Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Desert Song (1953)

Warner Bros, 1953
Starring Kathryn Grayson, Gordon MacRae, Dick Wesson, and Raymond Massey
Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone
Music by Sigmund Romberg; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and others

With operettas popular on early TV, several of them saw big-screen remakes in the 1950's. As MGM did with Show Boat, Warners upgraded the swashbuckling sand saga with Technicolor, a glossy production, and Kathryn Grayson. Does it come off better than the Show Boat remake did, or should it be thrown down a sand dune? Let's go back to the Sahara, where the Riffs are once again at war, and find out...

The Story: This time, El Khobar (MacRae) and the Riffs are waging war with the French military and another tribe lead by the wealthy and corrupt Sheikh Youssef (Massey). When Khobar isn't living among the people of the desert tribes, he's Paul Bonnard, a nerdy young anthropologist who shares an apartment with reporter Benji Kidd (Wesson). The daughter of General Birabeau (Ray Collins), Margot (Grayson), arrives from school in Paris. She immediately flirts with every man at the garrison, to the dismay of her father and the handsome Captain Fontaine (Steve Cochran). Her father hires Paul to teach her history and keep her busy. He not only keeps her busy, he tells her about the Riffs and their poor treatment at the hands of Youssef. Youssef is an ally of the French...but he has his own plans for the garrison. El Khobar is determined to expose him and reveal the truth, even if he has to bring Margot and her father along for the ride.

The Song and Dance:  If nothing else, the movie returns the story to more-or-less the original plot. I actually like Margot being the General's feisty daughter and Paul being an anthropologist. It gives her more reason for being in Morocco and him more of an excuse to wander the desert. Grayson's having a marvelous time as the feisty Margot, Wesson's mostly funny as Paul's clueless buddy, and Massey makes a very menacing dessert ruler. The color here is gorgeous, glowing and jewel-like with its sandy vistas.

Favorite Number: "Gay Parisianne" is the only song retained from the 1943 film, and it's used as a chorus number here with Margot flirting with all the men at the garrison. Grayson also gets to sing a lovely "Romance," my favorite song from this score, as she reveals why she left Paris. MacRae leads the male chorus through a rousing "Riff Song" in the opening, and he gets a gorgeous "One Alone" when he serenades Grayson in the gardens.

What I Don't Like:  MacRae is stiff as a board as El Khobar and lacks the charisma Dennis Morgan showed in this role in 1943. He's slightly more believable as the shy scholar than the swashbuckler chieftain. In the original show, every character, including the stage versions of Benjy and Youssef, had a song.  Here, only Paul, Margot, and the chorus sings. Dancer Allyn Ann McLerie is Arabic dancer Azuri, and she's even less believable than MacRae as a passionate woman of the desert (and is stuck in dark skin makeup to boot).

The Big Finale: As much as I like the 1943 film, this one has its own charms, including one of Grayson's best performances and a story that gets at least a little closer to the original show. Either way, both movies are a lot of fun for fans of swashbuckling desert adventures or operettas.

Home Media: Like the 1943 film, this is currently only available through the Warner Archives.

DVD

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Desert Song (1943)

Warner Bros, 1943
Starring Dennis Morgan, Irene Manning, Bruce Cabot, and Gene Lockhart
Directed by Robert Florey
Music by Sigmund Rombert; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto A. Haurbach, and Jack Scholl

Like Show Boat, The Desert Song was first filmed in the early talkie era. It was, in fact, Warners first flat-out musical in 1929, a huge epic featuring John Boles as the mystery man of the desert, the Red Shadow. While that version does exist, it's very hard to find today. The 1943 version was also hard to find until very recently, thanks to a load of legal red tape. Now that it's back in the public eye, how does the wartime version of this romantic operetta look now? Let's head to Geneva, Switzerland in 1939 to find out...

The Story: The Nazis have invaded North Africa. They've captured the Riff tribes, using them to build a railroad that'll bring supplies to their garrisons. The Riffs fight back by blowing up tracks and trains. They're lead by the enigmatic El Khobar...who is actually Paul Hudson (Morgan), a pianist and reporter who respects the Riffs and their way of life. He works in an Arabic cabaret owned by Peter FanFan (Lockhart) and lives with perpetually drunk fellow writer Johnny Walsh (Lynne Overman). Paul falls for beautiful singer Margot (Manning), but she's in love with Colonel Fontaine (Cabot) of the French Army. Paul has to dodge the Nazis and bring Fontaine and Margot on the same page, before the Nazis build that train and destroy the Riffs' way of life.

