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In rural 19th-century Indiana, the three daughters of a Civil War veteran are courted by three young men--one a sophisticated city slicker who sells phony oil stock, the second a local eccentric and the third a stolid country boy.
Eleanor Collier wants to become a successful actress and agrees to a series of publicity stunts thought up by her press agent, Charley Baxter. The result is trouble and a bad impression. Eleanor quarrels with her boyfriend when he blames her publicity mania for getting her involved in an underworld killing. A gangster kidnaps her for being, unwittingly, the finger woman in the killing, but a Boradway columnist comes to her rescue. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you don't want to kill the late Betty Hutton (at her over-the-top over-energetic worst here) six minutes into the film, you'll probably have a good time with this Frank Loesser vehicle that disappointingly has no relationship at all to the better known and more tuneful Cole Porter stage show with Ethel Merman. There's nothing here to erase memories of Hutton's hit song "Murder He Says" from her best film, 1943's HAPPY GO LUCKY with Mary Martin.
GUYS AND DOLLS it isn't, but it is fun to see Loesser himself (who wrote the semi-score for Hutton to chew scenery through) turn in a credible acting job as a mobster who just might bump off the always irritating Hutton before her screen roommates quite reasonably get the idea. June Havoc (Gypsy Rose Lee's real life sister) is a bit long in the tooth but excellent as the chief imposed-upon roommate, as is an almost young William Frawley as Hutton's eager agent (years before he became "Uncle Charley" on TV's MY THREE SONS) and co-top billed Victor Mature as the director in the central backstage story who is also a rooming house neighbor and inexplicable boyfriend.
There are only so many twists on the familiar backstage film plot, and this RED, HOT AND BLUE bowwows most of the best from more famous films like 42ND STREET, but John Farrow and Charles Lederer's screenplay makes them almost feel fresh as it bounces pin-ball fashion from point to point.
Look for William Talman (later prosecutor Hamilton Burger on TV's PERRY MASON) and Broadway's Jack Kruschen in a couple of effective small roles.
For me, though, the high point of the film was when Percy Helton's stage manager (looking remarkably like the stage's Harold J. Kennedy) gives a perfect assessment of the star's talent following a number imposed upon him outside the stage door. THAT'S entertainment.
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