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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lovely To Look At (1952)

This glossy Technicolor remake of the Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach & Dorothy Fields musical ROBERTA , directed by Mervyn LeRoy, still retains that wonderful and melodic score but the narrative which was pretty hackneyed in the 1930s seemed doubly so in the 1950s. Three showmen (Howard Keel, Red Skelton, Gower Champion) are having difficulty finding backers for their Broadway show. When Skelton suddenly inherits one half interest in a Paris haute couture fashion house, they fly to Paris to sell his interest and use the money to fund their show. However, they didn’t count on the two sisters (Kathryn Grayson, Marge Champion) who run the business nor the romantic entanglements that ensue. Red Skelton has some painfully unfunny comedy bits, Grayson suffers and trills but Ann Miller has a killer number with I'll Be Hard To Handle and that whirling dervish of a dance couple, Marge and Gower Champion, do some fancy footwork courtesy of Hermes Pan’s choreography. The film’s highlight is a gaudy Technicolor fashion show designed by Adrian and directed by an uncredited Vincente Minnelli. With Zsa Zsa Gabor as a giddy model who can’t speak English and Kurt Kasznar as her wealthy boyfriend and Marcel Dalio.

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