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Archive for the ‘Ann Harding’ Category

Two Weeks With Love

10 Sep

Two Weeks With Love – directed by Roy Rowland. Period Musical. 92 minutes 1950.

★★★★

Jane Powell is 21 here, playing a 17-year-old who desires to grow up.

Up is where Powell would never grow, because she is 5’1” and doomed to play shrimps. Her perfectly convincing 12 year-old younger sister is so because she is 5’2” and is played by Debbie Reynolds, aged 19, also a shrimp.

Personettes. Movies are full of them. Gloria Swanson, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, James Cagney, Joe Pesci, et al: tiny dynamos all.

Most of the musicals of this era are somewhat flaccid of plot, but they each usually have one marvelous number in them. And this one has Debbie Reynolds singing “Abba-Dabba Honeymoon.” It’s the number that made her famous and funneled her into Singing In The Rain. She joins cheeks to duet it with Carleton Carpenter and knocks it out of the park. There is a lot more to be said about Debbie Reynolds’ gifts and give than her first name has so far permitted.

The story is the same old strain on our credulity as so many other Powell films in which she is a sweet young thing in love with a man way out of her age range and class.

Here he is played by Ricardo Montalban, who is only 30 but is a man of such aplomb as to be almost on the level of Louis Calhern who plays Powell’s father.

Ricardo Montalban was an actor who could turn a thankless role into an occasion for our gratitude. If you compare him to the ill-natured Edmund Purdom in Powell’s Athena, you will see why we are so lucky to have Montalban before us here. But the idea of his marrying Powell is as inconceivable as a nightingale wedding an elk. We swallow this pill in order to get to the good parts. And all the musical matter is delightful, as is the ice-cream soda style of the film as a whole.

It does not seem strange to me that these musical are on DVD now and that people are seeing them for the first time. It isn’t nostalgia that causes it, and it isn’t scholarship, and it isn’t because they are classic, because they’re not; they’re simply of their period. It is because they remain entertainments as simple and pleasing as they were ever meant to be. These are not musicals about the horrors, or social and sexual mores, or a moment of history, and they are not sophisticated musicals, although they often include highly talented and sophisticated people. They are as easy to take as the ice-cream soda mentioned above. You don’t need to remember them. They’re not meant to stick to your ribs, any more than an ice-cream soda is.

They’re popular because ice-cream sodas never go out of style.

 
 
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