The Song and Dance: Morgan makes an especially charming freedom fighter in this swashbuckling World War II adventure. He's surrounded by a nice cast of character actors, including Lockhart as the head of the cabaret where the Riffs hang out and have their headquarters, Cabot as Paul's stoic rival for Margot's affection, and Overman as Paul's cynical roommate who just wants to know who this El Khobar guy is, anyway. Some of the changes to the story are fascinating, especially how the Riffs are treated by the Nazis and how they finally rebel. There's some lovely Technicolor camera work, especially in the beginning on the desert.

Favorite Number: Most of the big numbers are performed as part of the cabaret show. Margot's "French Military Marching Song" is especially fun and colorful. Morgan and Manning do a lovely, simple duet to "One Alone" when they're covering the Riffs escaping the cafe before the Nazis arrive. "The Riff Song" gets a nice run-through in the opening by Morgan and the chorus just after they attack the Nazis.

What I Don't Like: Manning lacks her male co-stars' charisma and looks stiff and bored as the singer turned spy. I didn't mind the topical story changes, but I really wish they let the songs tell the story as they originally did, rather than relegating them to nightclub numbers. This feels more like an action movie with songs.

The Big Finale: If you don't mind the story changes and love the cast or World War II adventure films, you'll want to ride out into the desert and give this tale of "Romance" a look.

Home Media: Currently only available on DVD from the Warner Archives.

DVD

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Family Fun Saturday - Annie (2014)

Columbia, 2014
Starring Quevenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and Rose Byrne
Directed by Will Gluck
Music by Charles Strouse and others; Lyrics by Martin Charmin and others

The success of a hip-hop "Hard Knock Life" prompted Columbia to remake this story in a modern-day setting, with a very sassy 21st century Annie. Will Smith's daughter Willow was originally to appear, but by the time they finally got it off the ground, she was too old and Wallis was in. How does the story of the little orphan girl who warms the heart of a crusty rich businessman work in current times? Let's head to Harlem in New York City to find out...

The Story: Annie Bennett (Wallis) lives in Harlem with several other girls who are foster children to Colleen Hannigan (Diaz), a former rock singer who is generally too drunk to really take care of them. Annie holds out hopes that her parents will come for her someday, waiting outside an Italian restaurant every Friday in the hopes that they'll be there. Her luck starts to change when she's almost run over chasing a dog, but is saved by electronics mogul William Stacks (Foxx). Stacks is running for Mayor of New York City. His campaign manager Guy Danilly (Bobby Cannavale) points out that saving Annie boosts his popularity and insists he take her out to dinner, then unofficially adopt her for a week.

Annie's thrilled to live in Stacks' fancy penthouse apartment and befriend his pretty British assistant Grace Farrell (Byrne). She finally bonds with Stacks when she discovers that he too started out poor in New York, even letting her adopt the dog she was chasing and convincing him to take her and her foster friends to a big movie premiere. Things start to unravel when Annie reveals that she can't read, and Guy decides that she's more of a hindrance than a help to Will's campaign. He and Miss Hannigan orchestrate an elaborate scheme to hire people to play Annie's parents and get rid of her. "Get rid" turns out to be "kidnap." When Stacks realizes what's going on, he sends half the city to stop them...and realizes just how important this little girl has become to him and Grace.

The Song and Dance: The cast is the thing in this colorful rags-to-riches tale. Byrne and Foxx work well together as the germaphobe, workaholic businessman and his devoted secretary, both of whom soften with Annie. Cannavale is appropriately smarmy as the obnoxious manager who only cares about popularity, not people's feelings. The little girls are funny, and Wallis is a ball of energy as Annie, the little girl who will never give up believing, whether it's in her parents' return or Stacks being a good person inside.

Favorite Number: "Opportunity" is the best of the new songs, and it's performed twice. I prefer the energetic finale that has everyone together to celebrate the opening of Stacks' newest endeavor. "Hard Knock Life" has some nice choreography as the girls whirl around Miss Hannigan's apartment building. Annie, Grace, and the secretary Miss Kovacevic (Stephanie Kurtzuba) get to enjoy the delights of Stacks' elaborate condo in "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here."

