Eric Wainwright (Van Johnson), a busy impresario, is besieged by hordes of wannabe concert stars, eager for their big break. One of them is Cynthia Potter (June Allyson), a talented pianist... See full summary »
Eric Wainwright (Van Johnson), a busy impresario, is besieged by hordes of wannabe concert stars, eager for their big break. One of them is Cynthia Potter (June Allyson), a talented pianist... but she can't get in to see him. When she learns that Wainwright is auditioning young musicians for a children's concert tour, Cynthia dons braces and bobby sox and passes herself off as a child prodigy. Written by
Dan Navarro <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This variation on Brackett & Wilder's THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR transposes the story from a military Academy background to the world of concert music. And while Brackett & Wilder's work is run as a purely and vastly enjoyable piece of straight farce, Hackett & Goodrich's script, while not as funny, makes some serious, if understated points about the freak-show aspects of show business.
Van Johnson and June Allyson are good in their roles. Indeed, Miss Allyson shows a lot more range than she is usually given the chance for. Credit long-time director Robert Leonard, who, after a long career was winding down in MGM's B department -- he was directing Oscar winners like THE GREAT ZIEGFELD in the 1930s, but didn't move into the Freed unit in the 1940s, which left him odd man out. Cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg, one of the key cameramen in setting up the glossy MGM visual style, uses a lot of low and askew camera angles.
Yet with all these advantages, there is something mechanical and depressing about the entire production. Brackett and Wilder's effort is time-bound in language and setting, but it is meant to be nothing more than fun and succeeds. This does not. I do not wish to point too accusatory a finger, but Miss Allyson, a very hard-working performer, never developed any of the arts of stardom. She remained, to the end, a capable performer, eager to please and hard working, but she lacks the skills to carry this off. The result is a good movie, not a great one.
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