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"You sigh the song begins, You speak and I hear violins---It's Magic."
Doris sure captured us all under her spell in her first role as Miss Georgia Garrett in Romance on the High Seas. Georgia is a singer hired by socialite, Mrs. Kent (Janis Paige). Mrs. Kent has suspicions that her husband is cheating on her when he backs out of a trip. She hires Georgia to go in her place on a cruise to South America. Mrs. Kent then is free to spy on her husband. Mr. Kent (Don DeFore) meanwhile has hired a private detective, Peter Virgil (Jack Carson), to trail his wife on her cruise. Talk about lack of trust! The highlight of the film, for me, is when Georgia, posing as Mrs. Kent, and Peter go ashore. They are seated and Georgia begins to sing "It's Magic." It is just beautiful! Soon, Peter and Georgia begin to fall for each other. As this is his client's "wife", Peter knows that this is a no-no. But, have they fallen too far under the spell? **A great cast-Doris Day, Jack Carson, Janis Paige, Don DeFore, and of course SZ Sakall **Terrific songs-"Put 'Em in a Box", "It's Magic", "It's You Or No One", "I'm in Love", "The Tourist Trade", and "Run, Run, Run" **Great dialogue This movie has it all! A must see! Be captivated-it truly is MAGIC!
One of the delights of "Romance on the High Seas" is the remarkable debut of
Doris Day. Having replaced an indisposed Betty Hutton, Day stepped into
this role with all the zest and zip that she brought to her total
It's rather amazing to me how accomplished Day was in her initial screen effort: her comedic work, singing, and general enactment was like that of a seasoned professional. All the infectious Day sparkle and spirit was there from the beginning, after only a brief period as a band singer.
Ably assisted by the multi-faceted Jack Carson, pretty other-woman Janis Paige, vulnerable foils Don DeFore and Oscar Levant, and top character actor S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, this Warner Bros. musical bounces along merrily. Fetching songs, a witty script, nice settings in Rio and Cuba, and a stylish specialty number by Avon Long keep things moving along right to the kaleidoscopic finale staged by Busby Berkeley.
"Romance on the High Seas" is a pleasurable way to spend an evening. As Doris's song goes, "It's Magic."
It's hard to believe 'Romance on the High Seas' is Doris Day's first
flick. She's awesome in a role originally intended for Betty
Hutton--and everyone has a great time poking fun at manners and morals
in this breezy sea breeze of a farce.
When Day and Jack Carson aren't coming up with one-liners, she takes time to sing some nifty tunes--among them, 'Put 'Em in A Box', 'It's You Or No One' and, of course, 'It's Magic'. Her rendering of the latter song in a Cuban nightclub is one of the highlights of the film--and her career. Never has she expressed the simple emotions of the lyric more beautifully with a honey of a voice that is always directly on pitch, warming the heart with great phrasing and tone. And her comedic skills are already in evidence here.
Especially enjoyable is her first night on board the cruise ship when she and Carson mistakenly dress up. "Nobody dresses on first night shipboard," Carson tells her. Posing as a society lady, she asks in cultivated tones, "Really? Don't they get chilly?" She turns and peers into the dining room. "This I gotta see!" she says in her own voice. She uses the cultivated tones to disguise herself as society lady (Janis Paige) whose identity she has taken.
The slim plot revolves entirely around the mistaken identity theme and it's all played for laughs with lots of punch lines. Doris has an amusing scene with the fabulous Eric Blore as a doctor who comes to check on her "illness" and ends up feeling weak when she checks his pulse.
Janis Paige, Don de Fore, S.Z. Sakall, Oscar Levant and the usual Warner Bros. stock players are all adept at this sort of thing. Highly amusing comedy with some great songs--easy to take and always good for a few laughs. Doris Day at the peak of her form.
