueling Cavalier. At a preview for the movie, the audience laughs at how poorly done it is, and everything is looking down for everybody. Despondent, Don, Cosmo and Kathy return to Don’s house. Things start looking up when Cosmo comes up with the idea to not only have the film changed into a musical, but also have Kathy dub Lina’s voice.

(Host): (Walks back onstage with a bunch of umbrellas and sets them down) And, of course, that brings us to this movie’s most iconic moment, that of Gene Kelly singing (and dancing) in the rain! For a song that had been published in 1929 and had made its way through a number of MGM films over the years, most notably by Cliff Edwards in The Hollywood Revue Of 1929 and Judy Garland in Little Nellie Kelly, it’s this simple moment that has been engrained in the hearts of all those that have seen it (of course, as I’ve said before, I enjoy swinging it Judy’s way in that earlier film, but I easily understand the appeal of Gene Kelly’s version, too)! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some dancing to do! Maestro, some music, please!

(Narrator starts up a record player. The song “Singin’ In The Rain” starts playing.)

(Host): (Picks up umbrella and opens it. Rainwater starts consistently pouring out from under the umbrella. Music stops) Well, that’s not the right umbrella. Let me try another here… (Opens up a new umbrella. This one has big holes that aren’t stopping the rain). Seriously, how are there multiple bad umbrellas in the same bunch? (mutters to self) Must be that somebody let the Narrator near the props again… (Pulls out another umbrella and opens it, finding it to be alright) (normal voice) Oh, good, a normal one! Well, here we go! (Music starts up again. Suddenly, a big wind comes rushing in, blowing the host up in the air like Mary Poppins and carries him way offstage) I’ll be baaaaaaaaaaack!

(Narrator): Now that that foolishness is over, let’s get back to the story. Don and Cosmo tell R.F. their idea, and, since he likes the idea, they get back into working on the movie almost immediately, with plans to give Kathy credit for the voice and a publicity campaign for her once the movie opens. Everything is looking good, and then Lina discovers what’s going on. She then does interviews for the newspapers, making herself out to be the new singing star, and privately threatens to sue R.F. if he tries to correct that (and forces him to make Kathy be her voice from now on). With all this trouble, will Kathy be given a voice (and career) of her own, or will Lina win out?

(Host): (Quickly running back onstage) Whew! That wind sure took me quite a ways away! And I see you finished telling the story without me. So, I guess everybody is here now for my opinion. Well, this is one of the movies that helped me to develop a fondness for musicals, and it was certainly my introduction to Gene Kelly. Watching him in this movie, whether he’s dancing alone, or with others, has always been fun, and made the idea of learning tap dancing appealing to me (and I can definitely tell you I once did a tap solo to the title tune for a dance recital)! The rest of the cast is great, too, and they all do their parts so well! And the music is quite memorable, with a good chance of it getting stuck in your head (it always does in mine, anyways)! Admittedly, as I’ve said in a previous post, with regard to the music of Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, I prefer the score to Broadway Melody Of 1936 more, but for sheer number of tunes, overall fun and a better movie, it’s hard to go wrong with Singin’ In The Rain! It’s one of the easiest movies for many to recommend, and I certainly would have to be part of that group! Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, go out there and see it now! And remember that motto: “Dignity. Always dignity.”

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video, either as an individual release or as part of the four-film Musicals Collection.

Well, now that that’s over, let’s try this song-and-dance again! (Opens umbrella and starts to sing, although badly offkey) I’m singin’ in the rain – (umbrella is hit with lightning bolt, and is now singed. Host pauses for a second before trying again) I’m singin’ in the – (umbrella is hit again with a bolt of lightning, and now only the umbrella shaft remains) I’m singin’ – (lightning hits the shaft, destroying it too) I’m s – (lightning hits the host, leaving him singed) I – (lightning hits again, and now the host is singed more and knocked out cold).

(Narrator): (tries to hide bag of lightning bolts) Hmm. has anybody seen that bag I borrowed from Zeus recently?

