Bill Benson and Ted Adams are to appear in a Broadway show together and, while in Paris, each 'discovers' the perfect leading lady for the plum female role. Each promises the prize role to ...
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Bill Benson and Ted Adams are to appear in a Broadway show together and, while in Paris, each 'discovers' the perfect leading lady for the plum female role. Each promises the prize role to the girl they selected without informing the other until they head back across the Atlantic by liner - with each man having brought his choice along! It becomes a stormy crossing as each man has to tell his 'find' that she might not get the role after all. Written by
It has all the trappings of an entertaining musical, but the chemistry is not there. A few of the musical numbers are worth seeing, but many are mediocre at best. The most peculiar thing about the movie is its substitution of boring, pedestrian new songs to take the place of Cole Porter's songs. Although Jimmy Van Heusen certainly composed some good songs in his day, the present "Ya Gotta Give the People Hoke," "Bounce Right Back," and "A Second-Hand Turban" are embarrassing. The producers couldn't find 3 more Cole Porter songs to use instead? Adding to the embarrassment is the bowdlerization of the song "Anything Goes," in which Mitzi Gayner is not even permitted to refer to authors' "four-letter words." Instead, we are nonsensically told that authors nowadays use only "three-letter words." Of course, such censoring of the lyrics of this song negate the entire premise of the song, which is that anything is permitted nowadays.
Donald O'Connor has a very nice dance routine with children and a lot of bouncing balls in "Bounce Right Back," which is the most original number in the film. The comedy duos by O'Connor and Crosby fall flat, as does the vocal by Jeanmaire. Indeed, after hearing the mangled arrangement of her trying to sing "I Get a Kick Out of You," I actually stopped the movie and played a Frank Sinatra version in order to get the bad taste out of my ears. Mitzi Gayner is lively and attractive and does a good job in belting out her songs. Crosby is always good, although the arrangement and photography of his performance of "All Through the Night" were so anemic that one might doze through it, without danger of anything happening to wake one up.
The plot is actually a very good basis for a musical comedy (a mix-up in which both Gayner and Jeanmaire are hired for the same part), but the writing is corny and stilted, there is little real humor, and the comic potential of the situation is simply not realized. Although the drama is of course not the most important part of a musical comedy, if it does not help to motivate the songs and does not create any suspense about what will happen, then the audience is just tapping its feet waiting for the next musical number.
I think that if someone were to edit the film to include five or so of the best musical numbers only (no plot, no weaker songs), one might have 20 minutes of decent entertainment. But to watch the film for 106 minutes to get those 20 minutes of entertainment is not that pleasant.
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