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Hat check man Louis Blore is in love with nightclub star May Daly. May, however, is love with a poor dancer, but wants to marry for money. When Louis wins the Irish Sweepstakes, he asks May to marry him and she accepts even though she doesn't love him. Soon after, Louis has an accident and gets knocked on the head, where he dreams that he's King Louis XV pursuing the infamous Madame Du Barry. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When MGM bought the rights to Cole Porter's DuBarry Was A Lady for the Arthur Freed unit as per usual the naughty Porter score was completely emasculated and songs old and new from a variety of sources were interpolated into the film. It was like his lyric of Friendship, a perfect blendship.
If you're attentive however you can hear at least two of the songs played as background music, When Love Beckoned and Well Did You Evah which was later interpolated by MGM into High Society for that never to be forgotten duet with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Only Friendship, Do I Love You Do I and Katie Went To Haiti made the final cut in the score.
Sad also that Ethel Merman and Bert Lahr did not get to repeat the roles they did on Broadway and Darryl Zanuck would not let Betty Grable come over from 20th Century Fox. Ethel only did two of her Broadway roles for the movies, Call Me Madam and Anything Goes and Lahr for whatever reason after the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz was given a whole of mediocre parts.
It was said that Merman was not film box office, but certainly Lucille Ball wasn't either at that time. Red Skelton was however, his career was on the rise and so television's two most famous redheads got to team on the big screen.
Lucy is the star of a nightclub chorus and Red is the hat check man who hits the lottery. He's been crushing out on Lucy for forever, but now that he's rich he thinks she might give him a second look. He puts the big moves on her. but she can only see hoofer Gene Kelly. Still his money is tantalizing.
When Red tries to slip Gene a mickey finn he winds up drinking it himself and dreams he's back in the court of Louis XV as Louis XV with Lucy as the notorious Madame DuBarry. And Kelly turns up as the dashing rebel the Black Arrow, rival for the affections of the Madame.
In both the modern and period story MGM packed a lot of entertainment in the 89 minute running time. What court or nightclub would not like to have Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra as its personal band? There are some nice solos by drummer Buddy Rich and singing with the Pied Pipers are Jo Stafford and newly arrived vocalist Dick Haymes.
Virginia O'Brien contributes a few numbers. She never did any acting roles of note, but was always welcome in an MGM production for her singing and devastating dead pan delivery of a song. Making his big screen debut as the nightclub fortune teller was Zero Mostel with just a trace of his zaniness in play.
This was one of the few films that Gene Kelly was in that he really did not have control of his material yet. Nevertheless his Black Arrow persona was a hint of what you saw later in a high flying dance number in Anchors Aweigh and in The Three Musketeers and The Pirate.
A thin plot is just an excuse to hang a lot of comedy and musical entertainment. But what I would have given to see Merman and Lahr do a faithful adaption on screen.
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