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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Helen Morgan Story (1957)

Set in the roaring 20s, the story of Helen Morgan (Ann Blyth) and her rise to fame from a carnival hula dancer to Broadway star. Along the way, there's her on and off again affair with a bootlegger (Paul Newman) as well as a married attorney (Richard Carlson) and a battle with alcohol. Directed by Michael Curtiz, this movie biography is more fiction than fact. The bootlegger played by Newman and the married attorney played by Carlson were created for the film. It's pretty familiar territory if you seen other movie bios on female singers like LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (Ruth Etting), I'LL CRY TOMORROW (Lillian Roth) and LADY SINGS THE BLUES (Billie Holliday). It's a pity the script is a string of cliches because Ann Blyth is good, very good although why they dubbed her (pop singer Gogi Grant dubs her) when Blyth had already proven her vocal talents in musicals like KISMET and ROSE MARIE is perplexing. To boot, Blyth's own singing voice is much closer to Morgan's than Grant's is. With Cara Williams, Alan King, Rudy Vallee, Gene Evans, Virginia Vincent, Dorothy Green, Leonid Kinskey, Iris Adrian and Juanita Moore.   

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