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Charles Marquis Warren
An guy and a girl who are working in a carnival's dunk tank. When inebriated Texan comes to the booth he and the guy starts drinking. Eventually the Texan invites him to a function. When they get there he's mistaken for the Texan and she for the man's sister. Eventually he lost a wager and doesn't know how he's going to pay it. And the girl finds herself attracted to the Texan's foreman. Written by
At the time "Texas Carnival" was filmed, Red Norvo's trio included an African-American musician, bassist Charles Mingus, and when they recorded their number for this film (backing Ann Miller on "It's Dynamite") Mingus played on the soundtrack. But when the number was filmed MGM executives insisted that a white bassist substitute for Mingus on screen. See more »
During the chuck wagon race the Texas flag on the announcers stand is upside down. See more »
This brash and often noisy Technicolor trifle is definitely not for those expecting to enjoy a series of Esther's more elaborate water ballets. She spends a minimal amount of time in the water in this one and there's only one trademark production number, a dream sequence in which she floats sinuously about in Howard Keel's darkened hotel room, trailing yards of diaphanous white veiling, that comes close to what her fans might have lined up at the box-office hoping to enjoy.
Esther, however, looks wondrously healthy and pretty throughout, the very picture of an All-American Girl, acting with her usual pert insouciance. Howard gets to unleash his rich bass-baritone in two or three forgettable songs, though he certainly looks convincing as a lanky ranch foreman. Red Skelton contributes his usual shtick, at some tedious length here and there, and even manages to amuse today's audiences with a skillfully executed pratfall or two. Ann Miller, ever the most energetic in the cast, seems to come out on top in this pastiche, tossing off a couple of her patented leg-tossing, tippy-tapping dance amazements, choreographed by the reliable Hermes Pan.
M-G-M touted this as 'Another Big MGM Musical' but it appears to have been rather thriftily produced, with some minimal location work that looks notably cobbled together, especially in a concluding and very extended chuck wagon race, which involves some dangerously risky stunt work, by the way.
Keenan Wynn lends some very sour support, as a Texas millionaire, overly fond of his bourbon. Skelton also is supposed to imbibe a prodigious amount in one drawn-out sequence, and we're meant to find it riotously funny, something that may have been acceptable back in the early 1950s but which fails to amuse as easily today, with our greater awareness of the very deleterious effects of excessive alcohol intake.
It's also amusing to note how very much inflation has devalued the American dollar in the more than half-century since this film was released. A multi-room hotel suite large enough to fill one of M-G-M's average soundstages is quoted as costing what would be the usual price in today's dollars for a single, modest hotel room in a smaller U.S. city. A doctor makes a house call, to tend a briefly ailing Ms. Williams (She's fainted from hunger, poor thing!), for a fee that wouldn't cover the charge for administering an aspirin anywhere in a U. S. health facility today. A beautiful Lincoln Cosmopolitan convertible is smashed into a tree (mercifully, off-camera) and the quoted estimated tariff for its repairs (supposedly including a ruined dashboard) is so laughably minuscule that the total wouldn't cover a six months' insurance premium assessed for an ultra-safe contemporary driver with no traffic citations on his/her record over many prior years of accident-free mileage. What price progress?!?
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