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Thursday, May 22, 2008

JUMBO (1962)

The glory days of M-G-M musicals had barely ended, yet seemed long gone by the time they belatedly made this Rodgers & Hart 1930s extravaganza. Given a bit of indulgence, this Charles Walters film gets points for briskness and for a manageable one-ring scale, but its awfully wholesome fluffy stuff. Doris Day, long in the tooth for ingenues and in ‘60s makeup that’s not much help, gets to sing four R&H standards & pal around with that eponymous elephant, but Walters did better by her in PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES. One surprise is how well Stephen Boyd comes off, rather like John Hodiak’s surprisingly successful turn in THE HARVEY GIRLS with Judy Garland. Some of the circus routines & musical numbers are credited to Busby Berkeley, though you’d never guess it, but the trick doubling for Day & Jimmy Durante is unusually smooth. If only there were a few more casual numbers like the pleasing duet for Day & Martha Raye.

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