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William A. Wellman
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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
"Lady in the Dark" is a curiosity. The circus sequence with "The Saga of Jenny" gives a taste of what the movie version of the Broadway show might have been like (as other commentators have noted, the song is the sole survivor of the Broadway score by Weill and Gershwin, aside from snatches of "My Ship" and "Suddenly it's Spring", and a verse from "Once Life to Life" which Ginger Rogers recites). Ginger is a knockout, even in her "plain" business suits. The visual design is so rich you could swim in it- it was lovely to see the 40s magazine design as well as the sets. And the costumes! The sequin lined mink skirt is stunning, and so is the gown in the wedding sequence. The psychoanalysis storyline is well handled for a movie made in this period when analysis was strange and frightening to the audience. However, what could have been an exquisite soufflé is let down by the bizarre decision to cut all but one of the numbers and the development of the plot. It suggests that women are miserable in business suits and are far happier wearing frou frou gowns and being "dominated" by men (its terminology, not mine). I will say in the plot's defense (if I may take Ray Milland's part in the circus sequence for a moment) that it doesn't have Ginger pairing off with irresistible but insecure movie star Randy Curtis. When she announced that she was going to marry him and give up her job I yelled out, "You'll be sorry!" The writers recognize that Randy and staying home to be a housewife (even a Hollywood one) would bore Ginger's character out of her tree. Her sparring colleague is a far better choice, and there's a hint in the final that perhaps neither Ray or Ginger will dominate the other, but be partners in running the magazine (they're both overwhelmed with enthusiasm for it). But this hint of equality isn't enough to redeem Ray's earlier nastiness to Ginger, or the tone of misogyny. The movie still comes down with a thud, like Ginger at the end when Ray takes her chair.
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