The Donahues - husband and wife Terry and Molly, and their three offspring Steve, Katy and Tim - are a song and dance act. Their survival as a performing act of five and as a family collective is presented. Under their family name, Terry and Molly were a successful vaudeville act in the early 1920s, they who subsequently under the names the Three Donahues, the Four Donahues and the Five Donahues, trotted out Steve, then Steve and Katy, then Steve, Katy and Tim on stage as early as they being toddlers. Molly was able to convince Terry to give the kids a stable education at a boarding school as the two of them continued their on the road career in Molly wanting the kids to have a normal life. They were pleasantly surprised that the kids grew up not only to have musical performing talent, but wanted to perform as a family unit as the Five Donahues. That harmony on and off stage was threatened first by Steve contemplating following another calling - the threat not only in his thought of ...Written by
Top-billed Ethel Merman was concerned that audiences might focus on Marilyn Monroe's stunning figure rather than Merman's vocals in the film's finale. She specifically requested that costume designer Travilla design a gown that would allow Ethel to compete with Marilyn. The result was a white satin dress with "wings" atop its bodice, that gave the illusion that Merman was at least as "busty" as Monroe. See more »
Donald O'Connor (Tim) wears a gold ring on his left ring finger (even though his character is not married) in almost all of his scenes. The ring is missing when he performs "A Man Chases a Girl (Until She Catches Him)", in the scene with Marilyn Monroe (Vicky) just before that, and in the film's climactic scenes. See more »
"Don't worry." Hmm. That's a laugh. You start worrying about your kids the day they're born and you never stop. Even after they bury you, I bet you never stop.
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20th Century Fox was no match for MGM when it came to musicals. Daryl F. Zanuk decided to gamble with this film where the talents of a Broadway star, Ethel Merman, would be showcased. Ms. Merman in spite of being the toast of Broadway, never made it big in Hollywood. After all, she was not a radiant beauty, but oh, could she belt a song that could be heard at the top of the balcony! Phoebe and Henry Ephron were brought on board to write the screen treatment and Walter Lang directed.
The musical was also blessed in that Irving Berlin's music is heard throughout in all its glory. Ms. Merman was the perfect actress to interpret the songs written by Mr. Berlin. They made a perfect duo, even though, for some viewers not used to Ethel Merman's singing style, it might prove an uneasy combination.
The story is simple enough. It follows the Donahues from the early days of vaudeville through some glittering years after. Molly and Terence Donahue had two sons, Tim and Steve, and a daughter, Katy. As the children grow up, the parents' popularity began to recede. The film deals with Tim, as a young man, as he falls for Vicky Parker, a beautiful singer who makes it big on her own. Vickie, who is more interested in her own career neglects Tim. As a result, Tim goes on his own to find himself, away from his family and Vickie.
The best thing in the film is Ethel Merman. She was a legendary figure and as Molly Donahue, she is at her best. Dan Dailey was the perfect partner for Ms. Merman. Donald O'Connor is also seen doing some fine dancing. Marilyn Monroe was a lovely woman to look at. As a singer, she had a small voice, but she used it well making the songs her own. Mitzi Gaynor plays Katy. Johnnie Ray, a popular singer of that period is terribly miscast. His Steve is the worst thing in the movie.
Although predictable, this film has some great things going for it. Some of the musical numbers are well staged and will not disappoint. On the whole as the camaraderie expressed by the title of the film is evident in the musical.
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