Friday, August 9, 2013

It's a great job to be a gob...

All right, kids. Last installment in the series, you ready?

Hit the Deck (1955)

This is one of my favorites. I know, I know. I say that about practically every movie I talk about on here. But if it isn't one of my favorites, then why bother? I bought this one because a boxed set that included Kismet (1955) was on sale and I'd wanted that movie for years so I snatched it up. The boxed set also included this one. I had heard about the movie only once from watching That's Entertainment! where they showed the finale. I remember watching it and thinking, "Ann Miller? Debbie Reynolds? Jane Powell? Together? What? I've got to see that!" and then I pretty much forgot about it. I bought the boxed set and watched Kismet for about a week before finally looking at the other movies I had acquired. I was, at the time, in a bit of a Vic Damone phase (I'm always in a Vic Damone phase) so when I saw his name on the cover, I was sold. I fell in love. I watched the movie and then, at ten o'clock at night, called my mom and asked if she was up for a movie, and then I went over to her house and watched it all over again. It's so cute!

The plot focuses on three sailors on leave in San Francisco. When one of the sailors, Danny (Russ Tamblyn) finds out that his sister, Susan (Jane Powell), is going out on a date, he and his pals, Bill and Rico (Tony Martin and Vic Damone, respectively) crash the party and fight with the date. After Susan's boyfriend (Gene Raymond) reports the three sailors, the pals spend their leave hiding from the Shore Patrol. But don't worry, they set some time aside for falling in love too. Bill has his fiancee, Ginger (Ann Miller) that he has to woo, Danny finds a cute actress, Carol, (Debbie Reynolds), and Rico falls for Susan! It's all fun and games until someone gets caught and then it's up to the three girls to save their men!

I'm going to warn you right now: most of the guys in this movie are pretty ridiculous. I mean, they're not the sharpest tools in the shed. They jump to conclusions and all of them are a little old-fashioned. Fortunately, they're all pretty good-looking, so that helps. What really saves the plot from being frustrating is that the girls are all totally awesome! They're clever, they're spunky, and they're all sorts of fun. The scene where Rico's Italian mother talks to the Shore Patrol is hilarious! But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The movie is basically about an over-protective brother who makes a hasty and ill-planned decision and his sister has to help him get out of the ensuing mess. Fun times!

The songs in this one are a little mismatched. They're all by Vincent Youmans but I think the lyricists are all different. The songs wind up having little to do with the actual plot, but they're fun songs anyway. And, to be honest, I'll forgive any song that Vic Damone sings because I just melt at the sound of his voice. Anyway, moving on... this movie is not the most famous or popular of '50's musicals but it's a lot of fun. I highly recommend checking it out if you have the chance! In terms of trivia, I've got nothin'. On IMDb, I read that Ann Miller's character is named Ginger after Ginger Rogers because the movie is based on Follow the Fleet. If that's the case, it's a very, very, very, very loosely based plot. There are sailors in it. Okay, so there are a couple of similarities, but very few. Anyway, I've tried to learn more about the making of this movie but it's really hard to find stuff on it. I've read Vic Damone's autobiography and I've looked at Debbie Reynolds' and it seems as though Damone was pretty much wrapped up with Pier Angeli at the time and Reynolds was busy falling in love with Eddie Fisher. So, neither had a whole lot to say about it. If you know anything, please let me know! I'd love to know more about this movie!

And that concludes the series! Did you like it? Would you like to see more of these types of posts? What was your favorite of the movies I discussed?

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Good thing I didn't join the Air Force.

"I feel like I'm not out of bed yet..."

Any guess as to today's movie choice? Hint: we're continuing the series of sailor musicals.

Well, if you guessed On the Town (1949), then you guessed right!

It's another Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra musical! This time with Jules Munshin!

This movie tells the story of three sailors on leave in New York City for a single day: they want to see the sights, take out the girls, and have the best day of their lives. But will they? When Gabey (Kelly) falls in love with the subway's Miss Turnstiles, Ivy Smith (Vera Ellen), for the month of June, he and his two pals comb the town looking for her. Along the way, they meet a lovely taxi-driver (Betty Garrett) and a romantically-inclined researcher (Ann Miller). It's fun all over town as the three sailors and their girls look for Ivy Smith, find her, and then lose her again.

The movie was based on the play by the same name by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, who then adapted the script for the screen. Many songs were taken out and only a few from the original score remain. The beginning sequence where the three guys explore the town was all shot on location (you can see the crowds watching them at Rockefeller Center). It was the first musical to be shot on location. In the song, they look at the city from a skyscraper and Jules Munshin, who was afraid of heights, kept his hands firmly on his costars and the props around him. Another fun fact about this movie is not actually about this movie per se. In the 1953 musical Small Town Girl with Jane Powell and Farley Granger, a scene from this movie was recycled for the film to show the young couple enjoying the city nightlife. The movie's hard to find but if you find it, and you watch closely when they go to the nightclubs, you can see the cross-fade attempt to obscure Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Ann Miller, and Betty Garrett from view. This is a little fact that I discovered all on my own! My jaw dropped a bit when I stumbled upon it.

I love this movie so much! It's so funny, the songs are great, and the clothes are wonderful. I've been dying to get a version of Ann Miller's dress in "Prehistoric Man" for years! I hope you're having a good time so far with this series. We're just about done with it but I've got one more movie I'd like to share with you before I wrap it up. So stay tuned!

All the pictures in this post are from Doctor Macro. Feel free to check out my Facebook page to find more pictures, quotes, and film clips!