SUMMER HOLIDAY (director: Rouben Mamoulian; screenwriters: from a Eugene O’Neill play/Frances Goodrich/Albert Hackett/Irving Brecher/Jean Holloway; cinematographer: Charles Schoenbaum; editor: Albert Akst; music: Conrad Salinger; cast: Gloria De Haven (Muriel), Mickey Rooney (Richard Miller), Frank Morgan (Uncle Sid), Walter Huston (Nat Miller, publisher), Marilyn Maxwell (Belle), Butch Jenkins (Tommy Miller), Agnes Moorehead (Cousin Lillie), Selena Royale (Mrs. Essie Miller); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Arthur Freed; MGM; 1948)
“A pleasant turn of the century musical remake of the hit 1935 MGM comedy-drama Ah, Wilderness!“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A pleasant turn of the century musical remake of the hit 1935 MGM comedy-drama Ah, Wilderness! It’s stylishly directed by Rouben Mamoulian(“City Streets”/”Love Me Tonight”/”Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”), as adapted from the play by Eugene O’Neill that opened on Broadway in 1933. The team of screenwriters include Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Irving Brecher, and Jean Holloway. It deals with the life of a middle-class family in the New England small-town of Danville, Connecticut. The gist of the story is about the cautious puppy-love romance between Richard Miller (Mickey Rooney), the caring newspaper publisher’s son (Walter Huston), and the sweet girl living across the street, Muriel (Gloria De Haven).
The music sings to you, and remains true to the original. The costumes with the faded looks are just fabulous. The atmosphere seems to capture the spirit of the small-town. The pacing is crisp. The Technicolor, mostly of tints of yellow, beige and green, makes it visually attractive as something Americana. The actors are all appealing. Frank Morgan’s character, Uncle Sid, superbly blends together pathos and comedy. While Butch Jenkins keeps things real as the spry little family brat.
Though the film was completed in 1946, it wasn’t released until 1948. The studio felt the earlier time wasn’t the right time to release it for a good box office. Nevertheless when released later the film was mostly panned by the critics and bombed at the box office. Today most consider it a minor classic.
REVIEWED ON 10/18/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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