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

Thursday, June 6, 2013


The forgettable "Hillbilly Heart"
THE GIRL RUSH (1955). Director: Robert Pirosh.

Kim Halliday (Rosalind Russell) works at the Providence Historical Society wherein she learns that she co-owns a Las Vegas hotel with an old friend of her father's, Ferguson (James Gleason). Unfortunately, she mistakes the glamorous Flamingo casino, owned by Victor Monte (Fernando Lamas), for the dilapidated, closed place next door that she actually owns. Then she learns that Ferguson gambled the place away to Monte, who will claim it unless they come up with the money Ferguson owes him. A possible savior comes along in the form of hotel man Elliott Atterbury (Eddie Albert), whose father is looking for a property in Vegas. Kim balances both men romantically while her Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) tries to jitterbug or something with Ferguson. Well ... The Girl Rush is one of those silly old musicals with mostly lousy music and a lead actress whose singing voice sounds like an out-of-tune foghorn; her dancing is slightly better but she can't compare to the chorus boys, who include Don Crichton. Albert and Lamas can sing in tune, however, and both are in fine fettle, especially the latter, whose amiable personality helps the movie no end. When she's not butchering a song, Russell is swell, but hardly anyone could save this third-rate material, which goes for the songs by Martin and Blane, although "Out of Doors" and "Alone" at least have respectable melodies. The film's nadir is the terrible production number "Hillbilly Heart," which even the chorus boys can't save. Gloria DeHaven and Robert Fortier are perky and talented as a dancing brother and sister act. Marion Lorne's "Aunt Clara" is exactly like the Aunt Clara she played years later on Bewitched [without the magic] so one might imagine that her performance in this movie won her that role. Pirosh also directed Valley of the Kings.

Verdict: Makes So This is Paris seem like West Side Story. **.

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