Here Comes the Groom (1951) Poster

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Not "Capra," but quite enjoyable
ceals5 January 2002
This film is never considered one of Frank Capra's best, but that shouldn't keep potentially interested viewers from seeing it. On its face, it doesn't seem to be what has come to be known as a Capra film because it isn't issue-laden and doesn't really make a point other than the "follow your heart" admonition that most romantic comedies invoke. In many ways, it's a remake of Capra's "It Happened One Night" (1934), and while it doesn't have the financially and emotionally gut-wrenching backdrop of the Depression to give it the weight of the original, it's nonetheless pleasant and clever.

To appreciate "Here Comes the Groom" is to embrace a bunch of disparate parts. First and foremost, this is a Bing Crosby film, replete with seemingly ad-libbed asides that filled the Hope/Crosby "Road" pictures. Bing, who plays a newspaper reporter (one of Capra's favorite devices) but basically plays himself, has as his foil not just one but three adult characters (his editor, his would-be father-in-law and his romantic competitor), plus a passel of kids, in particular a French boy and girl whom he has virtually adopted as his own. The two kids are cute and genuinely good-natured, so when they are on screen, as they often are, they light up the place. Their repeated mimicry of the Crosby character's signature farewell gesture -- a tooth-filled smile and open-fingered hand wave -- never fails to please (except for the final time, in the film's closing seconds, in which it appears that the duo is starting to run out of steam).

Jane Wyman is a strong presence in the film as well, and quite appealing as someone torn between an elusive true love and the biological clock. She is every bit the musical equal of Crosby in their imaginatively choreographed presentation of the movie's theme song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," staged in various parts of a huge office, then down a half-dozen floors in an elevator and out to the street.

Franchot Tone is the other big name among the actors, and he plays his role as Wyman's rich fiance with characteristic aplomb. Nothing seems to rattle Tone's character, even the possibility of losing Wyman, which may be part of the film's "follow your heart" message.

Easily outshining Tone is Alexis Smith, who never received the career-making, starring roles that she deserved. She plays a caterpillar whom Crosby, in his own strategic interest, turns into a butterfly, and while Crosby's tutelage is over-the-top sexist by today's standards, her transformation and resulting passion are eye-popping, for the Tone character and his staid relatives as well as for the viewer.

With such stong characterizations and actors, Capra for some reason decided he needed something more, so he threw in a grab bag of other elements. Before Crosby and his two adoptees fly back to the States, there's an extended operatic solo by the quite young and show-stopping Anna Maria Alberghetti. And when Crosby and the youthful pair finally get on the plane, they happen to sitting next to a group of USO entertainers, so of course there's a song, "Cristofo Columbo," which brings in fleeting contributions by Louis Armstrong, Frank Fontaine, Dorothy Lamour and Phil Harris. These are tangents, to be sure, and they make the viewer wonder momentarily if Capra has lost his narrative thread, but they don't last long and are engaging in their own right. (Perhaps the "Cristofo Columbo" scene is supposed to echo the "Man on the Flying Trapeze" scene from "It Happened One Night.")

Those looking for further Capra touches will be warmed by the brief appearances of H.B. Warner (the judge in "Mr. Deeds," a senator in "Mr. Smith" and Mr. Gower in "It's a Wonderful Life"), Charles Lane (Potter's real-estate man in "Wonderful Life") and Charles Halton (bank examiner in "Wonderful Life"). The cinematography in this film is serviceable, but there are frustrating instances of sloppiness. At one point, in a reaction shot, the camera mysteriously lingers on Crosby's editor as he does nothing for about five seconds. It's an inconsequential flub, but it feels long enough to make the viewer wonder if the film's cutter and Capra himself just went to sleep. (It's reminiscent of a similar and even longer gaffe in Capra's "You Can't Take It with You" from 1938.)

A more egregious example of visual inattention comes during a physical argument between the Wyman and Smith characters. For the actual fight, in which the two flip each other over with quick arm twists, it's all too obvious that stunt doubles are used. The doubles' faces, which look nothing like those of the two actresses (they may even be men), are repeatedly shown, and the hair color and length of the Smith double doesn't come close to matching the hair of Smith. Who was minding the store when this was shot? It's the kind of mistake that makes all kinds of viewers, not just movie buffs, roll their eyes.

To its credit, the film does lay out, in albeit cliche form, the reality of class differences. But both rich and not-so-rich are given gentle appreciative treatment. Clearly, the viewer is supposed to side with the more down-to-earth characters of Crosby and Wyman, but the rich are not cardboard villains, either. It's almost as if the message is that there is a time and place (and hope) for people from all walks of life.

