Three Little Words (1950) Poster

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Less is more.
movibuf196224 October 2003
After seeing all the overstuffed musical biographies which pay homage to Kern, Rodgers, Hart, Gershwin, and the like, this one is a breath of fresh air as it is much simpler and more basic in its construction. Its two main leads (Fred Astaire and Red Skelton) do not take the material over-the-top; instead they underplay, and in Skelton's case, he is so subdued that he reveals a wonderful, sensitive, acting talent. The musical numbers, of course ("Who's Sorry Now?" "Nevertheless," "Sunny Tennessee," "I Wanna Be Loved By You," "Three Little Words"), speak for themselves. And Astaire and Vera-Ellen are perfection on the dance floor- and no less than *three* times: in the tuxedoed duet "Where Did You Get That Girl?"; a tongue-in-cheek homage to dance domesticity- "Mr. & Mrs. Hoofer;" and the best moment- a tender, romantic adagio in an elaborate stateroom, "Thinking of You." There is also fine support from gorgeous redhead Arlene Dahl and spirited brunette Gloria DeHaven. And, of course, there is Debbie Reynolds (a full year before 'Singing In The Rain') performing as Helen Kane- with singing voice provided by Kane herself!!
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Looks Good, Feels Good
ccthemovieman-128 October 2005
This was a wonderful, feel-good movie with tons of songs, many of them appealing. There also were some great dancing scenes, no surprise there since Fred Astaire is one of the stars. Astaire and Vera-Ellen paired up well for those numbers.

This is one of the few films, even in the musicals, in which all the characters were nice people. In other words, there were no villains, no nasty people, which is refreshing to see now and then. It is supposedly the true-life account of songwriters Bert Kalmar (Astaire) and Harry Ruby (Red Skelton). Ruby is good at writing tunes, but not with lyrics. Kalmar supplies the lyrics and dance. Skelton also shows he had a decent singing voice.

The only unhappy moments in the movie are the squabbles between the two leading men, but that's not overdone and sometimes it's humorous. Skelton's character is the nicer of the two.

The leading ladies are wholesome-looking beautiful women. Vera-Ellen is a Shirley Jones-type pretty blonde with a great dancer's body. She's enjoyable to watch. Arlene Dahl, who was stunning, is the other leading female but her role was minor, unfortunately.

The movie is a good mixture of song, dance, comedy and drama and is an underrated film in that it that doesn't get a lot of publicity. Astaire was quoted as saying this was his favorite film. I agree. It's my favorite of his, too.
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A nice three words
ryancm7 May 2006
This is what MGM did best. Musicals. Ah, they were all so wonderful, and THREE LITTLE WORDS in one of them. A nice, quiet muscial with great songs and dance numbers. Don't know how much of this is real biographical, but it's well done and interesting. Nice work from Astaire and Skelton as Kilmer and Ruby. The leading ladies are quite wonderful with Arlene Dahl at her dreamiest, though she doesn't have much to work with here. Because of story implications, Astaire doesn't dance after the first half, but until then he's sensational as always with Vera Ellen doing some fine hoofing as well. This was Debbie Reynolds 3rd film, having a bit in JUNE BRIDE and a small roll in DAUGHTER OF ROSIE O'GRADY. No Decalogue here and her voice is dubbed, but she makes an impression. For a nice, cozy evening, cuddle up with this DVD version of THREE LITTLE WORDS.
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praise for movies like this
sunnyread3 August 2003
This movie is an excellent representation of the talents of all four stars,Fred Astaire,Vera Ellen,Red Skelton, and Arlene Dahl. Astaire and Vera Ellen open the show with as good a dance routine that I have seen. "Where did you get that girl" is wonderful,bright,and energetic. Red Skelton always one of my favorite funny men is very good and Arlene Dahl is as pretty as any of them. It's a shame that these types of movies aren't made anymore, because they brought joy and happiness to both my wife and I and we watch the dance scenes over and over,especially Where did you get that girl. Vera Ellen was certainly as good as any of Astaires partners and in my opinion the best of all of them.
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Ash-6529 March 1999
Three Little Words, the "story" of songwriters Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar, probably is only accurate where their names, songs, and a rough frame of truth is concerned, but who cares? The cast is great. Fred Astaire has some really good dances. Red Skelton's comic potential isn't really used in this, and he seems almost like Fred's sidekick, but he does all right. It's certainly not his best. I usually don't like Vera-Ellen, but even I like her in this. And once you see past the black wig, that is most definitely Debbie Reynolds as Helen Kane, the girl singing I Wanna Be Loved By You. The songs are absolutely sensational. Oh yeah, the song Lucky Star (not written by Ruby-Kalmar), which Debbie would later sing with Gene Kelly at the end of Singin' in the Rain, is briefly featured.
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A Great Entertainment
joseph95200127 November 2004
The first time I saw "Three Little Words" was when I was a teenager on vacation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My Dad was not a fan of Red Skelton, but he endured the pain of it jut as he was subjected to watching Betty Hutton screaming with red-face in "Annie Get Your Gun", but as far as the movie "Three Little Words" goes, I loved it. Being a tap dancer myself, I could tune in quite well to a singing and dancing movie. This has to be considered one of Fred Astaires best movies he ever made. His dance numbers were created by Hermes Pan, thank God, because any film in which Astaire created his own dance sequences showed a very good reason why Astaire should let the others attempt this job. As a result, all the numbers are excellent, especially the dancing of he and Vera-Ellen in the "Thinking of You" number, and what about Gloria DeHaven? Here she is playing her own mother Mrs. Carter DeHaven. That must have been a thrill for her, and did she sing "Who's Sorry Now?" to perfection!

