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3 July 1997 (USA)  »

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One of Osborne's best "private screenings" with Ann Miller...
29 April 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

ANN MILLER talks about her show biz career with clarity, all of the facts at her fingertips without any hesitation and proves to be one of Robert Osborne's best subjects for a "Private Screenings" interview.

She relates how she was considered "Queen of the B's" when she got her start at RKO, thanks to some help from Lucille Ball who remained a great friend throughout their careers. She talks about some of the early work she did in popular but low-budget films like "Reveille for Beverly" before she got out of her low paying contract and did Broadway work for a few years. On the strength of her stage success, she was able to return to films at a much higher price for her services.

Along with the interview itself are clips of Miller's frenzied tap-dancing routines from various films, all of them highlighting what a talented performer she was. She has nothing but glowing praise for some of the people she worked with, including HERMES PANS (the great choreographer of all the Astaire/Rogers films at RKO), FRANK CAPRA (she enjoyed working for him on "You Can't Take It With You"), LUCILLE BALL, FRED ASTAIRE, GENE KELLY, STANLEY DONEN, BUSY BERKELEY, ARTHUR FREED, JOE PASTERNAK and JACK CUMMINGS.

Interesting to hear her tell how neither she nor Fred Astaire were slated to star in EASTER PARADE--the roles were already assigned to CYD CHARISSE and GENE KELLY, both of whom had to bow out due to injuries.

Osborne mentions the fact that musicals were going out of style at the time Dore Schary took over MGM from Louis B. Mayer, and Miller uses the word "gloom" to describe that era when musicals were "out". Of course, she wasn't through tapping because she went to Broadway, did "Sugar Babies" with Mickey Rooney, and the rest is history.

Summing up: Stimulating look at Miller's wonderful career as a top-flight dancer in a variety of MGM movies that made her a star. Both she and Osborne look as though they are thoroughly enjoying their talk.

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