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Fred M. Wilcox
The upper class Pringles and middle class Fosters are two families living in Santa Barbara. Among widowed businessman Lucien Pringle's interests are a bank and a radio station, these and his other business interests which make him largely an absent figure from his children's lives. Melvin Foster owns and operates a seafood packing plant, it an offshoot of his days as a fisherman. Unlike Lucien, Melvin is an active part in his family's life. Sixteen year olds Judy Foster, Ogden Pringle (more casually called Oogie) and Oogie's sister Carol Pringle are seniors at the local high school, they who have known each other all their lives. Judy, the school's songbird, and Oogie, conductor of the school's orchestra, are musical collaborators and consider themselves more than just friends, while Judy and Carol are best friends, although Judy and Oogie are oblivious to Carol's actions being in her own best interest often at their expense. Events leading up to, at, and following the senior class ...Written by
"It's a humdinger, strictly on the corny side and that's the way to live!"
And so sings Jane Powell, the Judy in the story, entertaining her friends in the Foster family parlor. The MGM Hollywood "dream factory" is in full form here providing yet another idealized view of "typical" American life post World War II. The families are affluent, in comfortable homes and the inhabitants always appear freshly pressed. This is enjoyable movie fluff, reaffirming the mythic idyll of small town USA, a celebration of the American character and way of life.
Jane Powell is the perky teen-ager Judy Foster whose dating anxieties, insistence on self- assertion and dealing with the annoying teasing to which her younger brother subjects her--- is what amounts to the sum total of her problems.
Love those old time drug store soda fountains so ubiquitous generations ago! Robert Stack appears playing a character with a job description long obsolete; he is the town "soda jerk." Stack, as Stephen Andrews, however, is just a little too mannered and poised to be believable behind the counter of a soda fountain. The job does afford him special privilege, an unobstructed view of the town girls. Beautiful eye-fulls like Elizabeth Taylor, playing rich girl Carol Pringle, frequent the counter ordering humongous chocolate whip cream sundaes as a matter of course.
Wallace Beery, a screen veteran and highly gifted actor is the paterfamilias of Judy's family. Beery reputedly was a terror of a man and not shy about his virulent dislike of children. This role where Beery plays Melvin Foster, a husband and father of two, in essence a devoted family man, certainly stands as a testimonial to his acting skill; it is a character diametrically opposed to what he himself was off screen. His Melvin Foster is the epitome of respectability, a solid citizen and businessman who tampers with his reputation by daring to learn to dance the rumba. His teacher is the Latina chiquita, Carmen Miranda, who appears here true to form, showcased in an energetic solo number.
Not the best example of the MGM musical genre, but worth watching for nostalgia value.
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