"Here Comes the Groom" (a clever title in itself) is a product of the pop culture of its time; it's all-white (save for Armstrong), and traditional gender roles hold sway. But look beyond that and you will find a film that you probably didn't know you would like so well. Crosby, as top comic banana, plays his likeable persona perhaps better than ever, and the film leaves lots of smiles in its wake. The ending may be predictable, but this is a movie in which it's just fun to see the character-based twists and turns that steer the plot to its conclusion.
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Master of the Cultured Ad-lib
bkoganbing22 June 2004
Frank Capra in his autobiography called Bing Crosby, "the master of the cultured ad-lib." A lot of time Crosby would drop several ad-libs into a script and Capra kept them in. According to Capra they were better

than what the screenwriter had written. Of course partnering with Bob Hope in several films and thousands of radio, television, and live shows Bing had to be quick on the uptake.

Capra wanted to do another of his populist films like Mr. Deeds etc., in the three picture deal he signed with Paramount. But after doing Riding High and doing it well with Bing Crosby, he wanted to do one of his type film. The Paramount brass said no, but since he was unhappy at Paramount they agreed to drop their last picture commitment on his contract for one more Crosby film. Just make a good one.

Capra was as good as his word. This film is entertainment plus and a lot of that has to do with the chemistry between Bing and Jane Wyman. Most of Crosby's leading ladies were nice women who just melted with the Crosby charm. Not so here. Ms. Wyman gives as good with the wisecracks as Crosby does and is no pushover. What she is here is a fiancé who's grown tired of waiting for her man who's out gallivanting all over the world as per his job as correspondent. When he finally does come back he has two French orphans in tow. But Jane's decided to marry millionaire Franchot Tone. Bing has to get her back or those kids will be deported. That's where the fun starts.

By now Paramount was giving Crosby vehicles some respectable budgets and that included letting Frank Capra hire a lot of his favorite supporting players. Those folks make a Capra film an enjoyable experience.

Franchot Tone does nicely as millionaire rival and critics were astounded at Alexis Smith who turned out to have a real flair for comedy. Funny parts she wasn't getting at Warner Brothers. She plays a "kissing" cousin of Franchot Tone and figures prominently in Bing's machinations.

They were also astounded at Jane Wyman who nobody realized could sing. Why they were is beyond me since she did start in musical choruses. The song In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer won an Oscar for best song and became one of Bing's million selling records, dueted with Jane Wyman on screen and on vinyl.

The rest of the score is by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans who were under contract to Paramount and for some reason or other never wrote another Crosby film score. Probably because Paramount didn't assign them because many years later they scored and arranged a whole album of duets with Bing and Rosemary Clooney called That Traveling Two Beat Time. And Bing did pretty good with a song written for his friend Bob Hope by them called Silver Bells.

One of the Livingston-Evans songs was a patented philosophical number called Your Own Little House. A nice song on record, on screen it's a great impromptu style number that so many of Crosby's seemed to be. Sung with a group of kids who are French war orphans, Bing does some gentle kidding of fellow entertainers Jimmy Durante and Maurice Chevalier.

This is one of Bing's best and great entertainment.
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It's a wonderful Bing Crosby (helped by Frank Capra)
jotix10024 May 2006
"Here Comes the Groom" was a surprise when it was shown by TCM recently. This film brings together two talented men, Frank Capra and Bing Crosby. This light comedy, with some music, is seldom seen these days, and it's a shame. Although not one of the best films of the director, the film is entertaining and fun to watch.

The great achievement of Mr. Capra was the way he brought together a fabulous cast that work well together. Bing Crosby shows why he was one of the best performers of his time. He is always charming and generous to his fellow players. The other surprise in the film is Jane Wyman. Playing a light role she is delightfully playful as the woman who has found a rich man who wants to make her his wife, but she is still in love with the absent Pete Garvey, who just happens to reappear with two cute war orphans that immediately "adopt" her as their mother.

The other principals, Franchot Tone and Alexis Smith, are in terrific form. Ms. Smith, especially, is a delight to watch. It's a shame Hollywood didn't give her better vehicles in which to shine. Mr. Tone is suave as Wilbur Stanley, the millionaire who finds out in the worst way, his bride-to-be is in love with another man.

Another coup of Mr. Capra is the way he brings a lot of those excellent character actors that had worked with him in other films. Such is the case with Charles Lane, H.B. Warner, Charlest Halton, among others. There is a nice sequence that takes place in the plane that is bringing Pete back to America in which he sings a number with Phil Harris, Frank Fontaine, and Dorothy Lamour. Also in the early part of the film we saw a young and beautiful Anna Maria Alberghetti singing.

