Friday, September 17, 2021


State Department bureaucrat Sam Putnam (Ray Bolger) sends an invitation to Ethel Barrymore to a prestigious arts festival in Paris, but the invitation winds up sent to chorus girl Ethel Jackson (Doris Day), stage name 'Dynamite.' Sam is mortified and tries to fix the situation but his boss (whose daughter Sam is engaged to) decides it's a good idea. On the ship to Paris, Ethel clashes with many of the stuffy men on board but delights Philippe (Claude Dauphin), an entertainer who is broke due to owing taxes in America and is working as a waiter on the ship. Philippe, realizing that Sam has rather improbably fallen for Ethel, hopes to egg him on at a big drunken party the night before landing. He succeeds too well--Sam and Ethel decide to get the ship's captain to marry them that night. The marriage occurs, but Philippe learns that the man they thought was the captain was actually a cabin boy, so he spends the night trying to stop them from enjoying conjugal bliss. The next day, in Paris, things get more complicated when Sam's boss arrives with his daughter in tow. But, of course, in Hollywood (or Hollywood's idea of Paris) love conquers all. This musical farce starts out well but wears out its welcome before the end. The biggest problem is the odd mismatch between Bolger and Day. I could buy them as best buddies, maybe, but not as a true love match. I kept expecting them to realize that it would never work out, but the plot doesn't go that way. The music is not terribly memorable, though "I’m Gonna Ring the Bell Tonight" is a very cute Day/Bolger dance number. Dauphin is charming as Philippe, and the rest of the cast is serviceable. This won’t make you a Doris Day fan, but it's a pleasant time-passer. [TCM]

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