Hosted by George Murphy, this "celebration" serves as a mildly interesting snapshot of showing the shape of the lion in it's 31st year. TV was clearly seriously impacting the studio's bottom line. Murphy initially tells audience--- without ever mentioning the one-eyed monster overtly--- that the theater the audience is in is worthy of it's continued patronage, with reminders of war bond drives (true--- theaters were responsible for selling millions in bonds and stamps during WWII), technological innovations (the recently abandoned 3-D isn't mentioned) and all-around spectacle. The personable George Murphy then peeks around the lot (which is highly staged and artificial) to see what's shooting; several productions are spotlighted. Unfortunately 1955 was a far from terrific year for the studio. The only really interesting sequence for me is the one showing 3 seconds of director King Vidor setting up a shot for "Love Me of Leave Me" with a glimpse of Jimmy Cagney getting on his mark. It's kind of sad to see Gene Kelley posturing about "It's Always Fair Weather" not realizing it was essentially the last of the MGM musicals of the 50's and arguably one of Kelley's lesser and least-seen efforts (okay, not counting 1980's roller-disco fantasy fiasco "Xanadu"). This 2-reel promo is probably best seen with your brain engaged, thinking about why it was made at all and is more significant for what it doesn't say. While several other studios also viewed TV as the enemy, MGM had more to lose in it's stance. It had lost it's theater franchise and hadn't had a truly profitable multi-year streak since 1946. 1955 would be one short year away from the wholesale collapse of the old studio system, something Metro should have seen coming when it cut loose the majority of it's stars five years earlier.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this