"Here Comes the Groom" shows why Frank Capra was one of the best directors, and it also helped that he had Bing Crosby on board.
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Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman show sparks in Frank Capra's Here Comes the Groom
tavm31 January 2012
For the last several days, I had been watching a series of films made in the '40s that coincidentally had a player from my favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life in it. Well, now I'm commenting on one from that picture's director, Frank Capra, which happened to have several players from his movie. Among them were H.B. Warner, J. Farrell MacDonald, Charles Lane, and Charles Halton. IMDb also lists Ellen Corby, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, and Jimmy Hawkins but I didn't recognize them. The site also mentioned frequent Laurel & Hardy player James Finlayson in here but, once again, I didn't find him. Anyway, this was an uneven romantic musical comedy starring Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman that didn't become funny to me until Bing's character starting living in Jane's potential future husband's mansion. That possible husband was played by Franchot Tone whose straight presence brings a steady tone that makes some of the more silly or over-the-top moments more tolerable. Alexis Smith plays a cousin, fourth removed, of Tone's whose transformation to something closer to Ms. Wyman's actual demeanor is one of the more genuinely charming moments. I also liked a sequence in which Ms. Wyman appears in hologram form when Bing plays a record from her in which she basically declares her through with him especially the way the scene ended. A couple of people I didn't find funny were Jane's parents especially the drunk father. As for the songs, Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer's "In the Cool, Cool, Cool, of the Evening" with Crosby and Wyman is a great number that seems played with no cuts whatever and possibly in one take. I also loved that one-of several they wrote here-Ray Evans and Jay Livingston song "Misto Christofo Columbo" that features Bing with Dorothy Lamour, Phil Harris, Cass Daley, Frank Fontaine (in his Crazy Gugenheim character), and the one and only Satchmo-Louis Armstrong. What a gas that was! There's also a nice operatic number from a young girl named Anna Maria Alberghetti in the beginning. By the way, I first saw her several months ago when I watched her grown-up in Ten Thousand Bedrooms, Dean Martin's first solo picture. In summation, Frank Capra's Here Comes the Groom is no great shakes but it's still quite enjoyable fluff overall.
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Alexis Smith--another talent underused and abused by Hollywood
172682 March 2007
"Here Comes the Groom" is a better than usual musical. It's overriding virtue is the cast. Crosby is, as usual good. Wyman is extremely good as a musical star--after "Johnny Belinda," she here shows she can play virtually anything. Franchot Tone is also quite good.

However, the best performance comes from Alexis Smith, looking more glorious than ever and displaying a wonderfully relaxed and natural talent for comedy. Too bad she didn't really come into her own until 1971 and the legendary Broadway show "Follies."

"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" is the best and best-known song in the score. I wonder what Wyman could have done in a good Broadway musical.
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Bing's best
dhosek5 June 2000
This is my favorite of Bing's movies, a light comedy with great musical numbers, centering on the fantastic song and dance routine with Bing and Jane Wyman in the office building singing, "in the cool cool cool of the evening". Rent this or catch it on cable or do what you have to, it will be worth your while. Frank Capra's light touch does not disappoint.
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The cool, cool, cool of Capra and Crosby
Irie21217 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It's a lightweight comedy, but this film has unforgettable moments. Plotwise, it's postwar Capra claptrap complete with French orphans-- but also some dazzling camera work and a few did-I-just-see-that? surrealistic touches.

The first is a hologram of sorts: Bing's in France listening to an audio letter from fiancée, Jane Wyman-- a Dear John recordio-gram. As it's playing, Wyman materializes on the spinning record, Princess Leia-like. So I should have been prepared for anything, but when Der Bingle is on the plane back to America, he (of course) starts singing to the orphans. The tune is "Misto Cristofo Columbo"-- and suddenly Louis Armstrong walks into the airline cabin, complete with trumpet and hankie-- well, talk about ferblunjet! Then up pops the bottom of the Hollywood barrel: Dorothy Lamour, Frank Fontaine and Phil Harris, all singing.

When the plane, and the plot, land in Boston, Bing has to win Jane back from Franchot Tone, which he does via a Pygmalion subplot involving Alexis Smith and men's pajamas. Hubba hubba. Best of all though is one of film's great tracking shots (nothing compared to "I Am Cuba," but still), a song-and-dance number through an office building to "In the cool cool cool of the evening." If only they'd brought Satchmo back for the big double-wedding ending.
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It's Bing. It's Capra.
mkilmer16 February 2007
If Frank Capra had a message in this film, it might have been that the in America, the wealthy, though as personable as anyone, do not always "get the girl." But they, as everyone, get something, and there is happiness to be had.

Bing Crosby was Bing Crosby, an incredible talent who could light up a motion picture with his facial expressions; when he sings, wow.

