Archive for the ‘Joan Davis’ Category

The Groom Wore Spurs

22 Mar

The Groom Wore Spurs —  directed by Richard Whorf. Low Comedy. A cowboy singing star who cannot sing, act, rope, and is afraid of horses gets in dutch with gamblers. 84 minutes Black and White 1951

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Two expert light comedians work a script that is more hole-shot than a balsa tree in a termite colony. You might call it a Thirties musical without the dancing and without the songs. Jack Carson plays a bogus cowboy super-star, and he is plump and droll and haughty. Were there a script to stand on, he would be very funny. Ginger Rogers plays the wife he marries on the fly. Looking at her, in her early forties here, she is a performer in full possession of her powers, a master chef with no ingredient but peanut butter. It is sad to realize how there was no lasting place for her in film. It may have been because she was not willing to play mothers. Or at any rate not willing to play anything other than romantic leads. Or not willing to work in genres opening up in serious drama . Or…. Oh, it is foolish to speculate! She is so likable, such a master of film acting — responsive, ready, expressive. Of course, one wonders what she really was beyond being a film star who loved hard work. On screen, somewhat acerbic, yes, as were many of the female stars of the day, quick witted, good looking, with a splendid figure that looked well in clothes. She wouldn’t be convincing in costume pieces, of course, and she perhaps would not have been able to give herself fully to a part such as Stanwyck’s in Double Indemnity, so, although she performed a couple, those heavy women’s roles would have passed her by. Oh, it is foolish to speculate!  I like her a lot. I like her moves and her vocal placement and her face and her way with her lines. I only wish she had been able to go on making movies. But some actors never allow themselves to grow old. Old. I once saw her in Santa Fe at a Festival honoring her. — this was not long before she died. They played Lady In The Dark, one of her Grand Roles, a bore. But still, I was thrilled awaiting her appearance on the stage of the Lensic.  She came out dressed like a Palm Beach cabana — in a massive, baby-blue gown, ornate and wonder-frill and awful — and spoke righteously about the hard work of the old days, as though young folks now did not know what hard work was. Maybe it was true of her by then, as was said when she did Hello, Dolly! on Broadway, that off-stage she was just no fun. But on screen she was a saucy all-American delight. Ah yes, it is foolish to speculate, is it not?


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