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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

LET'S DO IT AGAIN

LET'S DO IT AGAIN! (1953). Director: Alexander Hall.

Composer Gary Stuart (Ray Milland), who has been neglecting his wife, Connie (Jane Wyman), to go off and play drums in clubs, walks out on her when he thinks she's had an affair with a rival composer, Courtney Craig (Tom Helmore). Connie is then courted by a handsome theatrical backer named Frank (Aldo Ray), while Gary dallies with an uppercrust lady named Deborah (Karin Booth of The Unfinished Dance). It may be hard to recognize this as a musical remake of The Awful Truth, but the awful truth is that this isn't that bad a movie. What makes it most watchable is the excellent performance by Jane Wyman. The usually demure Wyman is turned into the "go girl" in this movie: she sparkles, she sasses, she sings, she dances with verve, she sintillates. She brilliantly interprets her song numbers even though she isn't really singing (Milland is also dubbed), and she does a Latin number near the end that scandalizes a whole roomful of snobbish party guests. What would Angela Channing say? Her sexy, dead-on delivery of "Slow Burn Over a Fast Man" in an earlier party scene is the movie's highlight. Milland is also quite good, as are Leon Ames as his brother and Mary Treen as Connie's housekeeper. Aldo Ray is charming and has a killer smile. Wyman is outfitted with one spectacular gown after another, and she and Gary have rather beautiful apartments. Valerie Bettis plays Gary's friend, Lilly, who has a provocative dance number of her own. Bettis was apparently a dancer who did only a couple of movies and some television work. Hall also directed the bizarre Once Upon a Time.

Verdict: Watch the "go girl" go! ***.

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