This is not a movie for those uptight with notions of a "Patriarchy"; it was 1951, and the general relationship between men and women had changed somewhat between then and now. You do the film a disservice by trying to do that, so put yourself in their shoes for an hour, thirteen, and let yourself feel good.

Hollywood doesn't make reporters like Pete Garvey anymore.
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Entertaining and Funny
marmee4622 January 2004
I feel this movie is well done and if you like Bing Crosby or Jane Wyman you will enjoy watching this one. It is full of music, is entertaining, full of action, and funny. There are parts that will really make you laugh. I own a copy of this movie and would recommend it for anyone to watch. It can also be considered a family movie.
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Very enjoyable fluff
MartinHafer15 November 2012
"Here Comes the Groom" is the sort of schmaltzy fluff that Bing Crosby did best. While I am quick to admit that this is a very slight film, it is also a very, very enjoyable film. Deep? Nah--but fun.

The film begins with Bing hanging out with a bunch of cute orphans in post-war France. He's supposed to be coming back to the USA to marry his fiancée (Jane Wyman) but he cannot leave the kids in a lurch--particularly two cute kids who he plans to adopt. The only trouble is that after he's done all the paperwork to bring them to America, he's returned so late that his girlfriend has called off the wedding and is now planning to marry her boss (Franchot Tone). You really can't blame her too much--Bing never told her he'd be late or why he'd be late. In other words, she wasn't feeling very appreciated.

There is a problem with Bing not getting married, however. In order to adopt the kids and keep them he MUST get married...and quick. Bing isn't about to try to find another girl and he really does care about Jane, so he's determined to break up the engagement and marry her himself. Here is where it gets interesting--Bing tells Franchot and Franchot actually allows him a chance to win her back. After all, if she isn't 100% ready to marry him, why not let her marry Bing? Where all this ends is very predictable--but a film like this always is. Along the way, you have some nice comedy (particularly the portions with Alexis Smith) and really nice songs--and it's quite enjoyable and cute. Perhaps it's too cute and saccharine for some--I could understand that. But, if you don't mind and are looking for an old fashioned family film, it's well worth your time.
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Here Comes the Groom Comes Loads of Fun ****
edwagreen22 November 2009
What a wonderful Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman vehicle. No wonder the two were used again the following year in "Just for You."

Wyman needed a break after such heavy dramas as "Johnny Belinda," and "The Blue Veil." This was a perfect movie for her, playing the tired fiancée of Bing (Pete Garvey). Fed up waiting for him from returning from France as a foreign correspondent, she agrees to marry her boss, Franchot Tone, worth $40 million.

The 2 adorable children that Bing brings to America provide charm and elegance. There is always Connie Gilchrist, who brings her charm by doing what she knows best- playing a common woman full of love and joy. She is glad that the wedding is over, even though it didn't go her way, because she can now take off her corset. That was Gilchrist for you.

The big surprise of the movie is Alexis Smith, who nearly steals it. She is a riot as Tone's 4th neglected cousin. Spurred on by Crosby, to win Tone away from Wyman, she provided side-splitting hysterics in the film.

The film makes us remember that it was impossible for single people to adopt children. With the Oscar winning song, In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening, the film is an absolute hit in so many ways.
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Here Comes a Grin
wordsmith_5727 March 2009
If you like fun, whimsical, mostly predicable plots that involve a couple of well-known stars, then pop in Here Comes the Groom. Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman aren't exactly Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, but they definitely made a great team in this Capra vehicle. It doesn't matter this is a patchwork quilt of other movie plots, (The Philadelphia Story, for instance,which der Bingle did his own way with Grace Kelly), it's a cute little bit of cinema fun that had me grinning and even out right laughing in parts. Some will slice and dice the movie for editing and extraneous bits, yet movies from this era, as ones from today, were sometimes supposed to be fluff. So enjoy this one in the cool, cool, cool of the evening, or any time you want a lift and a smile.
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Bing and Jane Deserved Better Than This Capra Dud
malvernp21 June 2006
The Good: the film has very fine performances by the principals, particularly Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman. Why Ms. Wyman was not used more as a musical comedy lead is a mystery to me. She is cute, sassy, spirited and talented. When you see her in this movie and her other film with Crosby, "Just for You," it is quite obvious that Ms. Wyman had a career in musicals that was a missed opportunity.

The Bad: "Here Comes the Groom" is so derivative of several other similar plots (i.e. "It Happened One Night," "The Front Page," "The Philadelphia Story," etc.) that it is a wonder why nobody took its screenwriters to task for plagiarism------although Robert Riskin was involved in both "Here Comes the Groom" and "It Happened One Night".

