Shortly after their tenth wedding anniversary, New York theater producer Steven Hilliard and his wife, former popular radio singer Kay Hilliard née Ashley, are getting a Kay-initiated Reno ... See full summary »
Shortly after their tenth wedding anniversary, New York theater producer Steven Hilliard and his wife, former popular radio singer Kay Hilliard née Ashley, are getting a Kay-initiated Reno divorce after Kay finds out about a marital indiscretion he had with Crystal Allen, a gold digging chorus girl in one of his shows. News of the indiscretion made its way to Kay indirectly by her catty friend, Sylvia Fowler. In Kay getting the divorce, Kay's best friend, playwright Amanda Penrose believes Kay is playing right into the wants of Crystal, whose main goal is not to be happily married to Steven, but to get what such a marriage can bring to her in material wealth and comfort. Amanda does not believe Steven loves Crystal and that he still really does love Kay. And Kay does proceed with the divorce despite believing theirs was a happy and loving marriage before she learned of the indiscretion, and despite having an adolescent daughter, Debbie, to consider. But when Kay learns some ... Written by
Toward the end where "Kay" says that she has had a year to grow claws, "Jungle Red!" She holds up her hands, but her nails are not red. When she arrives at the nightclub, still no red nails, but later - same evening, same nightclub - her nails are red. See more »
No need to compare this stand-alone with the original. MGM's wardrobe department must have worked overtime. The ladies-- and there are many-- get to model all the high fashion of 1956, and some outfits are real doozies. But then this is a tell-all musical remake about sophisticated Manhattan show people from influential author Luce who certainly should know. You may need a scorecard, however, to keep up with the rotating relationships among the high class types.
I expect the film sets feminist teeth on edge now with its depiction of women as either maliciously catty (Gray & Collins) or catty as a defensive measure (Allyson, Blondell, & Sheridan). And that's when they're not chasing after men on whom it appears they're emotionally dependent. I imagine that if the movie were made today, key changes would be made.
That's not to say this Technicolor candy box isn't entertaining. It is at least campy fun, although the musical numbers are mostly forgettable. Instead, it's the characters that are irresistible, particularly Gray as the queen of acid gossip; Collins as the ruthless husband stealer; and Richards as the dude ranch stud. It's also a well-honed supporting cast, down to a blondined henchwoman Carolyn Jones. Unfortunately, it's also a rather dour June Allyson, a long way from her usual verve and sparkle.
But the high-point may well be the biggest no-holds-barred brawl between two women (Miller and Gray) that I've seen. Stand aside John Wayne and the rest of the macho brawlers because this one is worthy of the best smoke-filled bar room. I don't know if stunt doubles filled in, but somebody deserved a fat paycheck. Anyway, if you don't mind seeing women behaving badly 1950's style, this well-upholstered confection deserves a look-see.
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