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W.S. Van Dyke,
Robert Z. Leonard
It's Tess' graduation day from "Miss Drakes School for Girls". During the choir's performance at the ceremony, Tess notices that her beautiful, divorcee mother, Louise Rayton Morgan isn't there. Louise, an editor for Modern Design Publication, is lying in Dr. Cannon's office from fainting due to being over-worked and stressed-out. At home after the graduation ceremony, Dr. Cannon has a talk with Louise's three daughters, Tess, Ilka and Alix. He tells them that their mother needs a vacation badly, but, the only way she can relax is if she goes without the girls. The girls agree, but, Louise is reluctant, but goes. The girls see their mother off on her one month Cuban cruise. When the girls get home they discuss their mother, and believe if they bring their father back home it will make their mom happy and healthy again. In reality, Louise has kept the truth about their father from them. Their father was actually a very uncaring man, who left them and left Louise to raise the girls on ... Written by
Four cooks didn't manage to spoil this bubbly broth!
There are four writers credited for the script of this Technicolored concoction and somehow its froth still manages to fizz in a quite entertaining way. That's thanks in large part to an attractive cast and the delightful surprise of José Iturbi's charm as a very convincing actor. Plus, it almost goes without saying, some eminently listenable singing from Jeanette MacDonald and her young up-and-coming counterpart, Miss Jane Powell.
Mini-Spoilers May Ensue -
Of course the manipulations of the rather simple plot are spun out almost to the point of frustration as a mother keeps her daughters in the dark about why their father and she divorced, the daughters plot to bring their father back from a distant work assignment, their mother meets and marries a charming man whom she truly loves, the daughters resist his introduction into their happy home, etc., etc., etc. Aaarrgh! It could have been utterly annoying, but Jeanette MacDonald, looking lovely, and Señor Iturbi, understandably falling head over heels for her, make for two adults who deserve their final happy song (with the three little vixens joining in) at one of the pianos that seem to be in every room of this film's many luxuriously appointed sets.
A few things of note: Someone (the set decorators, the hairdressers, the color consultants, the cinematographer, whomever) had a liking for the color orange and its many gradations from pale peach to burnished bronze. There's some note of it somewhere in virtually every shot of every scene in this film!
Young Miss Ann E. Todd (not to be confused with the English actress, Ann Todd) seems to have been forced to play almost every one of her scenes with a rather unbecoming scowl on her pretty, brown-eyed face. Its not out of character for the part she's playing, but it does seem a bit excessive.
And, wouldn't you know it? (I did without even checking the IMDb Trivia on this title.) The Roman Catholic Legion of Decency found this film "Objectionable In Part For All" because it appears to "condone" divorce, an absolute no-no as far as that censorious body was concerned when it held such influential sway.
But don't be deterred. Next time Turner Classic Movies unearths this bon-bon from their vaults, give it a whirl. It's fun to see how the better half lived and loved in simpler times, and when a major studio could make going to Cuba and back (without ever leaving Culver City, California - The story happens to involve a vacation cruise on a ship with the most impossibly large public rooms and private suites, enough to make a Greek tycoon's yacht look like a rowboat!) a visual treat every mile of the way.
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