The Ugly: Frank Capra was clearly running on empty when he made this film. It is poorly paced, badly edited, filled with extraneous scenes and loaded with his not so subtle brand of social commentary (the rich must always lose in the end, a charming heel is preferable to a more substantial but bland alternative, a smart and independent career woman will inevitably succumb to the machinations of the charming heel, etc.).

Still-----if for no other reason------viewers ought to see this film for the delightful work done by Jane Wyman------and wonder about what her body of screen work might have been if she had been given more similar roles.
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Capara does romantic comedy again
raskimono25 June 2005
One has to wonder why Frank Capara is so renowned with books written about him till this day. His hey day was the thirties where more than a couple of gems were made but even then his direction was that notch. It was the sharp story with good performances that sinewed and chugged along these movies disguising his directorial flaws. After Mr. John Doe, I think the scripts were not up to snuff, the movies too long and the dialog draggy and haltingly haughty. This movie has all the recipe to be a sharp portrait on the perennial battle of the sexes roles as perceived in society but regurgitation and elemental whimsical and cloying make a peg round as a square. Pardon my regurgitatant riff and whimsical drift. Fair is fair, this was a contract movie and he did it to fulfill his contract, so maybe it's not all his fault. Crosby is a reporter in France, who lives his poor girlfriend waiting on him without ever getting down on his knees and pulling the doodad out of his inner pockets. Her clock ticking, she jumps for the wealthy Franchot Tone. Crosby returns to hear the news, two annoying French orphans in tow and of course tries to win her back. The musical numbers are perfunctory apart from the Oscar winner and chart topper "In the cool, cool, cool of the evening" which is slyly done, introduced and well choreographed to make me smile. Crosby and Wyman have a good chemistry but Tone and Crosby just sparkle especially in a scene in the back of Tone's car which is so well-written and is what the whole movie needed. Alexis Smith, an actress who had never left an impression on me in her previous works, sparkles as a comic ingénue. And then cloying starts again. It began if I have not mentioned in the scenes in Paris which really serve no purpose but to show the kind of guy Bing is. It is way two heavy-handed. And anytime, there is hope, the distracting cloying comes in again. The ending made me want to puke. This movie bares a similarity to a Crosby movie "Waikiki Wedding" which has a similar ending to this movie but is better handled in that movie. In fact Crosby does this role and part better in 1956 in the smarter and delightful remake High Society. So watch this movie if you are fans of the stars in the cool of the evening. It might go down best that way.
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A loud, long-winded bore.
JohnHowardReid24 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Academy Award for Best Song, "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening", defeating "A Kiss To Build a Dream On" from The Strip, "Never" from Golden Girl, "Too Late Now" from Royal Wedding, and "Wonder Why" from Rich Young and Pretty.

Robert Riskin and Liam O'Brien were nominated for Best Motion Picture Story, losing to Seven Days to Noon.

PRINCIPAL MIRACLE: In some respects, this is a comic version of Bing Crosby's later vehicle, Little Boy Lost (1953).

COMMENT: A combination of Bing Crosby and Frank Capra should have produced something really special. Maybe because that didn't happen is why the picture received such a drubbing from the critics. But how explain the appeal of this disappointingly mediocre offering to the public. Particularly the American and Australian public?

Here are two of my original reviews. The first from Photoplayer, published when the movie was first released. The second is extracted from my TV page in Shout written about twenty years later:

Capra well below par with this noisy, static, over-talkative comedy. There are a few flashes of the old master's genius, notably in the visit to a vast office pile at night, but most of the action takes place in some very cramped sets and the handling (in long takes) closely resembles that of a filmed stage play. Most of the jokes are poor. They are stretched so thin, that when they do come along they are delivered so portentously as to drain off any vestiges of sparkle. If the script had been drastically shortened by 30-45 minutes and if the direction and playing had been suitably light, it would doubtless have provided fairly agreeable entertainment. But as it is, it's a loud, long-winded bore.

