Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Judy (Debbie Reynolds) is a movie star shooting a big musical number and chatting with fellow movie star Robert Taylor. No, scratch that: it turns out that we've been seeing the dream of a lowly chorus girl who hopes to be a star. Later that day in Central Park as she sings about finding the right guy, she bumps into Look magazine assistant photographer Melvin (Donald O’Connor) who is singing about finding the right girl. They collide, have words, and part. She gets pulled from the chorus of her current show to play a football (!) in a big production number, then Melvin finds her and tells her he could get her picture on the cover of Look. As they work together, they fall in love—bad news for her rich and handsome but bland boyfriend (Richard Anderson)—but when Melvin's boss (Jim Backus) won't use her picture, things head downhill. Of course, this being a colorful MGM musical comedy, a happy ending is in store.

If you ever need a reminder that star chemistry alone isn't enough to carry a movie, this will do. I loved Reynolds and O'Connor in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN though technically, their chemistry was not with each other but with star Gene Kelly. Here, the two try hard and manage to strike a spark or two, but it doesn't help; the plot is lightweight and predictable, the songs are not particularly catchy, and the budget seems on the low side of the A-movie range. But Reynolds is low-key delightful and the production numbers are fun. There's Debbie being tossed in air like a football, O'Connor dancing on roller skates, a mini-"Broadway Rhythm" bit involving O’Connor, and a fantasy number with Debbie on stage with dancers wearing Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly masks. Backus is funny, and there is sure support from Una Merkel and Allen Joslyn as Reynolds' parents. Not a classic but cute and colorful. [Warner Archive Instant]

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