Fortune certainly smiled on the talented Doris Day when she landed her first
movie role in this typical late-Forties musical comedy confection. She
looks great, sounds terrific and acts with confidence, supported by the best
that Warner Brothers could muster (except for the annoying Oscar Levant, an
all-time UNfavorite of mine). And, as always, the Warners music department
and sound technicians provide a wonderfully lush treat for the
Turner Classic Movies, bless 'em, occasionally hauls this one out of their vaults and it's fun to see it uninterrupted and causing one's TV screen to glow with that particularly cool, yet warm at the same time, three-strip Technicolor that Warners seemed to specialize in before Warnercolor's less vibrant tones decorated the studio's color output. Of course the clothes, the elaborately formal sets, and those hairdos (Could any woman back then achieve those coiffures without the aid of a platoon of hairdressers?) all are quintessentially Hollywood just before the Fifties demanded that everything look very modern and somewhat more sleek. But as a way to enjoy a bit of still very entertaining nostalgia, this one is hard to beat!
This one's a hoot!
This film's male cast is a very good one, and they receive most of the cargo of really funny lines: Don De Fore, Cuddles Sakall, Oscar Levant, and Canada's own Jack Carson. Oscar's misanthropic lines are usually acerbic enough, and self-referential enough, to sound as though he wrote them himself.
I was a little wary since this video is part of the Warner Brothers "Doris Day Collection". But Doris is really quite winning. According to an anonymous and unsung IMDb contributor, Judy Garland was the first choice for Doris's part. That would have been a poor fit; the role certainly calls for someone lighter. The second choice, Betty Hutton, would have been a good one as well, but Lady Day (sorry) won me over. She sings a number of delightful songs -- she just happens to find a jazz combo on shipboard to accompany her -- and there is nothing here as risible as "Que Sera Sera", the sugary kidnapping tune from "The Man Who Knew Too Much". "It's Magic" is the showstopper.
The cruise ship makes several stops as it's travelling south: Cuba, Trinidad, Rio. A song in the Hollywood version of the local style generally erupts spontaneously. Busby Berkeley called the shots on these, and his influence is, shall we say, detectable. Jack Carson sings a calypso number in an unsteady Trini accent, but it's not too bad considering he was attempting it 50 years ago, mahn.
Try booking a passage with this ship of fools the next time you're in need of a vacation.
Watching Romance on the High Seas I could have sworn that the Brothers
Warner hijacked one of the plots of an RKO Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers
film. It's got that kind of silliness in the plot, the usual case of
mistaken identities and false suspicions that characterized the
Astaire- Rogers films.
Don DeFore and Janis Paige are a couple each of who swears the other is cheating. When a mix-up from a travel agency in passport photos where Paige's is exchanged for Doris Day's she contacts Day and offers to pay Day's way on a South American cruise if she just travels in Paige's name. She wants to catch DeFore cheating.
Of course DeFore goes one better. He hires private detective Jack Carson to go on the trip and catch Paige cheating. Of course he latches on to Day.
If you are a fan of Astaire-Rogers films you know exactly where this one is going. Romance on the High Seas has all the ingredients of one of their films except the dance numbers.
It doesn't lack for a good musical score though. Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn came up with a good one where Day sings several songs, including the Academy Award nominated, It's Magic. It's Magic lost that year to Buttons and Bows. It's Magic happens to be a favorite one of mine of Doris Day hits.
Doris firmly establishes her image in this one. She's so radiant and sings so well, I can't believe she was a third choice for this film behind Judy Garland and Betty Hutton.
If you hear violins coming from some unknown source it will be the magic when you're watching Romance on the High Seas.
This was Doris Day's first film and what a fun one it was. I saw it as a kid in the old Monache Theater and then later on TV. I was surprised how well it had worn and was delighted to hear Doris Day, 23 years old at the making of this film, using the slang of the day, such as "Natch...Natch but def." Carson, Paige and DeFore were great as was the ever-insufferable curmudgeon, Oscar Levant alongside "Cuddles" Sakal, the perennial loveable Jewish uncle. Carson is especially good doing a Calypso number and the story is pure 1940's cotton candy.
