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Covering the tulip festival in Little Delft, Michigan, reporter Henry Taggart takes a room at an inn ran by an eccentric old Dutchman, Mr. Van Maaster and his seven daughters. The eldest, Regina, is spoiled and stage-struck while Billie, Victor, Albert, Cornelius, Peter and George work there as boys. Henry, momentarily attracted to Regina, realizes he is in love with Billie when he hears her sing. Billie, resists his attentions, believing him the property of Regina since it is a Van Maaster family tradition that no girls in the family can marry until the eldest has. Billie admits her love for Henry but Regina will not relent. The old man trails Regine to New York where she says she has eloped, and asks that Billie marry Henry. Six couples in wedding clothes stand at the altar in the Little Delft church; Billie and Henry and the five other sisters with their intended. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Yikes! Sixty-some years after first seeing this movie as a child, I remembered only how cool I thought the bed in the wall was. Now that TMC is recycling it, no other positive memory comes to mind. I regret in a way having to rate it so low, but this really is a very flaky production even for the desperate years in which it was made.
The first and most important fact to keep in mind if you have the good fortune to view it is that it is a turkey masquerading as a fantasy. It cries out for deconstruction. Giving boys' names to the seven eponymous knockout beauties is a Freudian howler. Especially when the gals are matched with an odd assortment of young male actors who had somehow avoided the draft long enough to appear on this 1942 set. And the real Holland, Michigan today is to a large extent a Spanish-speaking community that reflects how quickly times change in the real world -- not that it ever was in the first place anything close to what this film fantasy conjures up. Indeed, the image of tulips and windmills seems calculated to stand in stark relief to the reality that was the Netherlands under the Nazi heel in 1942, ironically demonstrating that the generally pro-German neutrality in that country and in the real Holland, Michigan during the years between WWI and WWII was a fool's paradise.
But enough of that. Baby-faced Van Heflin in his over-sized fedora playing the role of a hard-nosed photo-journalist seems in any event miscast. His best role would come a decade later in the movie Shane. And warbler Kathryn Grayson would later stand out in the classic 1951 movie version of Showboat.
Even as sheer entertainment in its own time, this film is unadulterated escapism, worthy of no more than a glance by film historians.
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