OTHER VIEWS: It was no wonder that director Frank Capra did not make another film after this for some time. It's a very noisy affair with some good ideas but far too much talk. A brisk hand in the cutting room would have helped considerably. The songs are by a very uninspired Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, although one number is helped out by some surprise guest appearances. Even George Barnes' photography is not quite up to his usual superb standard.
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Pretty bad but worth watching for one musical performance
den_quixote21 January 2017
If you were told that a movie was produced and directed by Frank Capra and starred Jane Wyman, Bing Crosby, Franchot Tone and Alexis Smith you might be forgiven for having great expectations. Sadly there is only one thing great about it and that is an operatic performance by a teenage Anna Maria Alberghetti. AMA plays a teenage war orphan in Paris who was up for adoption and when Bing Crosby, playing a journalist involved with the placement of orphans, fails in his first attempt at placing a child with prospective parents and discovers that the husband is a conductor of a major orchestra, he strongarms the couple into listening to AMA. They are transfixed as they should be and when they discover she is blind they are hooked, since she will be a great concert performer. Ugh! The rest of the movie is almost that bad, save for the operatic performance, though many of the stars are adequate. The absolute low point for me was a series of cameos taking place on the airplane bringing Bing and some prospective adoptees to the States. During the flight he breaks out into song and low and behold Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Lamour, Phil Harris and the insufferable Frank Fontaine were all on the plane with him and ready to perform. How anyone could ever have laughed at Fontaine (and his Crazy Guggenheim character) is a mystery for the ages.
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I'm a Sucker for Old Capra Movies-Good but not Great
mike4812820 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Within the first 15 minutes the viewer already knows that Bing is going to get his girl, which takes the movie down a notch. Not exactly a musical, but Bing manages to sing a few. Most annoying opus is Cole Porter's "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" which gets sung-to-death. Bing plays Peter Garvey, an American newspaper corespondent stationed in France while his fiancé is back home. She finally loses her patience and sends him a "Dear John" homemade phonograph record while he visually imagines her every word. It's very cute. When the record skips, she skips! He is delayed from his original flight home in order to get the paperwork to adopt two adorably cute war orphans from France. By the time he finally flies home, she is engaged and to be wed to her millionaire boss Wilbur Stanley that Saturday. The girl-in-question is wasp-waisted Jane Wyman, (as Emmadel Jones) who looks like a confection in her beautiful white satin wedding gown. Her fiancé gives her a wedding present in the form of a check for half a million dollars! Garvey actually strikes up a friendly-rivalry with Wilbur. So, in 5 days, Bing (Garvey) must marry Miss Jones or the kids might have to return to France. Enter 4th-cousin Winifred Stanley (Alexis Smith) who, once dressed for the part, is a beautiful and statuesque gal who has been carrying a torch for her distant cousin Wilbur since her childhood. All ends as it should with a few minor Capra-corn plot twists. Several colorful characters played by familiar actors. Not quite the Capra-classic, but most enjoyable.
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Bing Crosby sings the Oscar winning "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"
jacobs-greenwood6 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Produced and directed by Frank Capra, one of his last films (he didn't direct another film, his next to last, until 1959), with a story by his frequent collaborator Robert Riskin, and Liam O'Brien, this slightly above average musical (late screwball) comedy features Bing Crosby in the title role.

Crosby, who's always ready with a song to smooth over any situation, plays the kind of easy going, unflappable character that marked his career. Jane Wyman, Alexis Smith, Franchot Tone, James Barton, Robert Keith, and Connie Gilchrist, among others, round out the cast. The Hoagy Carmichael-Johnny Mercer song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" won an Academy Award; Riskin and O'Brien also received a nomination for their Motion Picture Story. This Oscar winning song is sung throughout, including during one of the film's several well choreographed numbers (another with uncredited Louis Armstrong, Phil Harris, and Dorothy Lamour) featuring Crosby and Wyman!

Boston foreign correspondent Pete Garvey (Crosby) has spent the last three years in Paris helping to find homes for war orphans. His ring-less "fiancée" Emmadel Jones (Wyman) and newspaper editor George Degnan (Keith) are impatient for his return. Bobby (Jacques Gencel) and Suzi (Beverly Washburn), two of the orphans, have found their way into Pete's heart and he decides to adopt them. This takes time, which delays his return home.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, an exasperated Emmadel, who's been employed as the secretary to real estate mogul Wilbur Stanley (Tone) for the past two years, accepts her boss's proposal of marriage. George's paper has dubbed Emmadel "Cinderella Jones". However, the stipulation on Pete's adoption of Bobby and Suzi states that he must have a wife within 5 days of his arrival in Boston with the orphans.

So, Pete goes straight to Emmadel's where he's warmly greeted by her somewhat drunken, and former Navy captain father William 'Pa' Jones (Barton), and is not so well received by her Ma (Gilchrist), who foresees Pete messing up her daughter's engagement to the $40 million man. Sure enough, Pete conspires to stop the wedding, which is conveniently scheduled the same day as his deadline, in part by appealing to Emmadel's maternal instincts towards the orphans, who are not only cute, but have adopted some of Pete's mannerisms.

Though you can probably figure out how the story will end, it's the "getting there" that satisfies, at least most of the time. Pete meets Wilbur, to whom he's open about his intentions (e.g. that he plans to marry Emmadel himself), and the two make a gentleman's agreement - "may the best man win". Wilbur, confident of his position, even allows Pete to move in to the Stanley estate guest house in the days immediately preceding the wedding. This delights Emmadel's Pa, but infuriates her and her mistrusting Ma. Smith plays Wilbur's prim and proper fourth cousin Winifred Stanley, who's always had a crush on him. Pete, who senses this, plays a Pygmalion- like role, with George's assistance, to help Winifred loosen up in order to appear more attractive to her cousin Wilbur.

