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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Slightly French (1949)

When the French actress (Adele Jergens) starring in his latest film has an emotional breakdown, a director (Don Ameche) hires a carnival performer (Dorothy Lamour) and trains her to pose as a French entertainer so she can replace the ill star. Directed by melodrama maestro Douglas Sirk, this piece of cinematic cotton candy is strictly by the numbers. The cast tries hard, desperately hard, but they can't get past the formulaic script. Lamour is a real trouper but she wasn't much of an actress and the role taxes her limited abilities. Even in the film's big musical production number, it's obvious that she has a dance double to do the more intricate choreography (by Robert Sidney). Ameche huffs and puffs away but can't hide that he's on auto pilot. Maybe if the film had been shot in bright Technicolor hues instead of B&W, it might have given the movie some needed eye candy but as it is, it's merely desperate. Sirk doesn't bring any of his distinctive style to the proceedings but to be fair, what could he have done? For Lamour fans only. With Janis Carter, Willard Parker and Jeanne Manet.

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