What I Don't Like: A lot of the plot is contrived, overly sentimental, and simply does not make sense. First of all, Annie did go to school. How is it she's never learned to read? Everything with Annie and Stacks, especially how he literally runs into her, happens way too fast. One minute, Annie's chasing the dog, and the next, she's an internet sensation and almost everyone adores her. The first performance of "Opportunity," where she's clearly trying to play matchmaker to Will and Grace, is more annoying than cute. The movie is just trying too hard to be both adorably sweet and hip enough for the rap crowd...and doesn't really succeed at either. (And they still didn't need the tacked-on action sequence in the end.)

And then, there's Diaz. She's supposed to be a drunk former rock star, but she's really way out of her league in a musical. Her "Little Girls" has the girls join in to complain about how they want parents, and it's neither funny nor cute. Her sudden about-face works even less well than it did in the original. Like Stacks changing his mind about Annie, it's just too sudden and has no real explanation.

The Big Finale: In the end, despite them frequently drawing parallels between the Great Depression and the recession of the early 2010's, they just try too hard to make everything modern. If you have a little girl who does enjoy rap, she might want to see this; everyone else will probably be fine with the 1982 version.

Home Media: As one of the more recent movies I've reviewed, this is easily found in all formats, including many streaming companies.

DVD
Blu-Ray
Amazon Prime

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Show Boat (1951)

MGM, 1951
Starring Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Ava Gardner, and Joe E. Brown
Directed by George Sidney
Music by Jerome Kern; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein

MGM bought the rights to Show Boat in the 1940's, hoping to make it into a vehicle for their then-stars Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. It took so long for them to get it off the ground, it was switched to featuring Grayson and Keel, along with the wildly popular Gardner. How does this glossy Technicolor retelling compare to other versions, including the one I reviewed on Tuesday? Let's return to the docks along the Mississippi as the Cotton Blossom is arriving and find out...

The Story: We kick things off with the boat's leading man Steve (Robert Sterling) and engineer Pete (Leif Erickson) fighting over leading lady Julie (Gardner), and Pete running off to tell the sheriff about them. Having gambled his ship ticket away, Gaylord Ravenal (Keel) tries to get passage on the ship as an actor. The head of the troupe Cap'n Andy (Brown) turns him down, but he still falls in love with Andy's stage-struck daughter Magnolia (Grayson). When Julie is discovered to be part-black, she and Steve are forced to leave the Show Boat, leaving an opening for Magnolia and Gaylord to become the new leads.

Magnolia and Gaylord are huge hits on the river. Over the objections of Magnolia's mother Parthy (Agnes Moorehead), they marry and move to Chicago, living the high life on Gaylord's winnings. Their "high life" ends abruptly when Gaylord's luck ends and he runs out, leaving a pregnant Magnolia destitute. She takes over Julie's job in a Chicago nightclub, making a big hit (with encouragement from Cap'n Andy) on New Year's Eve. She goes back to the show boat to bear her child, Kim. Gaylord is still gambling, but he never forgot his wife...and Julie's not about to let him abandon his woman like she was abandoned.

The Song and Dance: The movie mostly benefits from the bright and glossy Technicolor production. The jewel tones of the dancers and performers pop off the screen and make for a nice contrast with the less bold colors of the river workers, Magnolia and Parthy, and the river itself. Keel and Gardner have the best performances here. Keel is a far stronger Ravenal than Jones and handles the dramatic scenes a little bit better. Gardner, despite being dubbed, puts in one of her best performances as the tortured Julie.

Favorite Number: "Ol' Man River" is almost as strong here, with William Warfield's stirring performance matched by Roger Edens' simple and touching direction. (Sidney was sick and Edens took over the sequence.) Dancers Gower and Marge Champion have a blast with their adorable routines to two of my favorite songs from this score, "I Might Fall Back On You" and "Life Upon the Wicked Stage." Grayson and Keel's "Make Believe" and "Why Do I Love You?" are gorgeous and moving.

What I Don't Like: No amount of gorgeous scenery or cute dance numbers can mask the fact that this movie isn't as authentic or as interesting as the 1936 version. We'll start with Gardner being dubbed. Her real vocals were used on the soundtrack album, and they're not that bad. The entire premise of racism is pushed aside. The scene with Steve and Julie after Julie is accused of being black is rushed and mostly brushed aside.  Joe is seen only for "Ol' Man River," and Queenie is barely seen at all. While I am glad they brought Julie back in for the ending and it does come off as a little less sentimental than in 1936, it also loses the point of how love - and the river - endures for generations.

