Archive for the ‘Eddie Albert’ Category

Meet Me After The Show

01 Dec

Meet Me After The Show – directed by Richard Sale. Musical 87 minutes Color 1951. ★★★★.

The Story: A Broadway star gets amnesia when she get fed up with her husband’s controlling behavior.

What made Betty Grable the biggest star of them all?

She could two difficult things well which no other musical star could do: she could both sing and dance. Neither Judy Garland nor Rita Hayworth nor Doris Day nor Cyd Charisse could do both. They could all act, and each could do one other thing well, but could not do two things well. Betty Grable could.

She is also a true soubrette (in leading lady disguise) – meaning that she is a master at low comedy shenanigans and comic byplay, particularly in dance. She was always dolled up and presented as The Great Beauty, but most of her musical numbers were comic specialty numbers, and at them she is superb. As instanced by her number with a polar bear or dancing with two sixty year-old twins or with Gwen Verdon as juvenile delinquents or dancing with the beefcake boys (of which Jane Russell’s “Is Anyone Here For Love” from Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” is a reprieve. Russell leads with her pelvis; Grable with her eyes and ready wit). Her timing is impeccable and she understands and gives her own human folly to everything she danced. Her choreographer Jack Cole understood her well.

But the main thing about Betty Grable is that she is the most inherently optimistic human in the world, and anything that happens to contradict that hurts her in a way that hurts us.

This is a woman who is completely trusting. And you love her for it. Watch how she plays right out to the audience. No other musical star did that. Grable is playing to a “theatre” audience, but the effect is darling for the camera. She gives herself so innocently.

She is never hard or troubled. There is no neurotic edge to her. But she can contend. She is not without ways and means. She is never a victim long. She has background and resources. She is hard-working, and she plays hard-working girls. It’s always her ace in the hole. You respect her for it.

The plot of this picture is unusual for a Fox Betty Grable musical, which usually had Betty as an up-and-coming star, involved with two men at the same time. Here she is established and married, The second half, where most musicals fail, actually picks up color and pace, as Betty reverts to her vulgar down-South saloon beginnings and where she smooches on the beach with the dripping Rory Calhoun.

Arthur Arling shot it. Fred Clark and Eddie Albert lend good support. Cary Grant was set to do it, but couldn’t. MacDonald Cary, a really competent actor, does not have the sense of fun required for musical comedy style. But Betty carries the film. But more! When she appeared in Hello, Dolly! later in her life, no star who appeared in that show ever received the ovation she received when she entered. Why was that? Why did people love her? She gave it all she had – yes – but she was so open.


I’ll Cry Tomorrow

29 Mar

I’ll Cry Tomorrow — directed by Daniel Mann. Drama. A young stage performer takes her first drink and all is lost. 117 minutes Black and White 1956.


As singer Lillian Roth, Susan Hayward flails about in the first half of this film and then comes alive in the second as a charming drunk. Hayward was one of those repulsive actors — Shelley Winters, Jack Palance were others – who are grating in everything they do, especially in parts in which they are called upon to be sympathetic or endearing. If you want to see what endearing really is, take a look at the Story Conference short in the Special Features which brings us Lillian Roth herself in 1933, a delightful beauty with good clear eyes a fine voice and a spirit you can fall right into. Hayward physically is stiff as an actress and gesticulates rampantly and meaninglessly as she sings, whereas Roth, when she sings may use the same bold gestures, but they suit her and are natural to her.  You can always see Susan Hayward reaching her marks on the soundstage floor. She is never motivated; she is always driven. She is perpetually locked for a fight. In fact, her energy is so pronounced it is masculine – despite the fact that she has a good figure and a pretty face. Both these are enhanced by Sydney Guilaroff, whose perfect hairstyles for her bring a great deal to the character – as they do for Jo Van Fleet, another repulsive actor, who plays Hayward’s stage mother. Of course, Jo Van Fleet is a very good actress, and just how much better than Hayward is determined perfectly in the great confrontation scene between them. Our belovèd Margo and Eddie Albert, Ray Danton, and Richard Conte support the actress, who improves as the drunk scenes loosen her up, invite her to be flexible and less actory, and even funny. Much head tossing goes on as she hits and rises from the skids, but there are other scenes – especially those in AA – which are simple and moving. Daniel Mann directed actresses toward Oscars – Shirley Booth, Anna Magnani, Elizabeth Taylor – and there are times here which justify Hayward nomination for it that year. Hayward would have taken as her cue to play unpleasant characters onscreen that permission given by Bette Davis who mastered the art and paved the way. There are times in this gritty performance which must bow to her powerful predecessor in thanks.


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