During the Spanish Civil War, a republican courier travels to England to try and buy coal. He meets with an amount of local hostility, while his life is at risk from those on the fascist ... See full summary »
When Mike Hagen and Marilla Brown marry after a whirlwind romance on the west coast, they return to New York to find that they don't have much in common. She is a clothing designer who lives in a swanky apartment and whose friends are actors, artists and the like. He is a sports writer who likes to go boxing matches and horse races. They clearly love one another and make every effort to be flexible. When a mobster, whom Mike has been accusing of fixing sports events, decides to go after him he must pretend to be out of town and mayhem ensues. Written by
Helen Rose, MGM's Oscar-winning fashion guru, suggested the idea for this bit of fluff and the original casting was supposed to have been: Grace Kelly (eventually, Lauren Bacall), James Stewart (then, Gregory Peck), and Cyd Charisse (finally, Dolores Gray). George Wells won an Academy Award for his witty script and the production values were about the best that MGM could muster. Bacall gives a sly and glamorous performance, probably a little difficult for her since her husband, Humphrey Bogart's health was becoming a very serious concern while this film was in production. (Humphrey Bogart died in January of 1957.) Peck matches Bacall with a humorously masculine presence that was right-on. Dolores Gray tosses off a couple of jazzy production numbers (with the emphasis on her singing...presumably Cyd would have unfurled those legendary legs and would have been dubbed had singing been required.) And Mickey Shaughnessy provides a bit of cruder comic counterpoint as a punch-drunk boxer ("I'm makin' a comeback!") Minnelli, as usual, uses Metrocolor and CinemaScope to creative effect and Andre Previn contributed a main title theme that's instantly memorable.
The DVD now available restores the widescreen ratio and there's a curious "Behind-the-Scenes Minidocumentary" featuring costume designer Helen Rose, shot in black-and-white, in which she seems to be responding to questions posed to her by an unseen person whose questions were not actually recorded on the soundtrack! Wonder why they didn't fix that omission for its inclusion on the DVD version. Anyway, it's fun and worth a look.
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