Dancer George Raft (Ray Danton) finds himself involved with the criminal underworld. After a conflict with gangster boss Frank Donatella (Joe de Santis), he is exiled to Hollywoood, where ... See full summary »
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Three shady characters - Larry, Jean, and Dan - want to make money legally by resuscitating a fitness magazine with cheesecake and beefcake photos and salacious stories with tacked-on morals. They hire two recent Olympic champions as editors to give legitimacy: Barbara Hilton, an English diver, and Don Jackson, a U.S. swimmer. When Jackson and Hilton object to the magazine's contents, they send him on a worldwide search for beauty, for youthful paragons of fitness. When Barbara and Don want out of the partnership to start their own fitness farm, the trio hatches a plan to bilk the kids. Can Barbara and Don avoid being conned or will a femme fatale undo their partnership? Written by
What a great idea for a movie! 'Search for Beauty' assembles some dazzling young specimens of physical perfection (both female and male) and places them in a smart-aleck comedy that's downright hilarious! Real-life Olympic swimming champion Buster Crabbe plays an Olympic swimming champion (but gets almost no swimming footage), and Ida Lupino plays an Olympic high-diving champion ... who emerges from the pool with her lipstick intact. I'm pleased to see Crabbe exhibiting real acting ability in a role that doesn't involve rayguns or loincloths.
This movie parodies the career of Bernarr MacFadden, a crackpot who made a fortune publishing 'health' magazines that were full of fad diets, copper bracelets and plenty of photographs of scantily-clad women and men.
Robert Armstrong plays a confidence trickster, partnered by Gertrude Michael as his Jean Dixon-ish wise-cracking moll. By the way, I really dislike the movie cliché of the female companion who is constantly insulting her male partner. If she really has so little respect for him, why does she stick with him? James Gleason is on hand here too, as another swindler. Surprisingly, Gleason's character is completely subordinate to Armstrong's. Gleason nearly always played the brains of the outfit, but here his character is largely Armstrong's yes-man. Still, Gleason gets off some splendid wise-cracking dialogue, including the word 'gazype' ... whatever that means.
There's an excellent montage sequence featuring actual footage from the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, and there are a couple of production numbers with lissome female athletes clambering on top of beefcake specimens. The comely Gwenllian Gill shows great appeal in her brief role. Silent-film comedian Leo White does one very funny slapstick bit, and Gleason's performance is more physical than usual. For one long sequence, we see the runty Gleason stripped down to a pair of gym trunks. Gleason gets the last gag in the picture, a cheeky joke that seems more typical of Lou Costello. 'Search for Beauty' is hilarious from start to finish (except for Toby Wing), and this film is definitely a pleasure to look at. I'll rate it a perfect 10 out of 10.
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