Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


DREAMBOAT (1952). Director: Claude Binyon.

Carol Sayre (Anne Francis) is horrified to learn that her distinguished educator father Thornton (Clifton Webb) was once the silent film "dreamboat" Bruce Blair. Thornton is equally horrified, as he fears the showing of his films on television (hosted by his old leading lady Gloria Marlowe, played with expert panache by Ginger Rogers) will undermine his efficacy as a teacher. Therefore Thornton sues to prevent any more of his films from being shown. While it's unlikely that college kids in the fifties would bother to watch silent movies on television, and Webb at sixty-four makes an unlikely romantic swashbuckler in the movie-within-a-movie "flash backs," this is still a very cute, amusing picture -- with a hilarious post script. Webb is as wonderful as ever and Anne Francis is very sweet as Carol. Elsa Lanchester is a riot as Thornton's boss, who has a crush on him, and Jeffrey Hunter is a TV associate who develops a crush on Francis --and vice versa. Rogers and Webb have a very funny bar scene being bitchy with each other.

Verdict: You can't beat Clifton Webb! ***.

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