(A pie comes flying in from offstage and hits the Narrator in the face)

(Host): Now THAT’S funny!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2022) with… Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

On April 26, 2022, Warner Home Video released Singin’ In The Rain in the 4K UHD format. I had always thought that their earlier Blu-ray (from 2012) looked pretty good, but the new UHD blows it out of the water! The resolution is certainly much improved, allowing us to see better detail (and all this from a film whose original camera negative was mostly destroyed, save for one reel, in the infamous 1978 Eastman House fire, and which has relied mostly on dupe negatives ever since). The colors are much improved by the HDR, toned down from the slightly yellowish image on the Blu-ray and DVD (and, according to the experts on the subject that I’ve read, the UHD is closer to being what it is supposed to look like). Of course, if you’re looking to “future-proof” this film, then do know that the Blu-ray included with the UHD is still the 2012 release, and not a remastered Blu-ray with a new transfer (which admittedly does allow you to see just how different the UHD is from the older Blu-ray). I’ll certainly recommend the 4K UHD quite heartily as the best way to enjoy this wonderful classic!

Film Length: 1 hour, 43 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #2 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2022

**ranked #1 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2021

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

An American In Paris (1951)Gene KellyBrigadoon (1954)

Something In The Wind (1947) – Donald O’Connor – Anything Goes (1956)

The Daughter Of Rosie O’Grady (1950) – Debbie Reynolds – Give A Girl A Break (1953)

The Harvey Girls (1946) – Cyd Charisse – The Band Wagon (1953)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

TFTMM 2020 & WOIANRA 2018 on… Tammy And The Bachelor (1957)

Now we have another fun movie, the 1957 classic Tammy And The Bachelor starring Debbie Reynolds, Leslie Nielsen and Walter Brennan.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Tar With A Star (1949)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 6 minutes, 46 seconds)

Popeye becomes sheriff of a western town, until Wild Bill Bluto shows up. Yes, it’s still Popeye fighting Bluto over Olive, but at least this time, it takes a few minutes for Bluto to show up, as Popeye cleans up the town. A few different gags related to the situation, which make it fun. One of the better shorts from this group, as I enjoyed it very much!

And Now For The Main Feature…

When Peter Brent (Leslie Nielsen) crashes in a Louisiana swamp, he is rescued by preacher John Dinwitty (Walter Brennan) and his granddaughter, Tambrey “Tammy” Tyree (Debbie Reynolds). Peter is in bad shape, but Tammy helps nurse him back to health. After he leaves, Tammy’s grandfather is arrested for bootlegging, and he sends her off to stay with Peter and his family. Walking with her goat, Nan, she makes it to Brentwood Hall, where she falls asleep from exhaustion. Peter and his family, which includes his father, Professor Brent (Sidney Blackmer), his mother (Fay Wray) and his aunt Rennie (Mildred Natwick) take her in. Peter, much to his family’s consternation, is trying to grow tomatoes in an attempt to make the farm self-sustaining again, while his mother is preparing for Pilgrimage Week to show tourists what things were like in the Old South. Tammy disturbs them with her plain ways and her refusal to keep quiet. She has fallen in love with Peter, but has competition from his girlfriend, Barbara (Mala Powers). Peter’s aunt Rennie likes Tammy, however, and she encourages Tammy to stay on and help Peter out.

Tammy And The Bachelor, which started a movie franchise, owed much of its success to the title tune! The movie was based on the novel Tammy Out Of Time by Cid Ricketts Sumner, but didn’t start out as much of a success at the box office. The title tune, written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, was recorded by the Ames Brothers for the opening credits, and by Debbie Reynolds, who sang it partway through the film. Unlike the movie’s slow start at the box office, Debbie’s record took off. The executives at Universal Studios pulled the movie from theaters, giving the song a chance to catch on, and then reissued the film to great success! A sequel was planned, but by the time they got to it nearly four years later, Debbie Reynolds (about 25 playing a 17-year-old for Tammy And The Bachelor) was about thirty and very busy, so they recast the role of Tammy with Sandra Dee for the next two movies, before casting Debbie Watson for the one season TV series (with four episodes cobbled together for one last movie).

In spite of the fact she was already leaning a little too old for the part, I still say that Debbie Reynolds is what makes this movie work so well! I love watching how she is able to tell others what she thinks most of the time, as her observations tend to be correct. Of course, she is still a bit naive, and that makes for some fun when she says some things that the adults mis-interpret as innuendo! And I know I don’t mind the idea of just sitting and listening to her telling her story when all the tourists are listening during Pilgrimage Week! Now, there are some things about this that don’t work, such as how some of the characters make light of slavery, whether it be Aunt Rennie claiming some of her paintings were done by slaves in an attempt to sell them, or making their black servant wear a slave bandanna (although, to be fair, the character doesn’t like it, and Debbie’s Tammy doesn’t like the look either). Still, I’ve enjoyed seeing this movie multiple times, and it’s one I have no trouble recommending!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Studios.

