Sailor Danny Xavier Smith and two other gobs try to save his sister Susan's virtue. She wants to get a role in the show "Hit the Deck". After wrecking the producers hotel suite, they land ... See full summary »
Melvin Hoover, a budding photographer for Look magazine, accidentally bumps into a young actress named Judy LeRoy in the park. They start to talk and Melvin soon offers to do a photo spread... See full summary »
Charlie Reader is a successful theater agent. He is also successful with young ladies. One day he is visited by his old friend Joe, married with three children. Joe falls in love with ... See full summary »
The star of an upcoming Broadway production, Janet Hallson, walks out during rehersals. The producers of the show, Ted Sturgis, Leo Belney and Bob Dowdy begin to search a replacement. After... See full summary »
The Robinson family are spending two weeks of summer vacation at a resort in the Catskills. Older daughter Patti vies with her friend, Valeria, for the affections of Demi Armendez but Patti... See full summary »
Kitschy musical remake of "Bachelor Mother". Debbie Reynolds plays an over-eager clerk in a large department store and Eddie Fisher plays the boss' son. After getting fired from her job, ... See full summary »
Rick Belrow Livingston, in love with Broadway star Lisa, is sentenced to 30 days in jail for speeding through a small town. He persuades the judge's daughter Cindy to let him leave for one ... See full summary »
Shirley Jones plays an innocent young American abroad (Italy, specifically), assistant to the cynically sarcastic art historian Sanders. She becomes romantically involved with Sanders' ... See full summary »
Attorney, Purdom, and singer, Damone, romance two sisters, Reynolds and Powell, who live with and are strongly influenced by eccentric, health oriented and star gazing grandparents. Written by
Even as late as 1954, Hollywood actors - in their shirtless scenes - generally wore their pants or bathing suits or loincloths high enough to cover their navels. In the Mr. Universe contest toward the end of this movie, the contestants wear snug-fitting, low-rising bathing suits which reveal several inches of skin below the navel. At the time, this must have been considered something of a "breakthrough." See more »
When Johnny offers Athena a lift back to her family's store rather than having her walk back, lack of shadows indicates it right around noon - yet it dark when they finally arrive at store, meaning the car ride has taken six or seven hours. See more »
Bodybuilding had a disreputable allure in the Eisenhower and Kennedy years. Few would admit to its hold on them, but how else could you explain the box-office success of movies like "Hercules Unchained" and subsequent gladiator trash with a fleet of amply-endowed stars like Gordon Scott, Mark Forrest, Dan Vadis, Mickey Hargitay, and Brad Harris bulging flagrantly in front of the camera?
The premiere member of this elite group was a former Mr. Universe--the dark, statuesque Steve Reeves. Before the days when he was sporting a leather loincloth, chained at the wrists, tensing his biceps, and literally bringing the house down, Reeves was introduced for the public's delectation in the 1954 musical "Athena." In it, he plays Ed Perkins, the prize stallion of a stable of physical culturalists groomed by the barrel-chested Louis Calhern--handlebar moustache, bluster and all--as Ulysses Mulvain, a septagenarian who espouses to a neo-Spartan approach to life, replete with vegetarian diet, and plenty of fresh air and exercise. Reeves vies for the affection of the title character, Mulvain's granddaughter (Jane Powell), who, much to the chagrin of the "stars," has eyes for a stuffy, young lawyer (played by the impossibly handsome Edmund Purdom--if there ever was an actor with a silky-milky-white complexion, it's him), himself being primed and tweaked for a U.S. senate seat. Reeves settles for a supporting role in his first major outing on the screen and sits on the sidelines while Powell charts her inevitable course with Purdom glowering at her incessantly. The body beautiful has his big scene with taking the title at a re-creation of the Mr. Universe contest that for insiders must have seemed pretty hokey.
That aside, if you're willing to go with it, "Athena" can be fun--a kind of stilted mixture of numerology, prurient interest, and music--all served up by the not-so-discerning minds of writers William Ludwig ("The Student Prince"), Leonard Spigelgass, and the by-then renowned songwriting team of Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. Their classic "The Boy Next Door" changes sex with Vic Damone singing it, and their "Love Can Change The Stars" is just syrupy enough for the sweet tooths of hopeless romantics. (My favorite is the spry "I Never Felt Better.") But none of these compares with the grandeur of blazingly blonde Powell's rendition of "Chacun Le Sait" from Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment." It's full of passion and indignation and fire, and Powell has never achieved so high a note of glory on screen as she has in these few much-too-short minutes.
Also on the sidelines--Debbie Reynolds as Athena's sister Minerva, and, descending from the clouds of Hollywood movie mysticism, Evelyn Varden as Salome Mulvain, grandmother of the nymphs, greeting everyone with something that sounds like "Namari gongo par" and coming out trances every so often to bestow upon her loved ones the will of the stars.
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