Directed by Michael Curtiz
Cornerhouse, 17 December 2011
All musicals are strange, silly beasts.
Here’s another case in point, a glitzy, glamorous film whose main message is that senior soldiers are undervalued and tardily treated when they return to civilian life.
There are plenty of pluses: Berlin’s songs and Crosby’s singing (Clooney’s too), Kaye’s humour and goofy horseplay, Vera-Ellen’s high-kicking dance moves. And there are an awful lot of beautiful women, possessing twice as many beautiful legs. Do the math, it adds up.
The glamour is often overpowering, but the absurdity is never entirely absent either. Just why is there such a large stage in a small hotel in Vermont? Indeed, how come there are often more people on stage than sat at the tables watching the show? It has a fragile, precious plausibility but the set-pieces are spectacular. There’s absolutely no denying that.
We do under-appreciate and undervalue older people even now, mind. The film’s right on that score.
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