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Archive for the ‘FILMED BY: Ernest Palmer’ Category

Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe

02 Dec

Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe – directed by George Seaton. Musical. The female star of a celebrated New York nightclub falls in love with a man she is trying to con. 104 minutes Color 1945.

★★★★★

Pinup Girl was Fox’s top grossing film for the year. Betty Grable retired to have a baby. Then returned, high spirited as before and even slimmer.

William Gaxton is her co-star on stage, and his grown son, Dick Haymes is her co-star off. Gaxton , a seasoned vaudevillian, refuses to allow his son to enter show business, and Gaxton’s girlfriend Beatrice Kay is jealous of the father’s attention to his ambitious son. So she contrives to bribe Betty Grable with the lure of a mink coat if she can distract the son, whom Betty doesn’t like at all, from the father’s watchful eye, and keep the son on his path as a doctor of medicine.

It sounds like a bit of a stretch doesn’t it? Well, it is, for Dick Haymes had, of all the singers of his era, the most beautiful singing voice. He could have succeeded in show business without really trying. His singing makes your heart stand still; he’s a good actor; his face is interesting to watch. And we only go along with the plot against him because we are told to.

What works, as usual, is the abundance of comic dance and song numbers – which Hermes Pan staged and choreographed. And there is one in particular with Beatrice Kay and Betty Grable competing – modern songs against old-fashioned songs ­ that made me laugh myself silly. It is Beatrice Kay who does it: she is a high-priestess of camp. So if you ever wondered what camp really is, take a look at her in that number.

All this takes place in the crude backstage of the glamorous Diamond Horseshoe in New York, which we see very little of. The bristling Phil Silvers is around, as a stage manager, of course. The noble Margaret Dumont has a cameo, as does the suave pianist Carmen Cavallaro. In short, the whole affair is a pleasure feast, and, with the country at war, a war relief.

I saw this when it came out. I went to every Betty Grable musical when it came out. Everyone did. She was dessert served once a year, and if you don’t know what war-time rationing was, that’s all right. We were on less food, less gas, less clothing. We had rationing booklets. I still have mine.

And if you don’t know what it was to need wartime morale-boosting, well, good, but Betty Grable was the lady to do it. Why don’t you catch her act and see why?

 

 
 
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