Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1945. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Leonard Praskins, adaptation by Harold Buchman, based on the play The Naked Genius by Gypsy Rose Lee. Cinematography by Joseph LaShelle. Produced by Bryan Foy. Music by David Buttolph, Cyril J. Mockridge. Production Design by Boris Leven, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Yvonne Wood. Film Editing by Norman Colbert.
Gypsy Rose Lee’s successful play is turned into a tepid musical comedy starring Vivian Blaine as a burlesque artist trying to break into legitimate performance. After she is rejected for the umpteenth time from a big-time Broadway showman’s classy spectacle, Blaine’s boyfriend and manager comes up with the perfect suggestion to improve her image: an autobiography! That means, though, that she’ll need a ghost writer, which is where buttoned-up Stephen Dunne comes in to help out. A few lovely musical numbers and the appearance of Carmen Miranda in a silly supporting role make for a pleasant distraction, though what is obviously a much sharper and provocative play seems to have been softened up for Hollywood’s tamer tastes, and the bite of Lee’s own superb autobiography is missing here.