Film Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Tender Trap (1955) – Debbie Reynolds – It Started With A Kiss (1959)

The Opposite Sex (1956) – Leslie Nielsen

To Have And Have Not (1944) – Walter Brennan

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… It Started With A Kiss (1959)

For our next movie, we have the 1959 comedy It Started With A Kiss, starring Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Symphony In Spinach (1948)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 6 minutes, 29 seconds)

Popeye and Bluto compete for a spot in Olive’s band. Yes, it’s still Popeye vs. Bluto fighting for Olive’s affections, so that’s nothing new. However, it’s fun seeing how they try to outdo each other with all the various musical instruments. And I love seeing how Popeye got his spinach from a free sample letter from the Sampson Spinach Co., addressed to Famous Studios, the creators of this cartoon! Not one of the best, but I certainly had a few good laughs with this one!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Dancer Maggie Putman (Debbie Reynolds) decides to borrow a dress from her job to go work a raffle booth at a charity bazaar, where she hopes to catch the eye of a wealthy bachelor. She catches someone’s eye alright: Air Force supply sergeant Joe Fitzpatrick (Glenn Ford), who was in the lobby with a friend trying to set him up with a date when Maggie walked in. Joe tried his best to get her attention, including buying a raffle ticket (which was for a very fancy car) but, since he wasn’t rich, she kept trying to ignore him. However, she has to leave when her dress gets caught and is torn apart. She forgets the torn off part of the dress, which he returns, in exchange for a date. When they kiss, just as an experiment (yes, It Started With A Kiss, I know), they decide to get married in a hurry. Of course, Joe has been on leave, and has to take off for Spain, leaving her with instructions to join him shortly. Not long after he leaves, Maggie finds out that he won the raffle for the fancy car, but when she writes him about it, she decides to keep it a surprise. However, based on the wording in her letter, Joe thinks she was trying to tell him she’s pregnant (in spite of not even being married a month yet). When she arrives, that matter is quickly cleared up, but in between that misunderstanding and how the Air Force personnel are reacting to her manner of dress, she decides they need to base their marriage on more than a physical attraction, and gives him an ultimatum of no sex for one month or she leaves. He’s not thrilled, but he decides to go along with it. Little does he know how much trouble her ideas about wealth and their new car are going to cause him, with it attracting the attention of the ambassador (who doesn’t want the Air Force personnel to give off ostentatious displays of wealth among the Spanish people), as well as the Marquesa Marion de la Rey (Eva Gabor) and her friend, the bullfighter Antonio Soriano (Gustavo Rojo) (who also finds himself interested in Maggie).

It’s been said that this movie was being planned as early as June 1957, when producer Aaron Rosenberg bought the property as part of his new contract with MGM. The plan was to use the original storywriter, Valentine Davies, to write the screenplay, although that ended up being handled by Charles Lederer (or at least was credited to him). The movie rather famously made use of one gag previously used in the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, in which, in this movie, Glenn Ford accidentally tears Debbie Reynold’s dress and then he has to walk in-step with her from behind to help her out of the room while hiding the torn dress. The movie also made use of the concept car Lincoln Futura, which would famously be used again a few years later on television as the Batmobile in the classic TV series Batman (although obviously with a slightly different coat of paint).

I know this is one of those movies that seems to have mixed reactions with audiences, but I happen to be one of those who like it! For me, Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds work well together, and play off each other’s timing real well! It’s easy for me to understand why they were quickly teamed up again for the movie The Gazebo! Throw in other fun comedians like Fred Clark as the Air Force general who has to deal with all the problems (including Debbie’s character accidentally getting into his bed and all the fun that entails), plus two people who would work together on television in a few years (even if they didn’t really share many scenes here), Eva Gabor and Edgar Buchanan (who would work together mostly with crossover appearances on the TV series Petticoat Junction and Green Acres). Now, is the plot the movie’s strong point? Not really, as it just seems like a lot of stuff getting thrown at them as excuses to keep them apart after bringing them together so quickly while padding the runtime, but it works well enough for me, and I enjoy getting to watch this one again every now and then! So, yes, it’s certainly got my recommendation!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The new Blu-ray is sourced from a recent 2K scan, and looks great! The detail makes it worth seeing (especially when the Lincoln Futura is onscreen), and the colors are as vivid as one could hope for! Honestly, let’s keep this simple: it’s a Warner Archive release, so for the picture quality alone, it’s worth it!

