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Saturday, April 21, 2012

One Sunday Afternoon (1948)

At the turn of the 19th century, two young men (Dennis Morgan, Don DeFore) fall in love with the same pretty girl (Janis Paige). But when Paige shows a preference for DeFore, Morgan finds himself saddled with her suffragette friend (Dorothy Malone). But fate has unhappiness in store for both couples. The second remake of the 1933 Gary Cooper romantic comedy (the first remake was 1941's THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE), this one differs from the other two in that it is a musical. But with one exception, the musical elements are the weakest sections of the film. If you like barbershop quartets or Irish tenors, then this might be right up your alley. The one exception is a delightful duet on feminism sung by Paige and Malone (dubbed by Marion Morgan). Raoul Walsh (who directed STRAWBERRY BLONDE) is an odd choice for a musical because no one ever accused Walsh of a light touch. I'm not sure even Lubitsch could have done much with the material. The bright three strip Technicolor highlights the film's excellent art direction and period costumes. The original songs were composed by Ralph Blane (MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS) and the choreography is by Leroy Prinz. With Ben Blue, who attempts to provide the comedy ... unsuccessfully.

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