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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
This musical reworking of TOO MANY HUSBANDS (1940), features Grable as a top singer and dancer who's been widowed by WW II. She marries her late husband's songwriting partner, Gower Champion, but the new marriage is thrown for a loop when Lemmon, her first husband, turns up very much alive and eager to see Grable.Written by
What an interesting pedigree Three For The Show had, dating all the way back to 1920 when W. Somerset Maugham's play Too Many Husbands debuted on Broadway with a long forgotten cast. It had a military background instead of a show business one, though the military does figure prominently in the plot.
Collaborators Jack Lemmon and Gower Champion have a hit show on Broadway for producer Myron McCormick that stars Betty Grable. Lemmon goes into the Air Force during the Korean War and goes MIA. He's reported killed and Grable who was married to Lemmon, now marries Champion. Then of course Lemmon returns and they've a situation the reverse of My Favorite Wife.
In the meantime poor Marge Champion is champing at the bit because she's got a thing for Gower. I think you can figure out where this one is going.
The numbers come from a variety of sources, some original, some Broadway, some classical. Betty Grable in what proved to be her next to last film did more serious type dancing here than in any other. But next to the Champions, she really did not look that good. It was unfair to cast her with them.
Grable also did not like working for Harry Cohn, she was used to another imperious studio mogul over at 20th Century Fox who had kind of eased her out of her number one spot for the fast rising Marilyn Monroe. But she thought he was a pussycat next to Cohn. Two For The Show was Betty's first outside film after 14 year at Fox.
Jack Lemmon proved to have a couple of good singing notes as he does accompany the rest on a number or two. He liked working with Grable because he felt she was unpretentious with a good sense of humor as apparently a lot of her colleagues did.
As a film though, Three For The Show will never rank first rate in the work of either Lemmon or Grable.
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