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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
Andy Clark discovers he was cheated out of a half interest in partner Mike's business, now a thriving dance hall in 1892 Chicago. Unable to win it back, Andy schemes to make Mike's position untenable. He also hopes to turn Ruby Summers, Mike's motor-mouthed burlesque queen, into a classier entertainer, and incidentally to make her his own. But at the last minute, Andy's revenge comes unravelled. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Smart, funny dialogue and songs...but the casting works against the plot
Remake of 1943's "Coney Island" (both starring Betty Grable!) has Victor Mature (in suits and straw hats) playing a hustler-showman conning old acquaintance Phil Harris into going in business together in 1890s Chicago. Seems nightclub owner Harris has scuffled with a rowdy drunk and believes he's killed him; Mature holds this over his head and steals his girl in the process! Screenwriter Charles Lederer has penned a great deal of smart, sassy patter (broken up every now and again by cute musical numbers), but he fumbles what little plot there is. Lederer also isn't helped by the casting: Phil Harris seems like such a genuinely nice guy (with a big, gregarious smile) that Mature comes off a bit cold-hearted by contrast (he's not the dashing romantic intended). Grable is very lively on stage and funny in a catfight scene with a showgirl; she keeps a heated temper throughout and gives the movie a good goosing. Also funny is Margaret Hamilton in small role as a crusader for decency (no one displays comic indignation better than Hamilton). Fox production values a bit low, although the trick photography during a ferris wheel sequence is well done and Harris has a funny bit there inadvertently proposing to a sailor. ** from ****
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