(director: Richard Whorf; screenwriters: Richard Connell/Karl Kamb/Gladys Lehman; cinematographer: Robert H. Planck; editor: Robert Kern; music: George E. Stoll; cast: George Brent (Captain Jeremy Bradford), Jane Powell (Polly Bradford), Lauritz Melchior (Olaf Eriksen), Frances Gifford (Laura Dene), Marina Koshetz (Zita Romanka), Richard Derr (Charles G. K. Worton), Xavier Cugat (Himself), Thomas E. Breen (Denis Mulvy), Connie Gilchrist (Bertha), The Pied Pipers (Themselves); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joe Pasternak; MGM; 1948)
“Fluff romantic musical.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Richard Whorf (“It Happened in Brooklyn“)directs this fluff romantic musical, set on a luxury liner, that’s written byRichard Connell, Karl Kamb and Gladys Lehman.The well-produced minor MGM musical is carried by the bubbly Jane Powell,whosings some of the film’s most lively numbers such as “Spring Came Back to Vienna,” “Alouette” and “The Peanut Vendor.” The opera singer Lauritz Melchior uses his tenor voice to sing some snippets from Aida, some Scandinavian drinking song and some of the “Winter Storms” from Die Walküre. Marina Koshetz sings a rendition of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” which was clearly the film’s best musical moment. The Pied Pipers liven things up with “Yes, We Have No Bananas.”Xavier Cugat is the ship’s bandleader, and does his usual Latino musical thing. The music is OK in a forgettable way but the romantic story, however, is strictly second class.
The pert 16-year-old Polly Bradford (Jane Powell) is a boarding school student, aspiring to be an opera singer, who is a stowaway on the luxury liner where her widowed father Jeremy Bradford (George Brent) is the captain. Polly was told by her dad that opera stars Olaf Eriksen (Lauritz Melchior, Danish opera star) and Zita Romanka (Marina Koshetz) will be traveling aboard his ship on its next voyage to Rio de Janiero, and she is anxious to meet Olaf and see what he thinks of her voice. When dad refuses her request, the feisty girl disobeys him and sneaks aboard.
Other passengers include the recent widow Laura Dene (Frances Gifford), who at the last moment called off the wedding to rich businessman Charles G. K. Worton (Richard Derr). To Laura’s surprise, Charles follows her as a passenger. Soon Polly hooks up with Laura and they become roommates, with Laura footing the bill not knowing the stowaway is the captain’s daughter. While Polly thinks Laura would be a good match for dad, Laura wrestles with whether or not she loves Charles. Meanwhile the young ship officer, Denis Mulvy (Thomas E. Breen), tries to court Polly. But she’s so interested in tracking down Olaf to hear her sing, that she frustrates Mulvy by not paying attention to him.
It’s so predictable and dull, but everything at least looked so good in lush Technicolor–especially the food.
REVIEWED ON 7/20/2011 GRADE: C