|Index||3 reviews in total|
Lots of behind the screen talent takes a whack at what seems to be an
attempt to make something to compete with the success of Rodgers &
Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC. They struggle with some unfortunately odd
casting choices to produce a fitfully interesting, silly musical. We
have Billy Gilbert and Mitzi Gaynor as Polynesians, William Lundigan
and Jane Greer singing songs written by Harold Arlen and Ralph Blaine,
and smirking Jack Paar as an army officer.
It's all an attempt to keep soldiers on Rest and Recreation on a delightful Polynesian island from fraternizing with the native girls, and Edmund Goulding fighting with a script by Claude Binyon -- whose writing talents were best expended on Abbott and Costello programmers -- to produce something interesting. The photography is the only part of the movie that can't be faulted: it's typical of the Fox musical style. It looks like it was planned for a Betty Grable musical but whatever her intended role was, it was recast. If you must watch this, see if you can spot Lee Marvin in the ensemble.
OK, it isn't a masterpiece, but this forgotten little movie does have some something to offer. It's got three of the loveliest ladies working in movies at the time, and you get to see them in Technicolor! While it would have been nice to have a few more musical numbers for these talented women to sing, there are some good musical moments. Gloria DeHaven has a rendition of "All Of Me" that steams up the screen as much as anything Marilyn Monroe ever did, without being over the top. The title song only gets a brief treatment that makes you wonder why they didn't feature it as a full number. There are some funny scenes as the captain tries uncomfortably to avoid entanglements with these lovely ladies. The movie would have benefited from more location shooting to make the tropical island atmosphere more realistic, but they probably had a pretty limited budget. If you enjoy lighthearted musicals and service comedies, give this one a chance if you can catch it on Fox Movie Channel.
Oddball cast fails to enliven unimaginative rip-off of SOUTH PACIFIC.
Songs by the brilliant Harold Arlen and Ralph Blaine make little
Mitzi Gaynor is amusingly miscast as a native Polynesian girl (with honey-colored hair?!)
Lundigan has about as much charisma as one of the coconuts Gaynor keeps dropping on his head (in real life, of course, a coconut falling on you could easily kill you). Still, the three women in the picture compete madly for his attentions while a pack of love-hungry G.I.s act really stupid every time they glimpse a woman's ankles.
Filmed in 1950 but not released till 1953 -- that suggests to me the studio knew it was a stinker.
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