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Archive for the ‘Danny Thomas’ Category

Call Me Mister

10 Nov

Call Me Mister – directed by Lloyd Bacon. Musical Comedy. GIs on their way home from war are entertained by a dueling husband and wife. 96 minuets. Color 1951.

★★★★★

Laughter is a door and a room. The door is the joke. The room is laughter itself, a room which one remains in hardly remembering the door at all. For once one is in the room of laughter, the door of the joke is at one’s back. We’re laughing because we’re laughing. We can’t even remember what we’re laughing about.

Betty Grable is like that. One does not estimate the talent she had, if one is to enjoy the skill. What one does do is get oneself lost in the brightly colored room which she is. Good nature exudes from her, and it is real. Set in the most vulgar and phony and energetic of all musical comedy settings – the Fox Musicals – she is down to earth, truthful, human. As an actress she is vulnerable to influence, high responsive, humorous, feisty, has a reasonably good opinion of herself, and is confident of her gifts, such as they are. She one of the two greatest actresses of musical comedy, the other being Judy Garland. But Garland made very few movies playing a grown woman, whereas Grable went on right up to her forties.

She started in film in 1929, when she was thirteen, tricked up in a G-string and hoofing it in the chorus. You can see her as a teenager dance “Knock-Knees” with Edward Everett Horton in Rogers and Astaire’s The Gay Divorcé (RKO 1934), and she is cute as a bug’s ear. She made many minor musicals, even one with Judy Garland, but was still in her early twenties when musical comedy star, Alice Faye left Fox and Grable took her place. Grable had a huge acting and dancing experience behind her by the time this happened. When you see her, mark her speed. Watch her move through the paces of “I’m Going To Love That Man Like He’s Never Been Loved Before,” a big hit from that era. Look how ready and eager she is! It’s refreshing. And authentic.

Like Marilyn Monroe who patterned herself somewhat on Betty Grable, Grable had a complexion for color film. She photographed idealistically. And you sure can see it here, where elaborate hairdos do not distract you from it.

She made a number of films with Dan Daily, and he was her only true co-star because true equal. Unlike the other moustaches, he could really dance. And you can see how well both of them do this as they contrive to put on a show for returning servicemen from Japan.

The story is the usual Betty Grable story of a woman whose man is two-timing her – except that she’s got a bigger career than him –– so there!

Except she’s not that hard-boiled. Naw. She lands her man. Our Betty deserves a love.

Why?

Because she is a love.

 
 
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