What A Character! The cast of ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS (1948)

I’m not really one for musicals. I don’t universally enjoy them all. But when I like them, I really like them, and they are among my favorite films of all-time. For instance, 42nd Street, Dames, Swing Time, Singin’ in the Rain, and Romance on the High Seas (1948).

To sum up the plot (bear with me): Married couple Michael and Elvira Kent (Don DeFore and Janis Paige) each constantly suspect the other of infidelity. Michael though is too wrapped up in his work to go on the vacations Elvira plans for their anniversaries, and every year he cancels and they stay home. In the course of booking these trips, she meets Georgia Garrett (Doris Day) at the travel agency. Georgia never goes anywhere either; she’s broke and only goes to the agency to window-shop. When the Kents’ third anniversary rolls around, Elvira has reason to suspect that Michael’s inevitable postponement of this trip, a cruise to Rio, is because of his new blonde secretary.

While she’s still fuming with jealousy, the travel agency mistakenly delivers Georgia’s passport photo to Elvira, and that gives the latter an idea: In these pre-Internet, pre-TSA days, Elvira will send Georgia on the cruise in her place, so that Elvira can stay home and keep an eye on her husband without him knowing she’s still in town. Her insistence on going on the cruise by herself heightens Michael’s suspicion, and he in turn hires private detective Peter Virgil (Jack Carson) to go on the cruise and keep an eye on Elvira. Only with the help of her Uncle Lazlo (S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall) does Elvira successully sneak Georgia onto the ship. Once the ship sails, many complications ensue.

It’s a plot of Shakespearean complexity — with songs! *

Continue reading “What A Character! The cast of ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS (1948)”

TCM Week: March 19-25

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

Monday, March 19
8:00 p.m. This Sporting Life (1963)
10:00 p.m. Billy Liar (1963)
***TCM PARTY***  Guest hosted by @mercurie80
TCM continues the month-long British New Wave celebration tonight with our TCM Party selections This Sporting Life and Billy Liar, followed by Tom Jones (1963), Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) and Only Two Can Play (1962). Billy Liar is another of Morrissey’s favorites that I’ve never seen. He used lines from it in Smiths’ songs “The Queen Is Dead” and “Vicar in a Tutu” and adapted another line for the album title Strangeways, Here We Come, among many borrowings. I’m recording all of these but the one I’ll probably watch right away is Tom Jones. I first saw it when I was in high school and over the years, I’ve come to realize that it pretty much defines the term “lighthearted romp.” Also, based on my AP English grade, it’s a pretty darn faithful adaptation of the novel.

Tuesday, March 20
6:15 p.m. The Moon and Sixpence (1942)
George Sanders Alert
Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent in this film, which was “loosely inspired by the life of” painter Paul Gauguin. George Sanders plays a middle-class Brit who dumps his family and runs off to Paris to paint. He’s so callous and coldhearted that even I had trouble liking him…until he is redeemed by the love of a good Tahitian woman. Sanders at his worst, and for him that means best. If you don’t have cable, fear not…some nice person put the whole thing on YouTube.

Aline MacMahon, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, and Ruby Keeler of Gold Diggers in 1933.

8:00 p.m. Gold Diggers of 1933
***TCM PARTY***  Guest hosted by @strbuk
Sassy Joan Blondell leads a trio of showgirls trying to become stars. They won’t turn down any marriage proposals from rich guys either. Did I mention it’s pre-code? It’s not all fun and games though—this film has a surprisingly dark undertone epitomized by the number “Remember My Forgotten Man.”

3:00 a.m. (Weds.) The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932)
I’m only vaguely aware of what this film could be about, but it stars Barbara Stanwyck and is directed by Frank Capra, and that’s good enough for me.

"On California's magnificent Big Sur shoreline, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are the artist and minister who must meet in secret."

Wednesday, March 21
It’s Karl Malden Day but I confess I’m not too interested in the Westerns of his they’ve got scheduled for tonight. I still miss Elizabeth Taylor and evidently someone at TCM does too; they’ve got seven of her movies in chronological order, beginning at 6:15 a.m. with Cynthia (1947) and continuing with Conspirator (1949), Love Is Better Than Ever (1952), Rhapsody (1954), Butterfield 8 (1960), The Sandpiper (1965) and The Comedians (1967). In Sandpiper and Comedians she stars with Richard Burton so I’ll be recording those. Tonight is also Casablanca Night, aka the biggest TCM Party in the world, brought to you by the channel and Fathom Events 🙂

Thursday, March 22
TCM has Radioactive Calamities and a couple of monster movies until 8 p.m. when they take a look at the films of Rosalind Russell’s later career.

Friday, March 23
8:00 p.m. Wuthering Heights (1939)
***TCM PARTY*** Guest hosted by @kimmiechem
Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Cathy in what many argue is the definitive version of Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel about a a poor boy brought up in a wealthy family and the foster sister with whom he falls hopelessly, passionately, violently in love. Followed by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1944) at 10 p.m. and the Brontë family biopic Devotion (1946) with Ida Lupino as Emily, Olivia de Havilland as Charlotte, and Arthur Kennedy as Branwell, along with Sydney Greenstreet as another of my favorite writers, William Makepeace Thackeray, at 12:00 a.m. (Sat.).

Saturday, March 24
8:00 p.m. The Goodbye Girl (1977)
***TCM PARTY***
Can you picture Robert de Niro in the role played by Richard Dreyfuss in this? I can’t really, but it almost happened. Sort of, it’s complicated.

Sunday, March 25
6:00 a.m. That Certain Woman (1937)
Bette Davis plays a mother who sacrifices all so that her son can have a better life in this remake of a 1929 picture starring Gloria Swanson, The Trespasser. Davis requested Henry Fonda as her leading man.

Noon Key Largo (1948)
One of my essential film noirs, in which a gangster (Edward G. Robinson) holds a bunch of people, including a war veteran (Humphrey Bogart), and a hotel owner (Lionel Barrymore) and his daughter (Lauren Bacall), hostage during a storm.

Midnight La Roue (1922)
“In this silent film, a railway worker and his son fall in love with the same beautiful woman.” French, directed by Abel Gance.