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The Life and Great Music of Viennese-American composer Sigmund Romberg
With a running time of 2 hours and 12 minutes, this film is a bit long, but well worth it. Where else can you see all this talent except in a beautiful M-G-M film from the 1950s? The music, acting as well as the clothes and sets are wonderful. Jose Ferrer, though not a favorite of mine, is a really great actor and he gives a tour de force when he performs his entire show, playing all the parts, in front of the woman he loves and her disapproving mother. It's quite funny and unlike how we usually think of Ferrer. He also smiles more in this film than any other and he possesses some charm. Aside from Ferrer, the music is the star and there is plenty of it, all displayed and performed by the top stars at Metro. We get to see and compare Gene Kelly and his brother Fred who have a cute number. There is also the only pairing of Jose Ferrer and his wife, the spectacular Rosie Clooney to whom he was twice married, for a total of five marriages in all. Tony Martin, Cyd Charisse, Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Ann Miller and Vic Damone all add their talents and are exceptionally appealing. The story is devoid of all the falsifications of other biographies such as Gershwin's and Porter's.
There is also great sentiment as when Romberg performs his Carnegie Hall concert and dedicates it to his wife. Helen Traubel sings quite a lot of songs in this film, but her voice is excellent, despite the rather simple role of restaurant owner-friend-singer.
Also nice, is seeing some actors who are still with us in character roles such as Robert Easton, Russ Tamblyn, and I do believe I detected a very young Robert Wagner as the "football player" in the Artists and Models stage scene, as an extra.
In all, this is an excellent film of the period, with very cute humor, and helps educate fully about Romberg's music.
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