(director: Mervyn Leroy; screenwriters: George Wells/Harry Ruby/Andrew Solt/from play Roberta by Dorothy Fields and Otto A. Harbach, based on novel Roberta by Alice Duer Miller; cinematographer: George J. Folsey; editor: John McSweeney, Jr.; music: Jerome Kern, Jimmy McHugh; cast: Red Skelton (Al Marsh), Kathryn Grayson (Stephanie), Howard Keel (Tony Naylor), Marge Champion (Clarisse), Gower Champion (Jerry Ralby), Ann Miller (Bubbles Cassidy), Zsa Zsa Gabor (Zsa Zsa), Kurt Kasznar (Max Fogelsby); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jack Cummings; MGM; 1952)

A big-budget lush Technicolor remake of the 1933 Broadway musical Roberta.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A classic musical from the 1950s. It’s directed by Mervyn Leroy (“Mary Mary”/”Gypsy”) as a big-budget lush Technicolor remake of the 1933 Broadway musical Roberta that was previously filmed in 1935 and directed by William A. Seiter. This film appears to be almost entirely different from that film.

The narrative, written by George Wells, Harry Ruby and Andrew Solt, is light and not much of a story but it’s filled with 10 lovely songs such as those written by the celebrated Jerome Kern (lyrics by Otto Harbach and additional revised lyrics by Dorothy Fields), particularly the show-stopping ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ (with Kathryn Grayson). Also worthy of kudos is ‘I Won’t Dance’ and ‘Lovely to Look At’. Two of Kern’s songs won Oscars “The Way You Look Tonight” and “The Last Time I Saw Paris.”Vincente Minnelli directed the fifteen minute long musical fashion show finale. When a struggling Broadway producer Red Skelton inherits a bankrupt Parisian dress salon from his aunt, one of the three owners, he convinces the two creditors to back a fashion show on Broadway that he will produce with his old Broadway pals Howard Keel and Gower Champion. Meanwhile a case of betrayal by the men partners has to be overcome, as well as dealing with couple of romances that develop. Keel falls for Kathryn Grayson and Red falls for Marge Champion but has a crush on Grayson. Eventually Red settles for Ann Miller.Adrian, MGM’s top designer, had created more than 40 costumes, at a cost of $100,000.