Fabius loves his beautiful but vulnerable city, Rome, and he also loves his beautiful but invulnerable fiancée, Amytis. Fascinated by the tales she has heard about Hannibal, who is about to...
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Ellen Hallet is in love with her playboy boss, Douglas Morrison, but is too timid to do anything about it. To help her, her roommate Chris decides to step in and devises a plan. Chris ... See full summary »
Fabius loves his beautiful but vulnerable city, Rome, and he also loves his beautiful but invulnerable fiancée, Amytis. Fascinated by the tales she has heard about Hannibal, who is about to attack Rome, Amytis is driven by curiosity to the edge of his camp. Captured, she makes a last request of the indifferent Hannibal...that he spare the city. She offers to lead him to a hilltop where she can prove that taking the city is not worth the trouble. Hannibal goes with her, even though she has to cup her hand under his chin and float him across a river as he can't swim. Before long, Hannibal is doing more surveying of Amytis than of Rome. And Fabius finds he can defend neither his city nor his fiancée against the advances of Hannibal. Especially after he has his elephants painted bright colors because Amythis thinks gray is drab. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
During the "slave market" dance number Marge Champion at one point has a small basket on her head. It falls off and lands on the ground between her and Gower. They pull in for a closeup and when they pull back the basket is gone. See more »
In opening credits: "In 216 B.C., Hannibal the Barbarian marched on Rome. The history of this great march has always been confused. This picture will do nothing to clear it up." See more »
'Jupiter's Darling' had so much going for it. Who cannot resist a cast with the likes of Esther Williams, Howard Keel, George Sanders and Marge and Gower Champion, and that it was directed by George Sidney, who made a number of great films.
It is a shame that 'Jupiter's Darling' wasn't better than it was. By all means, it is not a terrible film and not as bad as its notorious financial flop suggests. It does have many pleasures and the reasons for seeing the film in the first place come off well. This said, all have done much better, despite loving Keel and Sanders to death 'Jupiter's Darling' was seen as someone in the process of watching and reviewing every Esther Williams musical and it is one of my least favourite of hers along with 'Texas Carnival'.
Williams certainly isn't one of the problems, in fact she is in her serenely beautiful Amazonian prime and her aquatic skills second to none and the envy of many. Neither is Keel, who is masculine, commanding and charismatic and sings with his usual warm beauty and robust brio, especially in "Never Let the Night Get Away" where he is quite touching. The two click together superbly. Sanders is his usual suave and smooth self, yes even in a role pretty far removed from the types he excelled at (villains and cads), while Richard Haydn is amusing and Marge and Gower Champion are a delight.
That's not all though. The highlight is the truly spectacular water ballet in "I Had a Dream", one of Williams' best and most visually stunning water ballets. The chase sequence is also impressive. Marge and Gower Champion have two notable song and dance numbers and do a terrific job with both. "Life of an Elephant", which sees them dancing with painted elephants, is to be seen to be believed, though some may prefer the more energetic and less lengthy "If This Be Slavery".
Visually, 'Jupiter's Darling' is the very meaning of lavish, the use of CinemaScope, rich bold colours and inventive use of wide-screen are just exemplary, "I Had a Dream" being the standout in this regard. The costumes and sets are very handsome too.
However, the songs and score are only at best serviceable and generally forgettably substandard, the rousing "Hannibal's Victory March" and the touching "Never Let the Night Get Away" being exceptions. The rest have not-easy-to-remember melodies and sometimes very silly lyrics, some like in "Never Trust a Woman" being questionable. Choreographically, "I Had a Dream" and the Champions' numbers impress but the rest lumber and look under-rehearsed.
Storytelling is uneven, sometimes it moves quickly and has great energy but other parts are ponderous, and there is a sense that the film was trying to mix too many styles and genres and it never quite came together. Worst of all is the script, which is impossible to take seriously even in moments that are meant to be serious and even when you are taking the film for what it is, if Keel and Sanders really did have the giggles during filming that's hardly surprising. Sidney's direction is competent but uninspired.
Overall, difficult to rate but with enough pleasures to make it watchable. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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