The Great Caruso (1951)

RICHARD THORPE Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1951.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, suggested by the biography of Enrico Caruso by Dorothy Caruso.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Music by Johnny Green, Peter Herman Adler.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Gabriel Scognamillo.  Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Gene Ruggiero.  Academy Awards 1951.  …

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The Opposite Sex

BBB (out of 5) Watered down remake of The Women that tries to capture the success of How To Marry A Millionaire by ruining the fun and having men actually appear on screen. June Allyson  is the sweet-natured and devoted wife to a theatre producer who is devastated when she learns from a gossipy manicurist that her husband (Leslie…

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A Date With Judy

BBB.5 (out of 5) Teenaged Jane Powell is a very popular girl whose patience for her bandleader boyfriend has worn thin. After he fails to escort her to a big dance where she is set to perform, she casts her eyes on the town’s new handsome soda jerk (Robert Stack) and asks him to accompany her,…

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Because You’re Mine

BB (out of 5) Mario Lanza plays (what else) a famous opera singer whose celebrity does nothing to keep him from the draft.  He is snatched up by Uncle Sam and put through basic training, though thanks to the fact that his sergeant (James Whitmore) is a huge opera buff, he is given pride of place…

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The Unfinished Dance

BBBB (out of 5) Decades before Black Swan indulged a hyper-surreal investigation of female egos clashing in the world of ballet, and a year before a woman would be torn destructively between love and dance in The Red Shoes, Henry Koster made this fascinating melodrama starring Margaret O’Brien and Cyd Charisse.  O’Brien plays a little girl who…

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Please Don’t Eat The Daisies

BB (out of 5) Doris Day plays housewife to university professor David Niven, who has just graduated from his job to a position as one of New York’s most respected and revered theatre critics (I am not familiar with the world in which this is a step up). After beginning his career with a scathing review…

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Easy To Love

BB.5 (out of 5) Weak Esther Williams vehicle that, as with so many her films, is just a series of excuses to get her into a bathing suit. She plays the star attraction at Cypress Gardens in Florida who is constantly bickering with her money-minded manager (Van Johnson) about her career. After he takes her…

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Summer Stock

BBB (out of 5) The last film that Judy Garland completed before her contract was torn up by MGM was this so-so musical that has enough great numbers in it to make it worth watching. Garland plays a happy farmer whose peaceful, quiet life is interrupted when her actress sister descends upon her, needing a place…

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Love Me Or Leave Me

BBB.5 (out of 5) Fictionalized biography of singer Ruth Etting makes for a very dark musical (for its time) and provides Doris Day with one of her richest roles. She plays Etting from her early days in the roaring twenties when the opportunity to make it big through the connection of a successful hood (James Cagney)…

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Billy Rose’s Jumbo

BB (out of 5) Undercooked clunker that brings Billy Rose’s Hippodrome extravaganza to the big screen with unimpressive results. Doris Day and Stephen Boyd play lovers who work for her father’s circus, a debt-riddled travelling show whose main attraction is an incredibly talented elephant who can dance and do tricks. Day’s father (Jimmy Durante) spends most of…

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The Toast Of New Orleans (1950)

NORMAN TAUROG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1950.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sy Gomberg, George Wells.  Cinematography by William E. Snyder.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Music by Albert Sendrey, George Stoll.  Production Design by Daniel B. Cathcart, Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Walter Plunkett, Helen Rose.  Film Editing by Gene Ruggiero.  Academy Awards 1950.   Those who aren’t fans of opera will prefer to kill themselves than sit through two…

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Presenting Lily Mars (1943)

NORMAN TAUROG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B.5.  USA, 1943.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Richard Connell, Gladys Lehman, based on the novel by Booth Tarkington.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Music by George Stoll.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Howard Shoup.  Film Editing by Albert Akst.   Don’t be prepared to settle in for a cozy old movie when you watch this simpering…

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