A lot of slapstick humor, only some of which is funny, follows. If it weren't for the overtly contrived (indeed, incredible) ending, I'd probably rate this as an above average comedy.

H.B. Warner, Nicholas Joy, Ian Wolfe, and Adeline De Walt Reynolds (uncredited) play other members of the Stanley family; Irving Bacon plays their butler. Charles Halton appears, as an immigration official, and so does Charles Lane - both are uncredited.
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Hidden Gem
Mutoto25 May 2016
So, this is no Capra masterpiece, but it is still clear why Capra was one of the best of his generation. The innocence portrayed seems out of place in 1951, but seeing it now, just adds to the film's nostalgic feel. Capra lets Cosby do his improv, Wyman is somehow rehearsing for the Douglas Sirk roles she would take in only a few years, only with a comedy twist. There are some hilarious scenes also (like the duel between the two female rivals - with the old grandma saying "this is better than television" - little did she know!- or the wedding scene leading to the obvious happy ending)showing that Capra had not lost his touch. Definitely worth seeing.
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Delightful comedy romance with some fine music
SimonJack6 June 2014
"Here Comes the Groom" is a delightful comedy romance with some very good music and performers. Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael won the 1951 Oscar for best original song with "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening." This film had a very good cast all around, and some special cameo appearances in the music department.

The film stars Bing Crosby as Pete Garvey and Jane Wyman as Emmadel Jones. The movie had a sizable supporting cast of top Hollywood talent of the time. Franchot Tone and Alexis Smith head the list that included H.B. Warner, Ian Wolfe, Robert Keith, and others. But, some young actors, headed by Jacques Gencel as young Bobby and Beverly Washburn as Suzi, steal the scenes they are in as war orphans of World War II.

This was the first view most movie fans had of Anna Maria Alberghetti. The 15-year-old Italian-born soprano just one year before had made her Carnegie Hall debut. Here, she plays a blind young teen who is a war orphan, Theresa. In her one scene, she gives a captivating rendition of the beautiful song, "Caro Nome" from Verdi's opera, "Rigoletto."

On a plane trip, Bing is joined in a song with a troupe of USO entertainers returning from Europe. They include no less than Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong on trumpet, comedian Phil Harris, Dorothy Lamour and Frank Fontaine. Besides the song and dance numbers, this film had a good plot, and excellent acting all around. The comedy was excellent as well. It may be Crosby's best comedic role in movies. His humor and trademark asides that he ad-libbed seemed natural here, where they often seem contrived in other films. Indeed, in the Road Show series with Bob Hope, they were part and parcel of the plots, even though one couldn't script an ad-lib as such.

"Here Comes the Groom" is a nice film with two tales. One is about one of the many operations to help children who became war orphans after WW II. The other is a love story about a guy who keeps backing off his planned trip to the altar with a childhood sweetheart. The two mixed together make for a little mayhem and some good laughs at times. The title is a little wacky, but it will make sense when one watches the film.

Although the plight of hundreds of thousands of homeless and lost children at the end of World War II was a serious matter, this film manages to give a light-hearted touch of hope for the future of the war orphans. It's a movie fit for all ages and one that should delight the whole family. A couple of reviews mentioned some obvious faults in the production of the film. I noticed them, but the story was interesting enough that it didn't linger with me. It's hard to imagine how Director Frank Capra could let those things slip through in the filming and editing processes. But for those production slips, this movie would rate 10 stars in my book.
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Magnificent Jane Wyman
jarrodmcdonald-11 March 2014
A new and improved Jane Wyman appears in this picture with Bing Crosby. She is no longer the violated waif we saw in Johnny Belinda, but a self-confident woman who knows how to sing and clown around. Check out the moment where she visits Mr. Crosby in the guest house and proceeds to fall flat on her face in that larger-than-life dress! And she's sweet in the scenes with the kids, too.

But in case we forget that she's also a serious dramatic actress, there are moments of toughness between her and costar Alexis Smith. The film is a treat for any Wyman fan who enjoys watching the actress prove her versatility time and again, not that she ever had to. We have known about her talent for quite some time now.
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Capra running on empty...except for a song...
Doylenf18 December 2007
When the best thing about a BING CROSBY/JANE WYMAN film is a song called "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening", you know you're in trouble. What is supposed to be harmless fluff is pretty empty fluff at that. And why anyone is surprised that Jane Wyman can carry a tune with the best of them, mystifies me. Miss Wyman made her debut playing dizzy chorus girls who usually tossed off a song and dance number before the first reel was over, in a number of films, mainly at Warner Bros. And later on, after she became a big star, she still contributed nicely to the Cole Porter bio, NIGHT AND DAY.

