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

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Don Ameche and Dorothy Lamour
SLIGHTLY FRENCH (1949). Director: Douglas Sirk.

"Goodbye, John. It's been weird knowing you." -- Mary.

French star Yvonne La Tour (Adele Jergens) proves difficult to handle and there seems to be no way to salvage her film after she's been dismissed, a major problem for borderline has-been director John Gayle (Don Ameche) and his boss Douglas Hyde (Willard Parker of What a Woman). But along comes carnival performer Mary (Dorothy Lamour), who can do a fairly convincing French accent. Mary moves in with John and his sister, Louisa (Janis Carter) and is given lessons in being French by Nicolette (Jeanne Manet). Will she be able to pull it off and star in the movie, saving the careers of John and Douglas, and which man will she ultimately fall for? Slightly French is a trifle with decent performances, but it's ironic that Adele Jergens -- as one fan put it, she was the eternal starlet -- is so much prettier and sexier than Lamour, and does her few scenes with that certain scintillating oomph. Jergens [The Fuller Brush Man] was never really given a chance at genuine stardom. The other cast stand-out is Janis Carter [I Love Trouble], who is very snappy and attractive as Louisa. At one point she says, "the only way I'd be happily married is if I were a widow." I believe the song "Let's Fall in Love" was introduced in this picture. This seems an unusual assignment for Douglas Sirk.

Verdict: Pleasant enough. **1/2.

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