Sunday, January 04, 2004


These Fox movies are both based on the same source material which was used by Fox again in the 50's for HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE. MIAMI is a colorful Fox musical, not quite as fun as the same year's SUN VALLEY SERENADE (reviewed 4/03), but better than average. Betty Grable and Carole Landis are sisters from Texas who work at a drive-in restaurant. When they come into a small inheritance, they take off to Miami in order to land rich husbands--I guess the city had a reputation for being overrun with wealthy bachelors. Grable pretends to be a successful businesswoman, Landis poses as her secretary, and their aunt (Charlotte Greenwood) goes along as a maid. Jack Haley is a bellhop who, not realizing that the girls are poseurs themselves, offers to help Grable steer clear of gold digging men. Grable meets Robert Cummings and they begin romancing, but the man she really has chemistry with is Don Ameche, who turns out to be one of those gold digging men, thanks to a busted family fortune. After some rough patches, everyone winds up with the right people, even Greenwood (with Haley). Robert Greig, who was very good as Hives the butler in ANIMAL CRACKERS, plays another butler here, and Fred Astaire's choreographer Hermes Pan dances with Grable in one number, a conga set to nursery rhymes. Most of the songs are not especially memorable, but the sets are nice and the whole thing has a fun Astaire/Rogers feel to it. The leads are fine (Landis is a bit bland), but Haley and Greenwood are the most fun. Some location footage from Florida is used, but feels superfluous. Generally, good escapist fare. THREE BLIND MICE is not a musical and compared to MOON feels a bit draggy, but it's worth seeing for its cast. In this one, Loretta Young has the Grable role, with relative unknowns Marjorie Weaver and Pauline Moore playing her sisters. Both of the men who seem to be rich (Joel McCrea and David Niven) aren't; the man with the money is bartender Stuart Erwin (the Haley equivalent here). Also in the cast: Binnie Barnes, Franklin Pangborn, and, in a tiny role, Elisha Cook Jr. as a boyish romancer--a startling change of pace from most of his later roles. [Fox Movie Channel]

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