Doris Day hails from our city of Cincinnati, Ohio. A Price Hill girl
who was born with the last name of Kappelhoff. Orignially, Doris wanted
to be a dancer, and if I'm not mistaken, she studied with Pep Goldwyn
here in Cincy. She was dancing with a guy named Jerry Doughtery when
they became involved in a car accident and she was told by her doctors
that she would never walk again, but they didn't know Doris as well as
she knew herself, and she ended up walking again, so seeing her career
as a dancer was more or less out the window, she studied singing with
Grace Rains at Schuster Martin who also trained Tyrone Power, another
Cincy talent, to be an actor, but he wanted to be a dancer also, and
they told him, "Tyrone; try acting!" So, he did, and the rest is
history! So, Doris ended up singing with a band, and later, it was
obvious that Kappelhoff was not the right name for a professional
singer although later some sexy lady by the name of Lollibrigida would
not fare so bad with an unpronounceable name, but anyway, she was asked
what her favorite song was, so the story goes, and she said, "Day by
Day" and that's how Doris Kapplehoff became Doris Day. Then later she
would do some Hollywood Musical Shorts for the movies, but nothing
happened until she was spotted for her singing talent because of her
hit record "Sentimental Journey" with Les Brown and His Band of Renown,
and then Warner Brothers made the call, and she said, "No!" She wanted
nothing to do with Hollywood, but eventually with a little coaxing by
Jack Carson telling her that they needed her and the picture was set to
go, she finally said yes, but to only one picture, and that was to be
that! Well, after "Romance On The High Seas" premiered, that was to be
that wasn't that anymore, and, once again, history was made! Was Doris
lucky! One of the finest Hollywood directors Hollywood would ever see,
the very underrated Michael Curtiz guided her through the picture, and
the greatest songs composed for a singers debut in the movies, and of
course, the hit song, "It's Magic" became another hit for Doris Day on
the record charts, although, I've always preferred "It's You Or No One
For Me" to be the better of the two, and "Put It In a Box, Tie It With
a Ribbon" coming second in my opinion! Later on in her movie career,
her dream of being a dancer would come true in movies such as Tea For
Two, but she had to wear shin-splints to be able to dance, and after
"Lullabye of Broadway" in which she completely showed her dancing
talent, it was decided that dancing in the movies would have to stop
for fear of damaging her legs again, and by the way, when she danced in
the movies, notice that it was either long dresses or slacks that she
wore to dance in, therefore, the shin splints could not be seen!
We're proud of our Doris here in Cincinnati, Ohio, which also boasts Tyrone Power, Vera Ellen, George Chakirus, Dean Millerk, who eventually wound up on the T.V. Series "December Bride" with Spring Byington and Frances Rafferty, and also, some say, Roy Rogers! We got a lot to be proud of here in Cincinnati, Ohio! WE LOVE YA DORIS!
Make no mistake, this is Doris Day's movie, first one or not. And
that's no small accomplishment. She is up against not just two, but
three veteran scene-stealers in Oscar Levant, "Cuddles" Szakall and
Jack Carson. Yet the sheer naturalness of her winning personality is
enough to launch one of Hollywood's most successful screen careers.
On the whole, it's an entertaining film, especially the first third where Day's high spirits are allowed to shine. Once the shipboard romance takes over, things slow down and the mood shifts. Whatever his other many talents, the versatile Jack Carson is a character actor, not a leading man. Too bad he gets romantically serious and we lose his light comedic talents. And, of course, there's the professional wit, the very unHollywood-looking Oscar Levant, always livening things up with a mordant quip.
What a gorgeous movie to look at. The Technicolor is outstanding. Note how well the colors are coordinated, especially the scenes in Rio. This is a neglected phase of movie-making, and here the art director and set designer both deserve industry awards. The plot's fairly clever, having to do with a marital mix-up that keeps the audience interested without straining. Nonetheless, it's Day's movie, showing what an engaging screen personality she is-- too bad she became mockingly identified as America's "professional virgin". Here, her rendition of "It's Magic" is just that. Magic!
It's the sort of script that Hollywood would have called a "merry marital mixup" back when, but with a little more stuff on the curveball than usual: A suspects B and B suspects A of infidelity, so A hires C to impersonate A on a cruise, while B hires private detective D to trail A, but D thinks C is A... There are some good lines, and director Curtiz, as was his wont, keeps things moving. Janis Paige is a hoot in a series of increasingly bizarre hats, and the unusual dullness of the Warners leading men (I mean, Don DeFore?) doesn't hurt that much. Doris even manages to look enraptured opposite the slightly snarky Jack Carson, and sings "It's Magic" three times. Even Carson sings, and not badly, though it's a somewhat xenophobic mock-Trinidad specialty number that's embarrassing by today's standards. Doris, in her film debut, is assured and pleasant, and so is the movie, in a studio-manufactured kind of way.
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