Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine(1951).

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine(1951). Musical directed by David Butler. Cast: Dennis Morgan and Virginia Mayo (Virginia Mayo's singing voice was dubbed by Bonnie Lou Williams). The movie was based on an earlier musical, Gold Diggers of 1933.

The Dillon Sisters, Carol, Abby and June, decide to leave Hollywood and head for the bright lights of Las Vegas, in their travel trailer looking for millionaires. Although, Abby is still in love with her gambler/singer boyfriend Vince Nichols.

The girls park their trailer behind the Golden Egg, which is owned by Felix Hoff, who has run into financial problems. Things start looking up for Felix, when eccentric prospector, Sam Parks, rides up on a donkey and says that he wants to become partners. It is not long before Sam let's the cat out of the bag, saying that he is the heir of Felix's former business partner, who was killed after he was caught cheating in a poker game. Sam, then says he wants Felix buy out his half of the Golden Egg.

Ted, has followed Abby to Las Vegas and promises Carol that he will bring three millionaires to their opening night performance. Abby, goes out with Ted, but does not believe it when he tells her that he is one of the millionaires.

The next morning, as Abby is drowning in flowers, Carol shares with Abby and June that Ted is from a wealthy family. Ted shows up with an engagement ring and Carol makes Abby accept his proposal.

During a board meeting at the Lansing National Bank of Boston, Ted's cousin, Bennington Lansing, reads a magazine article about Abby and then makes plans to go to Las Vegas to save Ted from who he thinks is a gold digger.

After learning that Bennington is on his way, Carol comes up with a plan to change Bennington's mind. Bennington arrives early and Carol mistakes him for the interior decorator and shares all her plans with him.

June, sees Bennington take Abby's signed photograph of Vince, to use as evidence against her. She then informs Bennington, that he can find Vince singing at the Bingo Club. Part of Bennington's plan, was to pretend that he has changed his mind about Abby, by throwing them a celebration party at the Golden Egg and to pay Vince to break them up.

Vince, changes his mind and can not go through with the plan, then decides to double-cross Bennington, by gambling away the money he gave him. Abby tries to stop him.

When June finds Ted winning at the slot machines, they decide to make the round of casinos together. Carol encourages Bennington to drink too much, hoping that he will approve of Abby and Ted's a marriage. He then offers to help her with her tax returns, so she takes him to the trailer to sleep it off, where Sam has arranged to take pictures of them together.

Vince, wins a lot of money at the casino but does not win over Abby's heart. Carol, who has returned in time to hear Abby rejection of Vince, but does not believe her and tells him that Abby, is still in love with him.

The next morning, Sam tries to blackmail the Bennington with the pictures of him and Carol, but Carol tears up the picture. Not to happy on how things are going, Sam, practices his knife throwing, while Felix worries for his safety. Vince, shows up and pays the money owed Sam to help his friend Felix. At the Las Vegas Helldorado festivities, June and Ted, become engaged and Ted hands Abby over to Vince. Felix, thanks Vince, for saving his life. Bennington, proposes to Carol, Sam joins with the rest of the group and they all climb into a buggy for the Helldorado parade.

I really enjoyed this very colorful film, "Painting the Clouds With Sunshine." The clothes were glamorous and musical numbers were wonderful .. I know, I know.. The girls-looking-for-millionaires' plot is old hat, but I still loved it.. I also loved Gene Nelson's number, where he is playing the trumpet while dancing.

Lucille Norman (June 15, 1921–April 1, 1998). She performed as a singer for movie soundtracks and in 1942 she had her first film role, an uncredited part in, Personalities. She only had three film roles through the 1940s, and another three in the 1950s. Her best known role was in 1952 opposite Randolph Scott in the film, Carson City.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Luxury Liner(1948).

Luxury Liner(1948). Romantic/musical/comedy, directed by Richard Whorf, and written by Richard Connell, Karl Kamb and Gladys Lehman. Cast: George Brent and
Jane Powell.

Captain of a luxury ocean liner Jeremy Bradford, spends his vacation with his sixteen-year-old daughter Polly, who attends Miss Fenmoor's boarding school for girls. Before Polly has to go back to school, Jeremy takes Polly to see opera stars, Olaf Erickson and soprano Zita Romanka. Because he knows Polly, has dreams of some day of becoming being a famous opera star. Polly, learns that that Olaf and Zita, will be performing aboard her fathers ship on their way to Rio de Janiero. Polly, begs her father to join the cruise, but Jeremy insists that she stay in school and returns to his ship without her.

One of the passengers Laura Dene, whose wedding was called off at the last minute. Laura's fiancee, Charles G. K. Worton, has a change of heart and secretly makes arrangements with Jeremy to sail on the ship.

It is not long before Denis Mulvy, a young officer, tells Jeremy that a stowaway has been found. When Jeremy learns that the stowaway is his own daughter Polly, he decides to teach her a lesson by having her work in the ship's kitchen. Polly, who's feelings are hurt changes her name to, "Polly Murphy."

