Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1948. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, based on the play by S.N. Behrman. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.. Produced by Arthur Freed. Music by Lennie Hayton, Conrad Salinger. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Jack Martin Smith. Costume Design by Tom Keogh. Film Editing by Blanche Sewell. Academy Awards 1948.
A perfect example of how Vincente Minnelli was the colour film genius of his time is this splashy musical fantasy, one of the best in the Judy Garland film repertoire. Unappreciated when originally released, it was a financial disaster (even composer Cole Porter thought it was “the worst that money could buy”) but has since gained a better reputation. Garland is the wooable woman on a Caribbean island whose dreams of adventure are made reality by a visiting pirate (Gene Kelly). Their number “Love of My Life” is a high point, as is Judy’s opening song “Macocco of the Seven Seas”, but the most famous song in the film is likely when Judy and Gene do “Be A Clown”, a similar number to the “Couple of Swells” number Garland danced with Fred Astaire in Easter Parade that same year. There’s no limit to the fun you can have here–it’s so exotic and bright you almost forget you’re watching a movie that was made on a back lot in California.