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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Deamboat (1952)

An English professor (Clifton Webb) finds his quiet life turned upside down when his secret past is revealed. When a series of silent movies is shown on television, his former career as a romantic leading man in silent films is exposed. Resentful of the unwanted publicity and intrustion into his private life, he and his daughter (Anne Francis) go to New York to threaten to sue to keep the films off television. If you can buy the idea of Clifton Webb as a dashing 1920s heartthrob a la Valentino, this pleasant if minor comedy is quite agreeable and moves along nicely except for a rather sluggish court sequence toward the end of the film. It shoots some rather vicious arrows at the vapidness of television (circa 1952) but seems rather impervious to its own rather condescending view of silent cinema. Ginger Rogers is quite good as Webb's former leading lady, now hawking perfume on TV. There's an inconsequential subplot involving Francis as Webb's bookish daughter and her romance with a New York public relations man (Jeffrey Hunter). Directed by Claude Binyon. With Elsa Lanchester, Fred Clark, Helene Stanley, Ray Collins, Marietta Canty and Gwen Verdon.

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