As far as this being Debbie Reynolds screen debut. Not so! Her film debut was in "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady" filmed by Warner Brothers starring Gordon MacRae, Gene Nelson, and the best dancer Hollywood has ever had to offer - June Haver, but Haver's talent was always underestimated and not given the credit for being the fine performer that she was!

But, what can you say about "Three Little Words" except - sit back, get out the pop-corn and the soda's, relax and watch an excellent cast have a field day doing some of the finest singing, acting, dancing, that you will ever witness on the silver screen. It's just too bad that these old movies can't be seen on the large silver screen so that our younger generation can see what entertainment was, is, and always will be all about!

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dcoughlin2 October 2003
Although Astaire was a bit past his prime in the dancing area, this is by far the best acting performance he gave (Towering Inferno Oscar nod included). His Bert Kalmar is complex, restless, at times testy, and very much a real person compared to the standard Astaire character. Whether the circumstances depicted in the movie were fact or fiction, he is really a character with a distinct persona, as opposed to Fred Astaire essentially playing himself as in most other his other films.
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That Crazy Little Kid can act
willrams4 February 2003
This is my favorite of all Red Skelton's movies; he does a fine job as Ruby and his partnership with Kalmar, played by Fred Astaire who wrote many songs back in the 1920s and 30s. Of course, the music is grand and the dancing of Astaire and Vera-Ellen is most enjoyable. And the beautiful Arlene Dahl is the wife of Red. I thought she was more gorgeous than Rita Hayworth. Of particular note, a cute little blonde got her start in films as the voice of that Betty Boop girl, Helen Kane. She was Debbie Reynolds who sang "I Want to be Loved By You". Lots of the good old songs!
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Great Movie
Charles Powers18 November 2006
I am 82 and would like to have a DVD copy of it. I remember seeing it at a theater many years ago. I loved all the stars, especially the song,I love you so much by Arlene Dahl. I t brings back memories of a beautiful girl who I lost about 60 years ago. I wish I could go back to that era and change things. If anyone out there knows how I can get a copy of this movie on DVD or tape, please email me with the title Three Little Words. Forever Love- Chuck I have had a wonderful life going to theaters and enjoying many good movies with my loving wife of 52 years, Three Little Words was one of the very best of them. I lost my wife, Veronica, on November 5, 2006 and I miss her so very much. She was best wife a man could ever dream of having. I would love to see this movie one more time before I leave. Chuck
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hcoursen18 April 2009
This film didn't try to do much more than bring us the songs. And that was good. It was wildly anachronistic -- the early number with Astaire and Vera Ella was danced to jazz that had to be some 15 or 20 years later than the date of the film, which at that point would be early 1920s, the age of the Turkey Trot, when bands were still coming out from their military origins. But the later sequence in the capacious ballroom of the ocean liner to "Thinking of You" was lovely. And the shot of the liner was the Normandie, wasn't it? Queen Mary was a four stacker. Vera Ella was a wonderfully acrobatic dancer. Al Schacht WAS a pitcher -- for 3 years (1919-21) for the Senators. The poster who said he was a catcher may have been thinking of Ray Schalk, a hall of fame catcher for the White Sox (including the 1919 nine, though not implicated in the throwing of the Series). And Barris, Rinker, and Bing sang with Paul Whiteman, not Duke Ellington. The MGM color in the 40s and 50s was magnificent -- and this film shows it off superbly. This one is a very enjoyable musical, one of the best of a period that produced some great ones.
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Skelton's best
funkyfry27 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Wow -- what a joy and what a surprise this film really is! Besides the presence of Astaire and a few other cast members this film doesn't promise much, but it really delivers -- a lot of laughs, good music, great dancing, and most surprisingly of all, some solid performances from the whole cast including Skelton. I would even go so far as to say that this is probably the best musical bio-picture produced by MGM and only "The Jolson Story" strikes me as a stronger film among all the musical bio-pics I've seen period.

