Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive Grab Bag: ANYTHING GOES, THE REFORMER AND THE REDHEAD ""

Monday, July 29, 2013


ANYTHING GOES(1956; Robert Lewis)
My mind can be a little annoying at times in that it can't help but think of movies in terms of other movies. Now I had never seen ANYTHING GOES prior to this, but of course I can't think of that song without thinking of the opening scene from INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. This movie features music and Lyrics by Cole Porter. Story and screenplay by Sidney Sheldon. It's interesting to hear a lot of these Cole Porter tunes in a film that preceded Bogdanovich's AT LONG LAST LOVE, especially because I just recently revisited that film on Blu-ray. So, as you might have guessed, the songs sound much better in this movie. I am certainly a proponent of both Bing Crosby and Donald O'Connor. Both very talented guys. Crosby is obviously more talented in the singing arena and O'Connor in the dancing(though he's a good singer too). I was hoping for a 'Road movie' of sorts, which this isn't really, but it's still quite refreshing - like a Mojito or something. Mitzi Gaynor is quite lovely, even if her voice reminds me alarmingly of Judy Jetson. And speaking of distracting voices, tell me it's not a little disorienting to actually hear Phil Harris voice coming from him instead of Thomas O'Malley or some other animated character.

THE REFORMER AND THE REDHEAD(1950; Norman Frank/Melvin Panama)
Any film that features a fistfight between June Allyson and Kathleen Freeman within the first 10 minutes has at least earned my attention for a little bit. I'll always remember Kathleen Freeman as the foul-mouth landlady that Dan Aykroyd has to question in DRAGNET, but it's been glorious to discover her older films, especially all the stuff she did with Jerry Lewis. June Allyson is an odd case for me. I don't really care for her as a general rule and was shocked to find out that I was not alone in my dislike. Apparently, there is a contingent of classic film fans who also have a June Allyson problem. As for me, I can't really explain what it is that bothers me about here. To even attempt to get at my issue I tried to delve deep back into my mind and recall my first encounter with her. It was in the Gary Coleman classic THE KID WITH THE BROKEN HALO. I can barely recall her character, but I believe she was kind of a crabby old lady in the movie. Of course, her experience with the adorable Coleman brings her around to being a happier person by the end, but there must have been something about that character that just struck me wrong when I was a kid. I really wish I could understand exactly what it is about her that rubs me the wrong way though. Especially in her older films wherein I can see that she is a charming presence... in theory. It doesn't help that her character in this film is a bit self-righteous, but at least her real-life husband, Dick Powell is in the film to help balance things out. It is especially amusing to see a scene with Dick Powell and a lion. That was fun for sure. If you're looking for a movie with funny scenes of Dick Powell reacting to llamas, lions, chimpanzees, mountain goats and other animals then this is the flick for you. On the whole, the film is quite pleasant, so I'd say it's worth seeing. It's certainly as tolerable as June Allyson has ever been for me. I credit the genuine chemistry between she and Dick Powell and all the cute animals. Plus an one-shot joke with Tor Johnson doesn't hurt either.

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Both look right up my alley. I love Phil Harris!