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Edward G. Robinson,
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Edward G. Robinson,
Ignoring the scathingly critical reviews for this bomb, I paid admission to the Cinerama Dome Theater in Hollywood, California during its first-run engagement because I knew that the 70mm/stereo presentation at that theater, especially designed for the viewing of big-screen extravaganzas, would be optimal. Norway is a country I have always wanted to visit and the agony of viewing this film was insufficient to lessen that lifelong dream. But what a nightmare it was! I note that Frank Porretta, listed in the credits, had appeared in a stage production of "The Song of Norway" in Los Angeles and he had received special praise for his expressive singing and masculine stage presence. But you will note that his filmography consists of just this one title. Talk about the proverbial "Kiss of Death"!
The only clear memory I have of that evening's experience at the Cinerama Dome were the loud and ecstatic exclamations emanating from some poor soul in the audience, unprovoked, as far as I could tell, by anything happening on the massively curved screen. She sat off to the side and her outbursts were the prime source of entertainment as the film's lengthy reels unspooled. Management did not eject her, perhaps because she sat through every showing, considerably boosting the meager box-office receipts. Her overwhelming pleasure, I shall always prefer to think, was, perhaps, due to her longing to revisit (I'm presuming here) her native Norway, this film's handsomest attribute.
Florence Henderson's karma must have been extraordinarily good, since her role as the matriarch on TV's long-running and insanely popular family sitcom, "The Brady Bunch," began its hold on the hearts and minds of so many American moppets while coinciding with the theatrical release of this surefire career-killer. She must be a tolerant soul for, were I to enjoy the residuals which must flood her bank account year after year during the syndication of "The Brady Bunch," I'd have long ago investigated the cost of permanently suppressing all evidence of this turkey.
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