Later, while dining with the captain, Olaf finds a note in his meal from Polly informing him that the potatoes were peeled by the captain's daughter. Which embarrasses Jeremy and when he walks into the galley to confront his daughter, he finds her dancing with the kitchen staff. Now, Polly finds herself scrubbing floors.

When Polly, meets Olaf she tells him that he is her "Sinatra." and when Polly meets Laura, she tells her that she is a stowaway and that she is being mistreated by the captain. Laura, goes to speak to the captain and demand that he improve her conditions. Jeremy does not let on that Polly is his daughter and Laura is surprised by his unwillingness to reconsider Polly's punishment. Although, Jeremy eventually does share the truth with Laura.

A romance quickly develops between Jeremy and Laura, even though Laura still does not know that Charles, is aboard ship. Charles tells Polly, that he is still in love with Laura. Polly, realizing that her father is also in love with Laura, is not sure what to do. Polly shares her problems with Olaf, who invites her to sing a duet with him in his next performance. Later, when Laura tells Polly that she does not love Charles, Polly, is relieved to hear the news.

Jane Powell, gives a wonderful performance and the beautiful Frances Gifford, makes a wonderful leading lady. I would have loved to see her in more films. The music keeps the unbelievable plot moving along.

Mary Frances Gifford (December 7, 1920 – January 22, 1994). With a friend, she visited the studios of Samuel Goldwyn to watch a film being made and while there was spotted by a talent scout who brought her to the attention of Goldwyn, who signed her for an acting contract. After only receiving minor roles, she moved to RKO where she was cast in film, Stage Door(1937).

In 1939 landed her first leading role in the film, Mercy Plane. She played another uncredited role in, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). She played several more minor roles before she performed in, Jungle Girl(1941). She left RKO for Paramount Pictures where she performed in, The Glass Key (1942). In 1943 she made another jungle movie, Tarzan Triumphs.

At MGM she performed in leading roles in films, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), She Went to the Races (1945) and The Arnelo Affair (1947). She also performed in supporting roles, Thrill of a Romance(1945) and Luxury Liner (1948).

In 1948 Gifford was almost killed in a car accident, receiving severe head injuries which she never recovered from. She attempted a comeback in the films, Sky Commando (1953) and Riding High (1950).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fashions of 1934(1934).

Fashions of 1934(1934). Pre-Code/musical/comedy directed by William Dieterle with musical numbers created and directed by Busby Berkeley. Based on the story The Fashion Plate by Harry Collins and Warren Duff. Cast: William Powell and Bette Davis.

Sherwood Nash's, New York investment business hits hard times until he meets dress designer Lynn Mason. They quickly come up with a plan to earn a living making knock offs of beautiful Paris designs.

They learn by accident that Oscar Baroque, gets his ideas from old costume designs. Lynn, picks up on the idea and she and Sherwood sells her designs to their New York customers.

Sherwood, comes up with a new scam and becomes partners with Joe Ward, an ostrich feather salesman after he recognizes the Grand Duchess Alix, his old friend, Mabel. Threatening to expose who she really is, Sherwood suggests that she convince Baroque, to back and design the costumes of the musical in which she is performing. Wanting to please the Grand Duchess, Baroque buys Ward's entire supply of ostrich feathers. Lynn, who has grown very tired of his scams, thinks about leaving him for the piano player.

Sherwood opens a new fashion house called, Maison Elegance and Lynn's designs are very popular, until Baroque finds out about their scam. The police give him one afternoon to straighten everything out. Will he be successful or ruin everyones lives?

William Powell, is one of those witty con artiest that you can not help fall in love and root for. You will not be able to take your eyes off the very talented Bette Davis and her glamorous blonde hair. If you enjoy fashions from the 30s. This film is for you.

One of the main reasons why I wanted to watch this film, was for the production number created by Busby Berkeley. Meant to showcase 'Spin A Little Web Of Dreams' with Busby's trademark identical blonde showgirls performing complicated dance numbers.

Verree Teasdale (March 15, 1903 – February 17, 1987). Trained as a stage actress at the New York School of Expression. She first appeared on Broadway in 1924 and performed there regularly until 1932. After co-starring in Somerset Maugham's play The Constant Wife with Ethel Barrymore in 1926-27, she was offered a film contract, and her first film, Syncopation(1929). Teasdale appeared older than her physical age, which enabled her to play bored society wives, scheming other women and second leads in comedies such as, Roman Scandals (1933).

In 1935 she married actor Adolphe Menjou, and they remained together until his death in 1963. Teasdale and Menjou  performed together in two films,  The Milky Way(1936) and Turnabout (1940), and were also co-hosts of a syndicated radio program in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Teasdale retired after the radio program finished its run, keeping busy with her hobby of costume design.