|Index||2 reviews in total|
A lovely, modest turn-of-the-century musical featuring Dan Dailey as one of
those medicine show con men that seemed to be everywhere in the cinematic
wild west, with Scatman Crothers as his pal, Chet Allen as the little boy
"adopts". Douglas Sirk directs this films with a real feel for the period,
and seems literally to be taking his cues on how to direct this film from
Dan Dailey's acting style. Dailey was a conundrum. He never made the top
of musical stars, yet he could sing and dance with the best of them, and
a better actor than most. There was a cynicism to everything he did that
made him perfect for con man and shifty character roles, yet he never found
the right one that would enable him to break through, especially in his
post-musical career. Here he is in very much in his element, as he plays
character of Doc Tilbee as both a scamp and a decent guy. That the little
boy idolizes him and regards him as a larger than life hero, taking Doc's
tall tales for the real thing, gives a poignancy to the story. Since Doc is
himself somewhat of a child, he understands the boy instinctively, and this
helps him grow up a little, too.
There are some nice songs along the way, and real heartbreak as well, and both complement the story rather than detract from it, and so the movie is all of a piece. This is a perfect film for a lazy summer afternoon or evening. It brings back sweet memories of childhood, and when it's over it's hard to believe that the story maybe didn't happen to you, that it's part of your life, and that you just happened to have forgotten about it. There aren't too many movies you can this this about. The Wizard Of Oz comes to mind. Meet Me At the Fair is in its way almost as memorable.
The second part of Sirk's "Americana" trilogy after "Has Anybody Seen My
Gal" and before "Take Me To Town". Like its predecessor, there is a strong
critical streak; this time its of political corruption, but the film is
imbued with tremendous affection for its characters delightfully played by
Dan Dailey, Scatman Crothers and child actor Chet Allen.
The musical numbers are decidedly second rate and add little to the film as a whole. Nothing in this modest, very light weight film portends the great melodramas that Sirk would make a few years on.
Its very easy and pleasant viewing but only of real interest to Sirk enthusiasts.
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