Last night’s viewing: eye-popping colour; leads who can neither sing nor dance but who nonetheless imbue the whole show with verve and charm;June Allyson at her prettiest; The film that made Mel Tormé — billed as The Velvet Fog of Radio and Recording Fame in the trailer — a teen idol; Big Band 40s doing Roaring Twenties in a college setting is its own particular delight and Chuck Walters brings joyous movement to the choreography AND to the mise-en-scene. Not the Freed Unit’s best but after the Varsity Drag Number and the film’s ending, I felt like applauding. Gorgeous Warners Archive print.
Here’ a clip of Mel Tormé singing ‘The Best Things in Live Are Free’ and giving them ideas during their French Lesson:
The Greta Gerwig Little Women needs to be great because the Cukor-Hepburn one is perfect. Plus having the additional bonus of being, along with King Kong and Mae West, the sociological phenomenon of 1933. It´s a pity it´s not more seen:
Watching the ´49 version of Little Women only made me appreciate the 1933 Cukor-Hepburn version more. The 1933 version roots it in the Civil War, privation, self-sacrifice, kindness, family, sisterhood, complicated interpersonal relationships, and with a kind of yankee fierceness that is completely lacking in the sop of the ´49,. To see June Allyson after Hepburn is merely to see lack, where Hepburn was romantic, tomboyish, determined, longing to be an artist and a free woman, Allyson simply lowers her voice and juts her jaw. And even with that she´s better than Peter Lawford. A starry cast almost entirely wasted, Mary Astor certainly is, though Elizabeth Taylor and Margaret O´Brian have their moments (if only a few). Comparing the two is like comparing the illustrated comic of the novel to the novel itself. Same plot, more gloss, more shine, less depth and way less charm. I´d forgotten how important the Christmas setting is to all versions