When I see Red Skelton's name on a picture, I usually expect to see him mugging all the way to the bank like a vaudeville trooper with a gun to his head. But here he actually restrains himself and does a very good job, perhaps because he's playing a real person, songwriter Harry Ruby (who was credited as a technical adviser on this film). He's paired with Astaire's Bert Kalmar -- and Astaire responds with a performance that is likewise far more character-oriented than usual, and quite nuanced as he veers from anger to sentimentality. Astaire is paired with Vera-Ellen, one of his all-time best partners.

The musical numbers were staged by Hermes Pan -- and it shows. These sequences are almost as impressive as those in "The Band Wagon" and "Singin' in the Rain" (with better music than "Rain"). I was particularly impressed with "Mr. and Mrs. Hoofer at Home", although I think it was too sophisticated for them to pass it off as a 1910s vaudeville number. But all is forgiven.

As a side note, I found it really amusing how the Kalmar character and others seemed to think about pop music genres strictly in germs of their relationship to romanticized concepts of exoticism. For example he "fixes" Ruby's "Araby" song by turning it into a Mammy Song. And at one point while musing on the direction they should go with a song, Kalmar says "you know, there hasn't been an Oriental song in a while...." Kalmar's concept of an Oriental song being, of course, the ridiculous "So Long Oo-Long". I almost fell out of my chair laughing, and I'm not completely sure that the humor was unintentional.

Of course this film probably bears little truth in terms of the reality of Kalmar's and Ruby's lives. But then neither did "Till the Clouds Roll By", "Night and Day" or "Rhapsody in Blue" ..... and at least this film was entertaining. The versions of Kalmar's and Ruby's songs are great -- in fact I read that seeing this film as a teenager inspired young Connie Francis to eventually sing the song "Who's Sorry Now?" and make it even more famous than it ever was before. I'm thinking that she probably won't be the last person inspired by this joyous film.
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Fun and Lively
lpersons-21 January 2007
You have to love a movie with dance and song! I had never heard of this movie but received it as a Christmas gift by a good friend who knew my love for old movies of this genre. I also love movies about real people and historical things. This movie is based on the lives of two song people from the early 1900's. Lot's of good music to listen to and great dance to watch, with a nice plot line. The movie featured an all star cast including Fred Astaire and Red Skeleton. I only knew Red as a comedian so it was fun to see him take on the role of a somewhat serious nature. Vera Ellen was quite glamorous and was fun to watch in the dance numbers. Hairdo's, clothing, sets all very interesting to see, a glimpse from the past.. Very enjoyable way to spend an evening.
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Don't you dare ignore 'The Duchess'!
weezeralfalfa22 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, this is one of the more entertaining musicals of the post-WWII era. But, hardly anyone mentions the presence of Gail Robbins. Yet, she sang "All Alone Monday" in 2 settings:first as a nightclub act attended by the 3 main stars, and then as a trial in a stage setting. She also was briefly engaged to Skelton's character(Harry Ruby): the first of two redheads that Skelton's character woos. Unlike Vera-Ellen and Debbie Reynolds, her singing was not dubbed. In fact, she was a singer for a number of Big Bands and singing groups, including 'The Duchess and Her Dukes', was a pinup girl for the GIs, and sometimes toured with Bob Hope. Unfortunately, her film career went nowhere, with just a few bit parts here and there, including perhaps the most entertaining musical of them all:"Calamity Jane". Here,,she comes across as a blend of Rita Hayworth and Martha Raye, in looks and personality.It's clear from the start that Astaire's and Vera-Ellen's characters don't consider her an appropriate mate for Skelton, nor a social or professional equal to themselves.Skelton eventually decides that Arlene Dahl is the right redhead for him, and someone that Astaire and Vera-Ellen feel comfortable associating with. In contrast to Gail's sultry delivery, Dahl is portrayed as primly elegant, most clearly in her memorable slow staircase descent, as if she were a goddess, surrounded by men in top hats and tails, while singing "I Love You so Much". Judy Garland previously made a rather similar, though hurried, descent in "Till the Clouds Roll By" Later, Dahl sings "Thinking of You" to Skelton, cementing their romantic attachment.To my knowledge, this is Dahl's only singing role in her Hollywood career... Gloria DeHaven had a small part playing her mother, singing "Who's Sorry Now". Like Dahl and Robbins, she remained a minor Hollywood actress and eventually turned to various roles on TV. Her dancing and singing talent was given much more exposure in the film "I'll Get By", also released in 1950, in which she costarred with June Haver as a pair of sister singer-dancers.