The Big Finale: While not as good as the previous version, it does have some things of interest for fans of MGM musicals or Gardner and Keel, including songs that didn't make the cut in '36.

Home Media: As one of the most popular MGM musicals of the 1950's, this is fairly easy to find on DVD and streaming.

DVD
Amazon Prime

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Show Boat (1936)

Universal, 1936
Starring Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Charles Winninger, and Paul Robeson
Directed by James Whale
Music by Jerome Kern; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein

Last week, we looked at two musicals that were remakes of non-musical comedies. For the next two weeks, we'll be checking out musicals that were remade as musicals...but in both cases, the remake wound up being subtly different from the original. And in both cases, they in themselves were remakes. Universal released their first version of Show Boat in 1928, a year after its first run on Broadway...but it only a part-sound film, with the songs in a prologue in the beginning. Producer Carl Laemmle Jr. and director James Whale wanted to try again and make it as authentic to the original show as possible at the time. Did they succeed? Let's head to the docks on the Mississippi River, just as the titular show boat is arriving, and find out...

The Story:  Captain Andy (Winninger) is the head of the Cotton Blossom, a traveling show boat plying the Mississippi in the 1880's. His teenage daughter Magnolia (Dunne) would give anything to be on the stage, but her mother Parthy (Helen Westley) disapproves. She falls in love with a wandering gambler named Gaylord Ravenal (Jones) and marries him despite Parthy's protests. Despite her lack of experience, Magnolia eventually takes over from the leading lady Julie (Helen Morgan) when it's discovered that her husband is white and she's partly black. Their marriage is illegal in the Deep South, forcing them off the boat.

Gaylord and Magnolia have a daughter, Kim, and then become rich off his winnings...until his luck runs out. By 1899, he's abandoned Magnolia in Chicago, since he's unable to support her any longer. She takes a job at a local club, where Julie and fellow former Cotton Blossom players Frank (Sammy White) and Ellie May (Queenie Smith) are working. Magnolia takes over from Julie on New Year's Eve and becomes a sensation. She eventually goes on to become one of the most beloved stars in the world, with her daughter Kim following in her footsteps...but Gaylord has never forgotten them.

The Song and Dance: Universal didn't usually throw themselves into musicals, but they really went all out for this one. The costumes and sets are lavish and gorgeous, beautifully reflecting their late 19th-early 20th century Deep South setting. Winninger and Westley are hilarious as the head of the show boat troupe and his sensible and rather prissy wife. Check out the scene where Winninger re-enacts the plot of an entire melodrama by himself!

Definately my favorite thing about this one are the hilariously laid-back Robeson and tough Hattie MacDaniel as Joe the dock worker and his wife Queenie the cook. They get some of the best lines, and my favorite of the new songs, "Ah Still Suit Me." They play off each other perfectly and really elevate the first half of the film.

Favorite Number: "I Have the Room Above Her," a charming ballad performed by Gaylord when he's trying to get Magnolia's attention, is so adorable it's been used in several subsequent stage versions. Morgan, MacDaniel, and Dunne have a blast with the black workers with "Can't Help Lovin' That Man." Dunne and Jones have a gorgeous "Make Believe" and also do fairly well with "You are Love." "Ah Still Suits Me" gives us some hilarious banter between MacDaniel and Robeson, as she complains of being fed up with his shiftless ways.

Two performances here have never been equaled. Morgan gives the definitive poignant version of "Bill" on the piano just prior to Julie's audition. Robeson sang "Old Man River" live, directly for the cameras...and he's nothing short of magnificent, his voice aching with the bittersweet life of the black river-dweller.

What I Don't Like: The other newly added song is "Gallavantin' Around" for Dunne and the chorus on the show boat. While it is fairly true to the place and time period, the blackface and banjo stereotypes are more wince-inducing than rousing today.

I wish they'd used some of the other songs from the show. Frank and Ellie May's roles are greatly reduced from other versions, as two of their three big songs, "I Might Fall Back On You" and "Life Upon the Wicked Stage," were dropped. Queenie also loses her only solo, "Queenie's Ballyhoo." "Why Do I Love You" was apparently filmed, but not used. There was also supposed to be a lot more to Kim's big dance number in the finale, including a modern routine to contrast with the Old South dance.

