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This is part one of a trilogy of "Americana" movies Sirk made for
which are set in the early part of the 20th Century, ("Meet Me At the
and "Take Me To Town" would follow). While critical of different aspects
American society, in this case the power of greed, they are movies that
exude much affection for their characters and the country itself. At this
point Sirk was still very enamoured with America. His future films would
reflect the change of his perception of American society coming to
in the big melodramas that lay ahead.
"Has Anybody Seen My Gal" signals the beginning of the star building process which took the almost unknown Rock Hudson and over a period of a few years turned him into America's top box office star. Much has been written of the subversive subtexts of Sirk's movies. It would seem his most subversive action was that out of a hunky, gay, not especially talented actor, he created and icon of the prototype fifties American male; a wonderful analogy for appearances and unrevealed truths that are much a part of the fifties psyche. Although Hudson receives top billing in "Has Anyone Seen My Gal", his role is decidedly secondary. This is very much Charles Coburn's movie. Hudson has little to do although his screen presence is already charged with the goodness and charm that were to be his trademarks.
"Has Anybody Seen My Gal" has the quality stamp of Douglas Sirk. His eye for good camera work, lighting and art direction are all evident. But like the other films of the trilogy it's a very light weight affair.
This is simply a pure delight of a comedy movie that runs on that
ages-old premise - what would you do if you suddenly came into a
Everything about this film gels into an 89-minute delight; the story, script, sets, atmosphere, colour and, above all, the performances of a disparate group of actors who ensemble into a highly believable American 1920s small-town family.
Veteran screen actor Charles Coburn is outstanding as the irascible but soft-hearted Samuel Fulton and the 'Temple-esque' Gigi Perreau should have won an Oscar for her portrayal of Roberta. Yes, James Dean makes his first (and ultra-brief) appearance as a bit-parter in one of the drug-store scenes but don't let this incidental occurrence put you off.
Has Anybody Seen My Gal never outstays its welcome - indeed it seems to be over all too soon. It has yet (as of Dec. 2005) to be issued on DVD and I, for one, am eagerly awaiting its well-overdue release.
This film is delightful for those of us who enjoy old-fashioned fun. Set in the era of Prohibition and flappers, "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" is a family flick. A rich, old gentleman tries to make amends for his youthful wrong choice between love & money, but ends up causing problems for those he is now trying to help. ... Yet, everything works out in the end. Charles Colburn plays a charming "Gramps" (aka Mr. Smith). Handsome Rock Hudson "Dan" looks too old for the part, but in reality was just 27 when the film was released. Laurie Piper "Millicent" is lovely, but little sister "Roberta" is the most fun!
Yup, that's James Dean at the soda fountain in a blink-and-you-miss-him scene! That's just one of the treats in this intoxicatingly charming film. I've always thought Piper Laurie was every bit as gorgeous as the other 50s sirens and Rock Hudson, director Sirk's go-to guy, is perfect as the hunky soda jerk in love. Beautiful to look at, with plenty of period songs, costumes, and cars. And the hep dialogue is a scream as is the agony of the period's high prices: a dozen eggs for under 15 cents! A great double bill would be seeing this with that other 1952 classic set in the same period, Singin' in the Rain. One of Mancini's earliest films.
I just caught this on AMC and loved it immediately. A millionaire (Charles Coburn) gives $100,000 to the family of the woman who rejected him when he was young. Set in the 1920's when steak was 56 cents a pound, that's a lot of cash!
The money immediately goes to the family's head and Coburn has to step in anonymously to set things right.
A wonderful period piece, and Coburn doing the Charleston is an incredible sight!
Although Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson are the stars of Has Anybody Seen
My Gal, this film belongs to Charles Coburn. He does one of those
patented foxy grandpa roles that he honed to perfection in such films
as The Devil And Miss Jones and The More The Merrier.
Coburn plays one of the richest men in the world, Rockefeller type rich and the film opens in the Rockefeller town of Tarrytown where Coburn is one of their neighbors. He's making out a last will and testament and since he's got no family of any kind, he's decided to leave his money to the Blaidells who are the descendants of the woman he once courted, but who married someone else.
But of course the Blaisdells do bear checking out so Coburn gets out of his sickbed where he's enjoying all attention he's been getting and visits them incognito. The family consists of husband and wife Larry Gates and Lynn Bari and children Piper Laurie, Gigi Perreau, and William Reynolds. Bari is the daughter of his lost love, but she's got a lot of social climbing pretensions, Coburn sees more of his former sweetheart in her granddaughter Piper Laurie. Piper's going out kind of with the soda jerk in her father's pharmacy Rock Hudson. But Skip Homeier is hanging around and he's the son of the wealthiest people in their town and that's a match Lynn Bari would prefer.
Coburn gives them a test run so to speak. First he finagles his way into boarding with them under an assumed name. Then like John Beresford Tipton he bequeaths on them anonymously a check for $100,000.00. Of course it all goes to Bari's head and she drags the rest of the family somewhat reluctantly into a new lifestyle.
Has Anybody Seen My Gal is set in the Roaring Twenties and the music score is of that period, popular tunes played in the background and occasionally done by the cast. Coburn has some incredibly good scenes here with Gigi Perreau, he saves Piper Laurie from being arrested in a speakeasy raid, and does a mean Charleston once he learns. Bari comes off second best in the cast as a woman who learns that even comparative wealth can bring with it all kinds of problems. Her family the Blaisdells learns in a more humorous way, the lesson George Bailey learned that no man is a failure who has friends. We can't all be millionaires.
