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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)

Meredith Willson’s Broadway musical about the Titanic’s most famous survivor wasn’t much of a musical to begin with. It’s score is serviceable but nowhere near the accomplishment of his melodic MUSIC MAN triumph. An uneducated hillbilly (Debbie Reynolds) from the mountains of Colorado leaves her home determined to crash into high society and marry a millionaire. It’s a juicy role for any actress and Debbie Reynolds acts it as if her life depended on it. Fortunately, it’s a good match and Reynolds does a splendid job of showing the evolving of the vulgar nouveau riche society crasher into the worldly, disillusioned American expatriate living in Europe. Harve Presnell makes for an enthusiastic Johnny Brown who woos and weds her. Peter Gennaro is responsible for the energetic choreography displayed to full advantage in the Belly Up To The Bar Boys and He's My Friend production numbers. Certainly not one of the great musicals but a personal triumph for Reynolds. With Ed Begley, Jack Kruschen, Martita Hunt, Hermione Baddeley, Harvey Lembeck, Hayden Rorke, Eleanor Audley, Vaughn Taylor and Audrey Christie.

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