MacDaniel and Robeson are such stand-outs, once they disappear during the second half of the film, things become considerably less interesting. Dunne is more believable as the adult Magnolia dealing with her husband's abandonment in Chicago than as a hopefully teenager, and Jones isn't up to the heavier dramatics. Their final moments come off as overly sentimental and rather cliched.

The Big Finale: Even with all the problems, this is still a legendary Show Boat, and the closest you'll get to the original 1927 Broadway show at this point. If you love Show Boat, darker shows, or the cast, this is one ballyhoo you'll definitely want to get behind.

Home Media: Currently only available on DVD via the Warner Archives (which is how I have it).

DVD

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Animation Celebration Saturday - Rock-A-Doodle

The Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1992
Voices of Glen Campbell, Phil Harris, Toby Scott Ganger, and Christopher Plummer
Directed by Don Bluth
Music and Lyrics by TJ Kuenster

After the failure of All Dogs Go to Heaven in 1989, Don Bluth decided to try something entirely different. He'd been enamored of the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and wanted to make his own live action-animated hybrid. He'd been trying to get the tale of Chanticleer the Rooster off the ground since 1982, and Disney had tried as far back as the 1930's, but nothing had ever come of it. Production finally began in 1990, but trouble with the live-action portion and MGM's financial difficulties pushed the release to 1991, then to spring of 1992 when they didn't want to compete with Beauty and the Beast. After all that, how does the story of a rooster whose crow brings up the sun look now? Let's head down on the farm with Chanticleer himself and find out...

The Story: Chanticleer (Campbell) is beloved by all of the animals on the farm. He's handsome, he's strong, and his crow seems to help bring up the sun every day. The only creatures on the farm who don't adore Chanticleer are the Grand Duke (Plummer) and his owls, who would prefer permanent night. The Duke sends another rooster to attack Chanticleer and distract him from his duties. The sun comes up on its own, prompting the others to make fun of him. Chanticleer goes off, dejected...and that brings about torrential rain and darkness.

Which brings us to the live-action segments. Edmund (Ganger) is a small boy who lives on the farm and is hearing the story from his mother. Believing what the book says, he tries to call Chanticleer back, only to attract the Duke. The Duke turns him into an animated kitten, to his horror. Joined by Patou (Harris), a dog who can't tie his shoes, know-it-all mouse Peepers (Sandy Duncan), and neurotic magpie Snipes (Eddie Deezen), he heads to the big city to find Chanticleer and bring him back to the farm. Not only does the Duke not want the sun back, but Chanticleer has become a big star, and his manager Pinky (Sorrell Booke) wants to keep making money off him. Edmund will have to enlist the help of pretty pheasant Goldie (Ellen Greene) and find the courage inside his furry body if he wants to save the farm and stop the flood.

The Animation: There's some decent work here, especially as the group travels to the city and once they arrive. The animals move pretty well, and the backdrops are colorful and fun, especially in the city. Wish Bluth had figured out how to integrate the live-action as seamlessly. It's pretty obvious the very few times that the live Edmund and the animated characters interact that it's all done with blue screen and effects, and it never really feels like they're seamlessly part of each other's worlds.

I wish they hadn't played with the aspect ratio. The live-action segments are in widescreen, and the animation is in full-screen, and the two make for some awkward transitions, especially when the Duke shows up in Edmund's bedroom. 

The Song and Dance: At the very least, Bluth learned his lesson from All Dogs and made this a tad lighter and more family-friendly. In fact, he did some judicious editing to keep it from getting a PG. If nothing else, it's bright and colorful, with some decent numbers and a cast who (mostly) know how to handle them. There's also the use of several real-life backing groups who once sang backup vocals for Elvis Prestley in Campbell's numbers to lend the music at least a little authenticity. 

Favorite Number: Campbell kicks things off in robust style with "Sun Do Shine," showing just how popular Chanticleer is on the farm and how the farm operates. He gets two mildly enjoyable production numbers when he's a star in the city, the title song and the beach-themed "Treasure Hunting Fever." He and Greene have a cute duet when they litterally "Kiss and Coo."

