A reluctantly retired vaudevillian clashes with his producer son who thinks his father's entertainment is passe and audiences need something more sophisticated. Meanwhile the producer's father and sister secretly produce their own show.
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Broadway producer Jonnie Demming courts big-name talent for his upcoming musical show, oblivious to the talent all around him, in his family and friends. When Jonnie finally lands Hollywood star Helen Hoyt for his cast, Helen herself tries opening Jonnie's eyes to the talents of his dad and sister. But Jonnie remains adamant. Will his family and friends launch their own show, in competition with Jonnie's? Written by
Dan Navarro <email@example.com>
This film was initially telecast in Los Angeles Tuesday 11 February 1958 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia 10 March 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6); in San Francisco it was not aired until 12 June 1961 on KGO (Channel 7), and New York City televiewers did not get a look at it until 7 November 1962 on WCBS (Channel 2). At this time, color broadcasting was in its infancy, limited to only a small number of high rated programs, primarily on NBC and NBC affiliated stations, so these film showings were all still in B&W. Viewers were not offered the opportunity to see these films in their original Technicolor until several years later. See more »
Impressionist Dean Murphy, impersonating Joe E. Brown, is in a barnyard sketch with Nancy Walker. His armpit sweat varies from shot to shot - very wet, a couple smalls spots, dry and wet again. See more »
While this is bright and colorful with some wonderful music this MGM musical is most assuredly not a top of the line production.
Based on a successful Broadway show, Very Warm for May, that the producers chose to cut to ribbons taking many of the songs out and turning into an ordinary backstage story of a brash blow-hard trying to put on a show.
A big indicator of the lower expectations that befell the property is the cast. None of the top line Metro stars are on board.
While originally intended for Judy Garland the lead is now filled by lesser light Ginny Simms. Simms had a beautiful voice and a lovely face but knowing the part was meant for Judy allows the viewer to consider star quality and the impact one performer makes on screen over another. Whereas Judy was always relaxed, natural and alive when the cameras were trained on her Ginny comes across as stiff and uneasy. You can almost see her counting down until the other person in the scene finishes talking so she can say her lines. However when she sings she's more at ease and accessible. This was to be her big chance at above the title screen stardom but the movie was an under performer and after a few more supporting roles, one in Night and Day showed her to good advantage, she went back to the bandstand. She doesn't ruin the film but she doesn't help it much.
The next performer that indicates the lower expectations of the picture is George Murphy in the lead. A top star in 30's musicals and a fine dancer he had moved down to second leads and B's by this point so his casting in this as opposed to Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire shows the studio didn't firmly believe in the material.
It's not all bad, the supporting cast has a few saving graces, although Gloria De Haven is arch and annoying. Charles Winninger and Rochester are there with their stock but amusing characters and blessedly Nancy Walker adds spice whenever she shows up on the scene, to bad her part wasn't bigger.
As was the custom at the time the film has several specialty numbers and they are a very mixed bag.
The bad: impressionist Dean Murphy while not untalented tries way too hard in his bit. Contortionist sister act The Ross Sisters are remarkably limber but their routine is downright creepy.
The good: Although I'm not a fan Lena Horne comes across well in her two numbers and the great Hazel Scott tears it up at the piano working her special magic.
Filmed in rich eye popping Technicolor this is a pleasant diversion but nowhere near the peak of what MGM was capable of at this point. For that see the same year's Meet Me in St. Louis.
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