Anyway, here she has one of her brisk, no nonsense roles as a gal who's tired of waiting around for her globe trotting boyfriend (Crosby) to take her down the aisle, so she's engaged to FRANCHOT TONE. But Crosby manages to use all of his wiles to coax her back, even if it includes some shenanigans involving ALEXIS SMITH (of all people), who gives one of her best comedic roles all the spirit it deserves.

But when all is said and done, HERE COMES THE GROOM seems sub-standard and a bit foolish, unworthy of talents like Crosby and Wyman. Their best moment comes when they croon the title tune while choreographed waltzing around a huge office, but it's not enough to keep the rest of the story from floundering amid too many missed opportunities.

Summing up: Capra running on empty can be tiresome.
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A Shining Example
TanakaK6 April 2011
Bing Crosby! Jane Wyman! Alexis Smith! Franchot Tone! And directed by ...(wait for it)...Frank Capra!! What could be wrong with this picture? As it turns out, just about everything. This is a perfect example of how so many wonderfully talented ingredients can produce a stinker. As usual, the writing seems to be the main culprit. The script seems to be swinging for comedic home runs in nearly every scene but spends no time building the characters or their rapport. And speaking of the characters, sheesh! Mostly shrill, self-centered and un-charming. Jane Wyman comes of as a harpy while Bing just sings (un-memorable tunes). Meanwhile Tone and Smith spend most of their time as bystanders. Each character just seems to be doing his/her own thing. This was very surprising to see in a Frank Capra film.

Yes, I realize that audiences had panned this dud long before I was even born. But for this only to see a contrast example of how all the best ingredients can be cooked to create an indigestible dish.
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Taking two adorable war orphans to America to warm up the jilted fiancée.
mark.waltz11 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
That's the premise of this Frank Capra musical where war corespondent Bing Crosby has remained in Europe to try and find homes for a series of orphans, taking two back to the United States with him in hopes of melting former fiancée Jane Wyman's heart after she frustratingly agrees to marry her wealthy boss (Franchot Tone) after constantly being kept under wraps by Bing. She even sends him a recording of her demands, appearing in Bing's memory standing on the record while talking. Audiences who only know Wyman from her dramatic performances and TV's "Falcon Crest" will be delighted here to find out that she's a very talented singer, dancer and comedienne, not content with simply dramatic emoting, as she showed by immediately moving into these comedy's and musicals after winning her Oscar for "Johnny Belinda".

An above average musical score highlights the songs, with some of Bing's Paramount pals joining in for the airplane set "Christopho' Columbo", including trumpet playing Louis Armstrong, "Road to..." co-star Dorothy Lamour, wailing Jerry Colonna and funny lady Cass Daley. The theme song, though, is the Oscar Winning "In the Cool, Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening", which seems to warm Wyman up every time she hears it. Rising child soprano Anna Maria Alberghetti sings an operatic song in a touching moment as a war orphan who happens to be blind. James Barton and Connie Gilchrist are very funny as Wyman's less than high society parents, Robert Keith seen as Bing's frustrated boss, and Alexis Smith rather wasted as Tone's dowdy cousin who obviously has heavy feelings for him. A ton of veteran Hollywood character actors pop in and out very fast, some of their bit roles more amusing than others. Jacques Gencel and Beverly Washburn steal every scene (and your heart) as the two war orphans who do nothing but fight with each other, but obviously could bear to be separated from each other. While the plot line might seem a trifle bit saccharine, the writing helps minimize any potential tooth decay you might get from the stickiness of the plot.
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Here Comes a Surprise!
arieliondotcom9 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'd never heard of this movie before seeing it on cable and was pleasantly surprised. Oh, I would have been even happier if it had been in color (the cover on the IMDb page is in color so I'm guessing there is a colorized version out there). And I was disappointed to see Jane Wyman instead of Jane Wyatt whom I was expecting when I heard the intro. But this is a fun film with cute songs well crooned and some seriously funny lines, some of which you can tell are ad libs from Crosby ("Golf, a good old man's game..." and "I'm just a wee boy..."). You'll also see where Martin Short stole his idea for the role of the wedding arranger in the more recent versions of Father of the Bride. Hilarious.

It's Frank Capra, and he is an acquired taste. So like certain seasoning, you need to avoid this movie if you don't like schmaltz. But I think if you can get past that and the fact that it should be in color for a movie made this late, you'll find genuine laughs, some whistle-worthy tunes and a pleasant distraction that brings a smile or two. And that's a pleasant surprise.
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