Film Length: 1 hour, 44 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Affair In Trinidad (1952) – Glenn Ford – Pocketful Of Miracles (1961)

Tammy And The Bachelor (1957) – Debbie Reynolds

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Movie On The Farm (2019) with… Susan Slept Here (1954)

As fond as I am of Christmas movies, I couldn’t help but want to be a part of the Happy Holidays Blogathon, hosted by Pure Entertainment Preservation Society (and I thank them for letting me join in on the festivities)! And with that, it’s time for the 1954 comedy Susan Slept Here with Dick Powell and Debbie Reynolds!

Screenwriter Mark Christopher (Dick Powell) has been in a rut ever since he won an Oscar. On Christmas Eve, one cop (who had consulted on one of Mark’s movies) and his partner bring 17-year-old juvenile delinquent Susan Landis (Debbie Reynolds) to his apartment, since Mark had previously mentioned to the cop that he had wanted to talk to a juvenile delinquent to help come up with a story. They leave her there, with plans to come back the day after Christmas so she doesn’t have to spend the holiday in jail. Susan doesn’t trust Mark (and he’s not thrilled with the idea, either), but after spending part of the night gaining each other’s trust (especially after Susan accidentally causes a fight between Mark and his girlfriend), they start to open up to each other. Mark learns about Susan making her mother go on a honeymoon with her new husband (which she only agrees to after Susan claimed she wanted to marry a guy she knew and her mother gave her written consent). When the police come back quicker than expected, he decides to take Susan to Las Vegas to get married (so that she would have a means of support and not go back to jail). After dancing all night at the clubs, they returned to Mark’s apartment, where he left a sleeping Susan and immediately left to go work on a story at a cabin in the mountains. While he’s away, he tries to have his lawyer get Susan to sign some annulment papers, but she is convinced that she has married the man she loves. The question remaining is whether he will come to the same conclusion?

Personally, I’m of the opinion that this movie qualifies as a Christmas movie. I’ll admit, there is some room for debate, but close to half the movie does take place around that time. And after all, the cops are trying to offer Susan a delay in being arrested to begin with due to the holiday spirit! But it’s still a fun movie to watch any time of the year.

And what a cast! We have Dick Powell as one of the leads (who, at 50, admittedly looks older than the 35-year-old character he’s supposed to be playing), who plays the character as sympathetic, without him ever making any advances. Alvy Moore is fun as Mark’s buddy Virgil, who works for Mark (but doing what, who knows, as Susan calls it when she says it is a “phony job”), and Virgil is certainly a much more lucid character than I’m used to with Alvy Moore, considering he is best known as the ever confused (and confusing) county agent Hank Kimball on classic sitcom Green Acres. Anne Francis is Mark’s fiance Isabella Alexander, who is generally a hoot as the spoiled daughter of a senator, and she spends most of her screen time furious with Susan, either when she answers Mark’s phone or when they meet in person. Comedian Red Skelton gets a quick, silent cameo near the end of the movie.

But Debbie Reynolds is the heart of this movie as Susan Landis, and makes it work so well! From the moment we meet her, when she is screaming and fighting with the cop as he tries to drag her in (and she does it in a way only Debbie Reynolds could do), we see just how she got into trouble (but at the same time, can easily understand why she would be putting up such a fuss). As we get to know her along with Mark, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for her by the time the cops come back early. And I know I’m cheering for her when she has the police escort Isabella from the apartment (especially since the cop carrying Isabella out had just had a picture frame purposely dropped on his feet by Isabella only a few moments before). The dream sequence is a little odd, but Debbie makes up for it (even though it has some dancing, I can’t quite call it a dream ballet, as it utilizes Dick Powell, Alvy Moore and Anne Francis besides Debbie, but she is the only one really doing much dancing). As a whole, just a wonderful movie to watch around Christmastime (or any other time of the year)! It may be the type that wouldn’t get made today (and for good reason), but it’s still a lot of fun!

While the Warner Archive Collection had previously made this movie available on DVD, their Blu-ray release a few years back was a wonderful improvement, really bringing out some of the vivid colors! So that would certainly be the way I would recommend seeing this almost-forgotten gem!

Film Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Murder, My Sweet (1944) – Dick Powell

Give A Girl A Break (1953) – Debbie Reynolds – Athena (1954)

Lovely To Look At (1952) – Red Skelton – Ocean’s 11 (1960)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!