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Thursday, June 26, 2014

We're Not Dressing (1934)

There's an undeniable sexual tension between a spoiled heiress (Carole Lombard) and a sailor (Bing Crosby) on her crew as her yacht sails the South Pacific. When the yacht sinks, they are stranded on a desert island along with several of her guests from the yacht. The sexual tension only intensifies as the sailor refuses to take orders from the wealthy guests. As they are helpless to survive without him, he turns the tables on them and puts them to work. The 1902 James M. Barrie play THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON (about an English servant who turns the table on his masters when they are stranded on an island) has been usurped by film makers for years, often without credit. Notable riffs include the Cecil B. DeMille silent MALE AND FEMALE to Lina Wertmuller's SWEPT AWAY... who used the story to examine both sexual politics and an unfair class system. This one is a musical piffle which takes awhile to get its rhythm going. The first 20 minutes are wasted with Crosby singing songs to a Lombard's pet bear cub but once they hit the island, things pick up considerably. The songs by Harry Revel and Mack Gordon aren't up to snuff though the young Ethel Merman (who hadn't yet developed her bulldozing persona) does a bang up job on It's Just A New Spanish Custom. Directed by Norman Taurog. With Ray Milland, George Burns, Gracie Allen and Leon Errol.

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