The title song isn't sung in its final form until the very end. The tantalizing possibilities of the tune serves as a running sore point between the two male stars through most of the film, although this has no factual basis. To me, Skelton's character was 95% Skelton and maybe 5% Harry Ruby. Apparently, the real Ruby didn't mind, as he has a bit part as one of Skelton's baseball teammates! Although Astaire commonly incorporated comedy into his musical roles,in this film, he is mostly Skelton's straight man. Although little known, both Skelton and Astaire composed numerous songs, including symphonies by Skelton.Through most of the film, Astaire appears to assume professional and social dominance over Skelton. This relationaship no doubt stems from the fact that the real Ruby initially was hired by Kalmar as a song plugger. Toward the end of the film, Skelton's Ruby is finally accepted as a near equal.Astaire and Skelton sing duets of several songs, most notably "My Sunny Tennessee" and the novelty song "So Long, Oo Long", the latter being my favorite.

Of course, Vera-Ellen always made a virtually unrivaled dancing partner for the top MGM film dancers of the day, including Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Danny Kay, as well as being a classic beauty, in a girl-next-door way. But, she reportedly was introverted, from childhood, and this shows through sometimes, between musical numbers.Both she and Astaire have a solo dance routine, as well as several partnered routines.Their routine "Mr. and Mrs. Hoofer at Home" is the novelty dance highlight of the film, while their dances to "Thinking of You" and the standard "Nevertheless" are highlights for grace and elegance.This duo would star in one more musical: "The Belle of New York", this time without significant musical costars, and featuring new songs by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer. Although this film has received much criticism, I find it at least as delightful as the present film and presently can be obtained cheaply as part of a DVD musicals set.

The association between Astaire and Skelton gets off to a very rocky start, when Skelton's clumsiness turns Astaire's stage magic act into a complete disaster.The second half of the film involves more melodrama as the pair have a falling out for a few years. This manufactured melodrama has no factual basis, and sometimes gets a bit tedious. Of course, in the end,the love aspect of this relationship triumphs and the now 4 stars(with Dahl) join together in a farewell scene: a very common ending to musicals of this era.
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A dynamic duo
jotix1004 May 2007
"Three Little Words", MGM's tribute to two song writers that are not so well known, but who left behind a lot of beautiful songs, is a pleasant film from that era. Richard Thorpe, the director, clearly demonstrates he knew how to stage the material. Although not one of the best musicals the studio produced, and somewhat predictable, it offers a lot of entertainment.

Best of all is the pairing of Fred Astaire and Red Skelton as the musical partners, Bert Kalmer and Harry Ruby. These actors do some nice work together as they came together to create musical comedy. Mr. Astaire's dancing partner is Vera-Ellen, who was a dominant figure in musical comedies. Mr. Astaire and Vera-Ellen do a good job in their dancing.

