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Saturday, May 24, 2008

LOUISIANA PURCHASE (1941)


You can probably blame this tepid adaptation for burying interest in Irving Berlin ’s swingin’ satiric musical. (Even his daughter was surprised at its strength after seeing a ‘90s concert revival.) With three of its B’way leads (Victor Moore, Vera Zorina & Irene Bordini) joining Bob Hope in a big Technicolor production, surely someone at Paramount had something more faithful in mind then the usual Hollywood mangling. Alas, with a bare quarter of the score retained, it’s simply a bigger, slower vehicle for the fast rising Hope. There should be plenty of juice in its lighthearted look at political corruption, but only a couple of scenes toward the end (Bob pantomimes putting on a girdle, Bob filibusters) have any life to them.

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