Pretty Wally Cooper, a reporter for the New York Chronicle convinces her editor to let her do a series of articles on Homer Flagg, a young man from New Mexico who is believed to be dying as a result of radioactive poisoning. Before she arrives out west, Homer learns from his doctor that the diagnosis was a mistake and he's perfectly healthy. That doesn't stop them from accepting Wally's offer of an all- expenses paid trip to New York. Everyone in New York takes pity on Homer, while Homer and his doctor try to keep up their pretense. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 1937, William Wellman directed a classic screenplay by Ben Hecht called "Nothing Sacred". This film has become a screwball comedy classic. Doctor Charles Winninger wrongly diagnoses patient Carole Lombard telling her that she has radiation poisoning. New York journalist Frederic March finds out about this and brings Lombard and Winninger to New York as a publicity stunt. March later discovers that Lombard is not going to die, but this does not matter to him; he has fallen in love with her.
Now in the early 1950s, this movie was turned into a Broadway musical called "Hazel Flagg". The score was written by Jule Styne ("Anchors Away", "High Button Shoes", "Gentleman Prefer Blondes", "Gypsy", "Funny Girl") and Bob Hilliard (a Brill Building lyricist). The show was semi-successful, so Paramount decided to use it as a basis for a Martin and Lewis comedy.
Dean is the skirt chasing, incompetent doctor. Jerry is the patient, becoming "Homer Flagg". March's role is given over to Janet Leigh and she falls for Dean. Some of the Broadway song are used: "How Do You Speak to an Angel", "Every Street's a Boulevard", "You're Gonna Dance with Me". Styne and Hilliard also wrote a batch of new songs for Dean and Jerry. In fact, Dean and Jerry handle all of the musical numbers.
Now the movies never really captured the essence of Martin and Lewis. That is only available through kinescopes of their "Colgate Comedy Hour" and a bootleg film of a show at the Copa. The tension between the relaxed crooner-comic (Martin) being upstaged by his ambitious partner with a schizoid personality (sometimes silly juvenile, sometimes savvy show biz comic) is seen in these shows. It is truly fascinating and brings a depth to the partnership of Martin and Lewis that no other comedy team has ever had.
In the movies, Dean was cast as a heel who is reformed by the end of the movie by his partner and his leading lady. Jerry is a magical sprite; he appears to be inept and clumsy, but he is way ahead of every other character in the film. While some of this is seen in "Living It Up", it is blatantly true of "Jumping Jacks". Both Dean and Jerry are full service entertainers. They are funny, the can sing, they can dance, and they can act. The shame of it all is that they broke up before they had really hit their stride. Just imagine films featuring Dean's drunk, sex maniac character which appeared very shortly after the breakup and Jerry's mature schizoid "I'm a famous movie star" clown.
As for "Living It Up", it is a musical comedy which can be viewed again and again. The story is great, the songs are tuneful, and the gags are fast and funny.
17 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?