A big surprise was to see a young Debbie Reynolds in her rendition of "I Wanna be Loved by You", which later became associated with Marilyn Monroe's signature songs. The young Ms. Reynolds' shows an amazing talent that would come to fruit in later films. Gloria de Haven and Arlene Dahl also grace the film with their presence, as well as Kennan Wynn, and other supporting players.
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A Pair Of Normal Fellows
bkoganbing25 February 2008
Three Little Words purports to tell the story of the fabled songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby and for the film the unlikely team of Fred Astaire as Kalmar and Red Skelton as Ruby were brought in to star. It's a good thing the real Kalmar and Ruby had a lot more chemistry than Astaire and Skelton do.

But as in all these musical biographies of songwriters, it's the songs that are the real star. Kalmar and Ruby wrote some great ones, no doubt about it. Songs like Nevertheless, Thinking of You, Who's Sorry Now are still sung and will be sung for the next millennium.

Both these guys had their eccentricities, Kalmar fancied himself a magician and Ruby was a big baseball fan. Kalmar wanted to be Mr. Blackstone and Ruby would have swapped every song he ever wrote for a chance to play in the Major Leagues with any of the New York based teams.

Astaire is strangely lacking in dance routines in this film. They are confined to some vaudeville type numbers as befitting the fact that Kalmar was a song and dance man until a knee injury made him turn to writing. Red Skelton's antics were confined to some scenes on the baseball diamond where his good friend, the clown prince of baseball Al Schacht played by infielder George Metkovich provided some good humorous moments for Skelton.

Incidentally one big error in the film identified Al Schacht as a pitcher. Schacht was a catcher, his vaudeville partner was Nick Altrock who was a pitcher and a good one, but he's not in the film.

Arlene Dahl and Vera-Ellen play the women in the lives of Ruby and Kalmar. Vera-Ellen dances well with Astaire and her singing is dubbed by Anita Ellis.

Debbie Reynolds is in this in one of her earliest roles as Boop Boop a Doop singer Helen Kane who did introduce Kalmar and Ruby's I Wanna Be Loved By You. And Gloria DeHaven playing her own mother who died that year and she sings Who's Sorry Now.

Kalmar and Ruby also wrote Groucho Marx's theme, Hooray For Captain Spaulding. I'm still wondering why it was only confined to the two of our leads in rehearsal, why Groucho himself didn't appear. In real life he was a very close friend of Harry Ruby's. Kalmar and Ruby wrote the score for Duck Soup as well and later on they wrote Go West Young Man for Groucho in Copacabana.

The song Three Little Words was NOT introduced on Phil Regan's radio show. It was written by Kalmar and Ruby for the Amos and Andy film Check and Double Check where Duke Ellington and his orchestra played it with the Rhythm Boys singing. They also recorded the song with the Rhythm Boys who were Al Rinker, Harry Barris, and their lead singer, a fellow named Bing Crosby.

Kalmar had passed away when this film was released in 1950. Ruby went on after a fashion. Oscar Hammerstein, II helped finish a Kalmar lyric to a Ruby song that became A Kiss To Build A Dream On which was sung by Louis Armstrong the following year and was a big posthumous hit for half the team. And Harry Ruby wrote the famous television theme to The Real McCoys later on in the Fifties.

