Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1954. Perlberg-Seaton Productions. Screenplay by George Seaton, based on the play by Clifford Odets. Cinematography by John F. Warren. Produced by William Perlberg. Music by Victor Young. Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Ellsworth Hoagland. Academy Awards 1954. Cannes Film Festival 1955. Golden Globe Awards 1954.
Strong film version of Clifford Odets’ play about an over-the-hill alcoholic singer (Bing Crosby) whose attempts at a comeback in a big Broadway musical seem to be thwarted by his long-suffering and unhappy wife (Grace Kelly). A well-meaning director (William Holden) does his best to keep Crosby in the show, but Kelly just can’t seem to let Crosby forget about their past tragedies together. The drama is at times melodramatic (director George Seaton tends to push Kelly a little over the top) but is still pretty potent today. The film’s best asset is Holden’s fiery performance as the director–his energy keeps the drama pulsing. Some audience members might enjoy the laugh they get from seeing Hollywood try to make Grace Kelly look plain by throwing her behind a pair of thick glasses (her own, actually) and a woolly sweater.