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Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Goldwyn Follies (1938)

When his last movie bombs, the head (Adolphe Menjou) of a major Hollywood studio hires a simple country girl (Andrea Leeds, STAGE DOOR) for her advice on film scripts in order to get back in touch with the common people. Directed by George Marshall (HOW THE WEST WAS WON), the hokey plot is merely an excuse for this lavish Technicolor musical to cram in as much musical numbers and comedy acts as it can in a 2 hour time slot. Produced by Samuel Goldwyn, the film has a song score by George and Ira Gershwin (including standards like Love Walked In and Our Love Is Here To Stay) and choreography by the legendary George Balanchine no less. There's something for everyone, excerpts from LA TRAVIATA for the highbrows and the comedy of The Ritz Brothers for the lowbrows. The 3 strip Technicolor lensing by Gregg Toland (CITIZEN KANE) is remarkably restrained and subtle rather than garish. Except for Menjou, the acting is mostly terrible and Leeds and Kenny Baker are barely tolerable as the juvenile leads but Vera Zorina's acting is actually charming in its ineptitude. With Alan Ladd, Phil Baker, Ella Logan (who alas doesn't get a chance to sing), Helen Jepson, Phil Baker, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy (who provide most of the laughs) and tenor Charles Kullman, who gives a wonderful performance in the TRAVIATA excerpts.

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