Betty Grable and Dan Dailey are a married song and dance team who cannot have children. The movie follows the travails as they try and adopt and keep the kids they adopt while performing on their TV show.
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This is the third film adaptation of the play "Burlesque". The first two were made by Paramount Pictures. The producers of this adaptation, 20th Century Fox, bought the rights to the earlier versions so they could film their version. Fox subsequently failed to renew the copyrights to both of the earlier versions, causing them to fall into the public domain, but renewed the copyright to the 1948 version. Eventually, Fox teamed up with Paramount on what was once the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide, Titanic (1997). See more »
Masochistic musical from Fox...different from their usual output, and well-performed
Betty Grable and Dan Dailey fare quite well in this musical comedy-drama which, initially, appears to have come straight off the '40s-era assembly line at 20th Century-Fox Studios. Based on the play "Burlesque" by Arthur Hopkins and George Manker Watters, the atypically complicated plot concerns a married couple, stage performers in the 1920s, who are separated after the husband gets a shot on Broadway and the wife gets stuck behind on the road. The twosome remain devoted to each other until it leaks in the press he has been spending lots of free time with a pretty new co-star--the wife's nemesis! Grable wears a cockamamie hairdo throughout (and her only good song, "What Did I Do?", is hampered by poor choreography), though she's sweet in her backstage scenes, joshing with pals Jack Oakie and June Havoc, and playing flattered star to handsome admirer Richard Arlen. Dailey, on the other hand, received an Oscar nomination for his work, and it's easy to see why; walking a fine line between pathos and comedy, he's portraying a talented alcoholic, desperate to keep the peace while needing an outlet for his own frustrations (one senses he isn't so much insecure as he is a grown-up child who needs a firm, upstanding mother-figure to guide him). The picture doesn't really get into the masochism build into the plot's formula. Grable can see that her husband "Skid" is on the skids, floundering and helpless--his own worst enemy--yet Grable's loving responses to him are a tad bit insane. Sure, she's noble by lending a helping hand, but the movie-makers equate her kind gestures with a selflessness that goes beyond the call of duty. Betty isn't an enabler, per se--the point is made that her unconditional devotion will turn everything right again--but how many people actually bought this 'happy ending'? I didn't find it very convincing, but 1948 was really too early for Hollywood musicals to become dark and probing. For its time, this was probably just the tonic for matinée audiences hoping to shake the blues away. **1/2 from ****
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