Monday, August 31, 2015

Nugget Reviews - 19

If You Knew Susie ( 1948 ) 14k

A show business family retires from the stage in the hopes of opening a restaurant in a small village in New England but find themselves snubbed by the locales for their lack of an illustrious forefather. When they find that a letter from George Washington expressing his debt to their ancestor, the town accepts them - and the billions of dollars that the US government supposedly owes them! Eddie Cantor, Joan Davis, Allyn Joslyn, Bobby Driscoll. RKO Pictures. Directed by Gordon Douglas.

Eddie Cantor rolls his eyes and friskily skips about in this delightful outing with comedienne Joan Davis, riddled with some fine one-liners and plenty of vaudevillian humor. They were such a great team in Show Business it's no wonder they were reunited for another picture. Keep your eyes out for Bobby Driscoll and Margaret Kerry ( as their children ). These two talented youngsters later worked together in Walt Disney's Peter Pan with Driscoll voicing and modelling for Peter and Margaret modelling for Tinkerbell. 

Artists and Models ( 1955 ) Elct. 

An artist and his roommate try to break into the booming comic book industry after meeting a famous comic illustrator and her creation - "Bat Lady".  Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Dorothy Malone, Shirley MacLaine. Paramount Pictures. Directed by Frank Tashlin. 

The Martin and Lewis films rarely featured memorable plots ( or the scripts to enhance them ) but this one seemed particularly lacking in least for the first hour. Its splendid Technicolor, the peek into the comic industry of the 1950s, and Dino's songs redeem it somewhat, but on the whole it is an embarrassing entry in the comedic duos string of films with about twenty minutes of plot stretched to two hours. Kathleen Freeman, who had small parts in twelve different Jerry Lewis movies, plays a sour landlady. 

Stowaway ( 1936 ) 14k

When invading armies attack a Chinese village, the young ward of a missionary family gets sent to Shanghai to safety. En route she meets an American playboy who takes to her fondly and becomes a stowaway on his ship. Shirley Temple, Robert Young, Alice Faye, Eugene Palette, Helen Westley. 20th Century Fox. Directed by William A. Seiter. 

Stowaway is not considered one of Shirley's most famous films, but - when compared to her classics Heidi and The Little Princess - I find it much more entertaining, especially since it is set in an exotic location - the Orient. Only the ending of the picture disappoints. Shirley Temple plays her usual oochie-coochie self in this Asian outing, save for a few Chinese proverbs tossed into her repertoire, while Alice Faye is lovely as ever, singing a great song - "Goodnight, Sweetheart". Robert Young was such a clean-cut young man during the 1930s, it is very difficult to believe him to be a wild playboy - especially since his parts with Shirley are so wonderful - however, Young did have problems with alcohol later in life, so perhaps he did enjoy an extra slug or two in his youth. 


Father Goose ( 1964 ) 18k

An alcoholic island hopper gets blackmailed into accepting a job as a Navy coast watcher. He then - unwillingly - rescues a diplomat's daughter and the seven schoolgirls she is escorting. In spite of their hatred for each other, they try to work together until a rescue plane could come to their aid. Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard. Universal Pictures. Directed by Ralph Nelson.

Cary Grant takes his ten fine toes and wiggles them in the sand with ease for his role of the boozy beach bum, Walter. Years later, Grant claimed that this part was the most natural for him to play. Cary Grant wanted Audrey Hepburn to play the part of the French diplomat's daughter but she was already committed to My Fair Lady, which ironically, Cary Grant had turned down the lead in ( Henry Higgins ) in favor of this role. Leslie Caron did a great job on her own. Beautiful location filming and a highly entertaining script make this an all-around winning comedy. 


On an Island with You ( 1948 )  14k 

A Hollywood star finds herself kidnapped by a navy officer and taken to a secluded island for the sole purpose of having one dance. Of course, she falls in love with him after that dance. Who can resist Peter Lawford in dress uniform? Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, Ricardo Montalban, Jimmy Durante, Cyd Charisse. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. Directed by Richard Thorpe.

After watching an Esther Williams film one can't help but have a lingering smile on the heart, it must be all that Technicolor, water, sand and rumba music. This outing to the "islands" ( filmed at Cypress Gardens, Florida ), has some particularly good hip-swinging music and a great overall look but lacks an engaging script. Even with all the right elements and a great cast, if it ain't got that zing, it ain't got that zing! It's a good Saturday night picture nevertheless. 


  1. 1. Only Peter Lawford could get away with being a deranged stalker who gets what he wants, and the audience is ok with that. :) I love On An Island with You. Montalban and Charisse are lovely to watch in a dance number.

    2. I see what you meant on my blog about short form reviews. I might try this. Thanks again.

    1. Yes! A deranged stalker....if a remake of the film was made, I'm sure a new director would stress that aspect and turn it into a warped film. You don't have to try nugget reviews, but if you did, I know you can write them better than we do!

  2. I love Father Goose -- one of my favorite comedies!

    On an Island with You and If You Knew Susie look really cute! I'll keep an eye out for them.

    1. If You Knew Susie is a little hard to find. It was released on Warner Archives but still not too many TV stations air it. It's worth a gander though. Cantor and Joan Davis are a great team.