Other than their respective avocations for prestidigitation and baseball, Kalmar and Ruby were a pair of normal fellows and led pretty dull lives. But that's the problem when you try to do biographies of people like them. So relax and listen to some really great songs by a pair of normal guys.
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A Classic
ykwms6 February 2000
One of the best of Hollywood's Golden Age of musicals. THREE LITTLE WORDS records the rocky but touching relationship between Burt Kalmar and Harry Ruby, famed song-writing team who began their partnership in the 20's. You'll love their songs as performed by Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, Red Skelton, and Arlene Dahl. And of course, the dancing is all you would expect from a duo like Astaire and Vera-Ellen. Wonderful entertainment for the whole family.
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Astaires best film-and best partner(vera ellen)
theeht5 August 2004
Three little words is a very entertaining, though somewhat forgotten musical about the great overlooked songwriting team of Kalmar and Ruby. It is pure fiction, but nevertheless very fun and entertaining. As Astaries wife, Miss Vera Ellen again proves she was the best dancer of em all. And quite a beauty and singer, also,esp. on Thinking of you. Speaking of beauty, other gorgeous women like Arleen Doll, Gayle Robbins, and Miss Gloria De Haven perform some incredibly beautiful songs, like Whos sorry now. And a young doll named Debby Reynolds sings I wanna be loved by you, the hit song of Helen Kane, looking and sounding just like Ms. Kane. Trust me, you will love this musical. Soundtrack album is available, also.
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Very pleasing musical with fine performances
vincentlynch-moonoi1 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
While this was not one of MGM's BIG musicals, it's an extremely pleasant A film. It's said it was one of Astaire's favorite projects, perhaps because it reflects the atmosphere of when he and his sister were a dance team in vaudeville. In terms of reflecting the accuracy of the biography of the song-writing team of Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar, it's generally considered to me more faithful to the truth than many biopics...perhaps in part because the real Harry Ruby was an adviser to the picture.

The sound track is terrific, with many of Kalmar & Ruby's best songs included -- the title song, "Nevertheless", "I Wanna Be Loved By You", "Who's Sorry Now", and "Thinking Of You"...and others. However, a few of their well-known songs are not included, including "Baby Face" and "Kiss To Build A Dream On" (made famous by Louis Armstrong).

It's difficult to think of a more perfect cast for the script. Kalmar had been a dancer on the vaudeville circuit...and is played beautifully by Fred Astaire. Harry Ruby had a fixation about baseball...perfect for the clowning of Red Skelton. And, there's no question that Fred and Red had chemistry in this film. Although it's probably "White Christmas" that Vera-Ellen is best known for, this is probably a better acting job on her part; she's the love interest for Astaire. Arlene Dahl -- who was said by the inventors of Technicolor to be the perfect face and complexion for Techniclor -- is so beautiful here...the only problem being that to fit the story line we don't really see much of her until later in film. Keenan Wynn is around, but is of little consequence.

A couple of interesting facts: Gloria DeHaven plays her own mother in what amounts to a cameo singing "Who's Sorry Now". Debbie Reynolds plays "boop-a-doop" girl Helen Kane, but the singing voice is actually Helen Kane.

One review of the film at the time said this was MGM at the height of it's musical genre. And it is a darned good film! Well worth watching!
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The Love of the Future Songwriters
mrdonleone7 May 2008
Oh, how my heart was captured when I saw this musical biopic with great names like Fred Astaire (and even a very young Debbie Reynolds). It was beautiful to see the song and music writers grow on each other. Yes, I sensed the touch of Hollywood in this film and that was a pity, because I wanted to know everything about the persons behind songs like 'I wanna be loved by You' and other now famous songs. But it didn't really matter, because at the end it grew on me too. I had to cry a little, because I'm sentimental, and this movie touches the inner feelings of our minds with the music and words. Actually, I want to become a song writer too, all because of this picture. If there are other would be songwriters like me who saw themselves in the images of music and love, this film had found it's potential. Long live every future songwriter!
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So far, my favorite movie
adie-630 March 2006
This is the first real movie I have seen Red Skelton in, and he is amazing. His acting is so believable and he still does some of his typical comedic jokes and falls. There is one baseball practice scene I had to play in slow motion because the fall he did was so perfect! Also, when he shows disappointment and/or sadness, he'll just take your heart away.

Because this movie is based on true events, you don't need to worry about a lousy plot or storyline. The music is great, and it is wonderful to see Red and Fred working together on songs.

I wish this movie were offered on DVD. I watch it so often, I'm going to wear out the tape. I plan on buying a couple more copies just in case.