What I Don't Like: The live-action sequences shouldn't be there. They're unnecessary and really bog things down. The whole idea of Edmund being human and it all being just a story makes the plot way too complicated. For all that Patou explains, there's a just as much that is never really adequately discussed...including how the sun came up without Chanticleer crowing. Patou and his narration are annoying and get in the way more often than not.

The other characters aren't much better. For the rooster who the sun literally revolves around, not only do we not really see that much of Chanticleer, but he barely has a personality when we do see him. Goldie switches sides way too quickly once she gets past the "bad kitty" thing. Edmund is too cutesy (as a kid and a kitten), and his lisp makes a lot of his dialogue hard to understand. Snipes and especially Peepers are slightly more useful than Patou, but they're also obnoxious and are generally only there to be the funny sidekicks. The villains are all cardboard stock characters, and Plummer and Charles Nelson Reilly are wasted as the light-hating Grand Duke and his sniveling nephew. 

The Big Picture: Despite some decent animation and cute touches, the movie just plain doesn't work. Unless you're a really huge fan of the cast or Bluth, I'd rock on by this one.

Home Media: At the moment, I'm going to say streaming is your best bet here. Several streaming companies currently have it for free, including Vudu and YouTube. (I caught it on the latter.) It was re-released for its 25th anniversary on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2017 by made-to-order company Olive Films, but apparently the pitch on their print is higher than it should be.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

You Can't Run Away From It

Columbia, 1956
Starring June Allyson, Jack Lemmon, Charles Bickford and Jim Backus
Directed by Dick Powell
Music by Gene De Paul; Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

The Awful Truth was not the last classic screwball comedy Columbia remade in the 1950's. Three years later, they added music to the Best Picture Oscar-winner It Happened One Night. Is it as charming and hilarious as the original? Let's head over to to a yacht on the ocean and find out...

The Story: Ellie Andrews (Allyson) is mad as a hornet when her father, Texas cattleman AA Andrews (Bickford), kidnaps her and holds her on his yacht. He disapproves of her engagement to a notorious playboy. She dives out the window and flees for the nearest bus station. Meanwhile, unemployed reporter Peter Warne (Lemmon) thinks he's hit on the biggest story of his career. He keeps an eye on her on the bus and poses as her husband when they stop at a hotel. As they travel cross-country, the two begin to realize that they've fallen in love...but Ellie goes home when she realizes what Peter's doing. Trouble is, she's not so eager to be reunited with her husband anymore, and Peter's having second thoughts about that story.

The Song and Dance: This wound up being a bit of a surprise. It's too cute. Lemmon and Allyson may not be the first people you'd think to replace Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, but they actually have a lot of fun as the runaway heiress and the reporter who comes to think of her as a lot more than a headline. As per the original story, it's pretty small-scale for a musical of this time, and the intimacy is charming and rather refreshing.

Favorite Number: Popular musical group of the time The Four Aces harmonize beautifully on the title song over the credits. Stubby Kaye as a chummy sailor joins Lemmon, Allyson and the chorus on the bus for "Howdy Friends and Neighbors." "Temporarily" is Lemmon and Allyson singing about their sheet "Wall of Jericho" and their current relationship in the hotel. Trying to prove that she can have as much fun as the next person, Allyson enjoys cavorting with scarecrows and piles of hay in the Scarecrow Ballet.

Trivia: Apparently, there were at least two more numbers for other characters and a segment of the song "Hitchin' a Ride" that didn't make it into the film. The entire audio for "Hitchin' a Ride" survives on the soundtrack album.

This isn't the first time Columbia remade It Happened One Night. They'd done an earlier version in 1945 with Ann Miller, Eve Knew Her Apples.

What I Don't Like: Not for those looking for a bigger, brassier show. Like Let's Do It Again, this is pretty small-scale, with one major chorus number and fairly quiet songs for the leads. And while it is adorable in it's own right, it's not nearly the triumph that It Happened One Night was - or really Oscar material.

The Big Finale: While not the best adaptation, it does do a better job of adding music to One Night than the more staid Do It Again did with Awful Truth. Worth checking out if you're a fan of the stars or you run into it online or on cable.

Home Media: Until two years ago, the only way you could find this one was in rare showings on TCM. You can currently pick it up as part of that Mill Creek musicals collection (though not in its original widescreen) and on several streaming companies.

DVD - Musicals 20 Movies Collection
Amazon Prime