A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ...
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Joseph H. Lewis
Dame May Whitty,
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A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English heiress who ran away from home and is now being returned to England. He also discovers that his boss is on the ship. To avoid discovery, he disguises himself as the gangster accomplice of a minister, who is actually a gangster on the run from the law. Written by
In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking, / Now, Heaven knows, / Anything goes!
[as she sings the words "anything goes", the title of the film appears onscreen]
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... As opposed to a musical comedy. Once again, Hollywood has tried to wreck a very successful Broadway play by removing most of the songs, but they failed in this endeavor - goes to show you can't keep a good show down. Actually, it is understandable in the case of a Cole Porter musical, as the Hays Code was in force for barely a year when Paramount produced this picture. Apparently his double-entendres and, ah, imaginative lyrics scared them off.
So, here is a comedy with some songs, and it still succeeds on both levels. The songs that were added by Richard Whiting/Leo Robin and Hoagy Carmichael are for the most part tuneful and worthy of inclusion, and probably not as lurid (although I didn't see the original I have heard the missing songs), if that's the correct word. The script was first-class and maintained a good level of humor throughout.
This is a good look at Ethel Merman (who was shamefully neglected by Hollywood, along with Mary Martin), and she is in fine voice, singing "You're The Top" and "I Get A Kick Out Of You". She is ably supported by a chubby-looking Bing Crosby, the nominal star of the picture. But Bing was not Broadway material the way 'The Merm' was, and she leaves him in the dust in their duet of the aforementioned "You're The Top".
Special mention should be made of Charlie Ruggles, who holds the flimsy plot together with an unexpected comic performance as a gangster-on-the-run. He is very funny, just as the music is very pleasing. Arthur Treacher is also on hand as a silly-ass Englishman, a role made popular in the 50's by Terry-Thomas. Ida Lupino, who always seemed somewhat horse-faced to me, has never - never, ever - looked lovelier as the runaway heiress.
I think website contributors have underrated this film as I found it lacked nothing except what the Hays Office removed.
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