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Marshovia, a small European kingdom, is on the brink of bankruptcy but the country may be saved if the wealthy American Crystal Radek, widow of a Marshovian, can be convinced to part with her money and marry the king's nephew count Danilo. Arriving to Marshovia on a visit, Crystal Radek change places with her secretary Kitty. Following them to Paris, Danilo has a hard time wooing the woman he believes is the widow after falling in love with an attractive young woman at a nightclub, the same Crystal Radek who presents herself as Fifi the chorus girl. Written by
"It's Your Little Fifi"; Fenando Lamas Impersonating Richard Hayden
The one thing I like about this movie is that Lana Turner got a chance to do something that she normally wouldn't do; be in a musical. O.K., so she couldn't sing and the one song that she did sing was dubbed by Trudy Erwin who dubbed Kim Novak in Pal Joey! Big deal! So, all of the singing numbers went to Fernando Lamas who "could" sing, and he does them very well, but this film has a lot more going for it than what one would think. First of all, it's not as stuffy as the Jeanette McDonald version in which she is to fall in love with Maurice Chevalier and why would a beauty like Jeanett want to fall in love with Maurice? At least we have the beautiful Lana falling in love with the very handsome Fernado which they did when making this movie together and it shows. What doesn't show through the movie is Lana's wrists which were bandaged because of a suicide attempt. The Merry Widow Ballet at the end of the movie is just down-right glorious. The cast looks like they're having the time of their life including Una Merkel who didn't look like it in the Jeanette McDonald version in which she played the same role! In fact, in this version, the credits and one scene on the balcony makes you ask, "Is Una's name Kitty or Katie? When Lana enters Maximes, we see Gwen Verdon doing the Can Can and at that time she wasn't really that well known except for her dance number with Betty Grable "I Feel Like Dancing Tonight" is Meet Me After the Show! But, Lana Turner never looked more beautiful, Fernando Lamas was just terrific as Count Denilo, and you couldn't help wondering where you heard Richard Haydens voice until you saw Disney's Alice In Wonderland in which he spoke for the Catipillar! And, of course, years later, we would recognize him as Uncle Max in the movie version of "The Sound of Music", and even though it's trivia now, we have Fernando Lamas' impersonating Richard Hayden, and very well, saying, "It's your little Fifi" which is right in there with the trivia question "What did Klatu tell Patricia Neal to tell Gort is anything happened to him!. Klatu Barada Nico". So, all in all, the music is great, the performances are high camp at its best, and that great Ballet at the end, leading into Lana Turner asking Charles Gomez, "What did your Excellency exactly mean - heads will roll?" and that glorious Technicolor makes this great entertainment, but - again, I have to say that these movies were meant for the large movie theater screen, and without that screen you can not even imagine how wonderful this movie and other were in those days! That large screen "did" make the difference!
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