June Allyson plays a band singer working in New York City; Van Johnson is the manager of a fancy apartment house where a murder is committed. The victim is Allyson's wealthy uncle, and ...
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Based on the story, "See How They Run," which ran in the June, 1951 issue of "The Ladies' Home Journal" and subsequently won that year's Christopher Award. The story was written by Mary ... See full summary »
June Allyson plays a band singer working in New York City; Van Johnson is the manager of a fancy apartment house where a murder is committed. The victim is Allyson's wealthy uncle, and since she can't account for her actions at the time of the crime, our heroine is the principal suspect.
Let's get this straight right from the start: "Remains To Be Seen" is neither a cinematic masterpiece nor a standout comedy, even by the standards of its time. The storyline is rather thin, too, plus the movie tries to be a comedy and a mystery thriller simultaneously, a combination that rarely works.
Still, I like it a great deal. Why? As a light comedy, it's certainly entertaining and even a sourpuss will get at least some laughs out of it. Then, it's the setting, New York City in the early 1950s, a fancy apartment building on Park Avenue. I admit I've always been sold on 1940s and 1950s culture (including movies), the architecture, the automobiles, jazz music and even the way people used to dress back then. Americans in those days may have been a bunch of commie-baiting, racist, chauvinist bigots (I'm not saying they were, but they've certainly been amply characterized as such), but they sure had style, much more so than today (but that goes for popular culture in most Western countries, including Germany).
Anyway, what makes this movie really worth watching is the chemistry between the two main characters, played by June Allyson and Van Johnson. They gas each other practically the moment they meet, a fully credible romance one simply has to find enchanting. They're a wonderful match, two wholesome and outstandingly likeable people who seem to have been made for each other.
Other plusses for "Remains To Be Seen" are a host of great character actors like Louis Calhern, Barry Kelley and Angela Lansbury and, last but not least, an all-too-brief appearance by the magnificent Dorothy Dandridge, playing herself in a spirited, swinging and highly sophisticated rendition of that wonderful song "Taking A Chance On Love". Plenty of good swing music in that movie in general.
All the more reason to watch "Remains To Be Seen", which I caught on German Television late at night (and videotaped on that occasion). I'll keep it forever, that's for sure.
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