I highly recommend this movie if you like Red Skelton, Fred Astaire, musicals, or just good movies. This movie should be considered a classic. It breaks my heart that whenever I mention this movie, nobody has ever heard of it.
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A lovely and under-appreciated musical
jane_e17 October 2006
I loved every aspect of this movie. It is truly a shame that it doesn't receive more attention. I can only attribute that to the fact that it is biographical in nature and that the names Kalmar and Ruby are not familiar to today's viewing audiences.what they are missing is some wonderful song and dance routines, and some great back and forth between to legendary performers. It's truly a shame that so many misconceptions abound about such a wonderful film. Personal taste aside, I would like to clear up a few factual misconceptions about the actor Red Skelton and his portrayal of Ruby. Perhaps the last reviewer is unaware of just how appropriate the role of Harry Ruby was for Skelton. Skelton composed symphonies and was highly intelligent. His humor may have seemed lowbrow, but he was somewhat of a genius in his own right. He also bears a strong physical resemblance to Harry Ruby who actually has a cameo in the film.

And if all of this is not enough of a selling point for you, you must know that you have not lived until you have seen Debbie Reynolds as Helen Kane performing "I wanna be loved by you"
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Skip-3026 November 1998
This movie has brought me delight every time I watch it. The music and dancing are great! Fred A. and Vera-Ellen make a great dance team. I think even better than Fred and Ginger. They just don't make films like this anymore. Something the whole family can enjoy. Good job!!
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Casablanca37846 August 2003
Whenever I see credits given to a composing duo, the one who created the melody precedes the lyricist but 'taint so regarding Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby. I guess it ticked me off.

Now for a second grunt; I never cared for Red Skelton's humor. I'm sure some would classify him a comic genius but simply stated--he never made me laugh. To me he was a successful clown minus a putty nose. Yet HE played the unbelievably talented songwriter-a genius of a songwriter, a playwright plus other highly cerebral endeavors. It was like putting a square peg in a round hole because Ruby the genius was portrayed as a dope and an eccentric in this flick. That ticked me off.

Now for the applause. Fred Astaire as Bert Kalmar, hoofer and lyricist,was his excellent self in this film. I mean no one in movie history danced like that man. His grace, style and elegance combined with a very pleasant singing voice, for many decades, kept him on the highest Hollywood pinnacle. Astaire was perfect as Kalmar while Skelton acted like a dope--a total miscast however...........

The film was very good. You like great tunes? If so, the team wrote such beauties as "Three Little Words, Nevertheless, I Wanna Be Loved By You" and many more. By the way, Debbie Reynolds made her screen debut as Helen Kane, the "Boop Boop a Doop girl" lipsyncing the latter.

The story unfolded nicely, the color was excellent; it was neither too long nor short and I felt the whole thing was worth the time spent in front of the TV screen.
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Red & Fred
utgard1414 February 2014
Musical biopic about the songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby (Fred Astaire and Red Skelton). I have never heard of these gentlemen before this movie, nor do I know how historically accurate this is. I will go out on a limb and assume not so much. Astaire and Skelton are both good. Skelton actually reins it in a bit. Not much of his usual slapstick, save for a few diversions in the brief baseball scenes. Vera-Ellen does a terrific job with the dancing but looks frightfully thin. It's always rough for me to watch her movies when she had that disturbingly tiny waist. Arlene Dahl has a mostly bland role as Skelton's love interest. She doesn't stand out. Keenan Wynn appears in a supporting role. Sexy Gale Robbins gives a great performance of "All Alone Monday." The songs are all nice. The film's highlight is the Debbie Reynolds/Carleton Carpenter "I Wanna Be Loved by You" number, with Reynolds playing Helen Kane (who dubbed the singing herself). All in all, it's a nice little MGM musical. Not the best but pleasant and enjoyable.
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Song writing biography garners Golden Globe for Astaire!
Algebra29-784-15626623 October 2013
Fred Astaire won the first Golden Globe Award for actor in a Musical or comedy for this 1950 musical biography. This category has been interesting over the years. Many went on to get the Oscar as well. Skelton was excellent in this as well. Many of the Golden Globe winners for Musical were more dramatic than pure comedy. This film was also nominated for the Oscar for scoring of a musical picture (Andre Previn). Many of the MGM musicals have been represented in awards over the years. It is evident that this was the studio's best genre. These films are always breezy and easy to watch. It is Important to realize the historical accuracy is not spot on, but only a glimpse into the situation. No doubt the acting, showing depth of character, combined with Astaire's usual dancing mastery and singing and charm impressed the Hollywood Foreign Press.
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