Four years away from when they shared Oscar nominations for Giant, Rock Hudson and James Dean were in the same film. Dean had some small bit parts in a few films and television work before hitting it big. This is one of those bits and you can plainly recognize him as one of the Roaring Twenties kids at the drugstore soda fountain.
Has Anybody Seen My Gal did good things for stars Rock Hudson and Piper Laurie, but this film belongs to Charles Coburn and the marvelously droll and funny performance he gave.
The title "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" comes from a popular song of the 1920s, and presumably it was slapped on this non-musical movie to let people know when the story is supposed to be taking place. That was a silly idea, but the movie itself is charming. Charles Coburn plays the world's richest man, an elderly recluse whose face is known to virtually no one. (Bear in mind that this movie was made before tycoon Howard Hughes became legendary for his secretive ways.) The rich man travels incognito to the small town where he spent much of his youth. There he becomes the anonymous benefactor of a family that played an early role in his success, though none of its members have any idea of their link to him. He works as a seemingly down-on-his-luck soda jerk in the town, watching up close how his mysterious checks change the lives of people in this ordinary, close-knit family. It's not always a pretty sight, but it does teach a lesson, not just to them but to him. There's a Christmastime angle that isn't absolutely essential to the plot, but it did point out to me this film's similarity to another bittersweet fantasy, Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." If you want a movie that's heartwarming and entertaining and has a moral, this is a good choice. Try it for Christmas.
Charles Coburn gives the family of the woman who rejected him $100,000
in "Has Anybody Seen My Gal," a delightful 1952 comedy set in the
1920s. It's directed by Douglas Sirk and also stars Piper Laurie, Gigi
Perreau, Lynn Bari, William Reynolds and Skip Homeier. It seems that
when Samuel Fulton was a young man, the young woman who turned him down
spurned him on to great things. Now, with no heirs, he wants to leave
her family his money. Despite his belief that he's dying, he heads to
their hometown and moves in on them as a "Mr. Smith" in order to
observe them when they are presented with a check for $100,000.
Rock Hudson has a supporting role in this film - he plays a soda jerk and the love interest of Piper Laurie. Dancing the Charleston, he is darn cute. And if you think the kid at the soda fountain giving old man Fulton a hard time is James Dean, you're right, it is. People often say that James Dean only made three films. Wrong. He only STARRED in three films. Gigi Perreau is adorable without being cloying. Piper Laurie, in a Debbie Reynolds type of role, does a good job, though later on, she would shine more in drama. But at this point, she and Rock were just paying their dues along with William Reynolds, who became a TV actor.
This is Coburn's film all the way - he's a riot as an old codger who gets a dose of health and love from the family and gives some back in return. "Has Anybody Seen My Gal" demonstrates the fine directing gifts of Douglas Sirk whose name would become synonymous with big budget soap operas. But in 1952, it was fun all the way with Coburn and Universal's stable of young players.
This wonderful film has often been described as a wonderful piece of
Americana and so it is.
It is beautifully realized thanks to a wonderful cast, terrific pacing and a story line that we can repeat over and over: money isn't everything.
Charles Coburn gives another wonderful performance. This versatile actor, who moved from drama to comedy with ease, is fantastic as the elderly gentleman who visits the family of the woman who turned him down years before when he proposed to her. While the woman herself is now deceased, Coburn finds her family in the ideal American town of the 1920s.
Lynn Bari is wonderful as the status seeking mother married to a soda store owner-Larry Gates. Then there is Gigi Perreau who is as precocious as ever.
A young and beautiful Piper Laurie appears as their elder daughter who becomes engaged to Rock Hudson, a soda jerk at Gates' store.
When Coburn goes to live with family, posing as a border, all hell breaks loose when he gives them anonymously $100,000. The money changes all of them drastically.
There are wonderfully comic turns everywhere and there is a short but memorable Charleston done by Laurie and Hudson. Even, Coburn figures in the dancing.
You will be upset when the movie ends because Coburn, on the verge of being found out, announces to the family that he may never see them again as he leaves. Nevertheless, this is a feel good movie; it conveys the American ideal and values so well and with great comedy along the way.
Has Anybody Seen My Gal is directed by Douglas Sirk and written by
Joseph Hoffman and Eleanor H. Porter. It stars Rock Hudson, Piper
Laurie and Charles Coburn. Music is by Herman Stein and cinematography
by Clifford Stine. It's 1928 and plot finds Coburn as wealthy Samuel
Fulton, who now he is older and has no family of his own decides to
leave his wealth to the family of his first love, the Blaisdells.
Worming his way into the family's lives, he secretly grants them
$100,000 and observes as money greatly changes the family. And not for
Glorious Technicolor, sumptuous period detail and a funny picture laced with a caustic edge, Has Anybody Seen My Gal is a darn fine movie from the Sirk/Hudson stable. True, it's guilty of layering on the nostalgia, but the feel good factor that pulses throughout ensures the film remains a crowd pleaser. With song and dance also featuring, picture is frothy in its telling of how money can corrupt those who were once of sound standing. Yes, it's a message movie, but it's told with such an assuredness by Sirk and acted with fine ebullience by the cast, particularly the wonderful Coburn, that it becomes a movie comfortably recommended to those in need of a pick me up in this new and hurried world we live in. 7/10
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