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Thursday, May 29, 2008

RED GARTERS (1954)

Rosemary Clooney & Jack Carson make for a mismatched lead couple in this ultra-stylized, but hopelessly unstylish, musical Western. Played on sets fit for a touring B’way musical (a bit like a ‘50s Chuck Jones cartoon w/ washes of background color & skeletal buildings), the pic begs our indulgence in its foreword, but no one here has the talent to bring it off. Paramount’s contract tunesmiths, Jay Livingston & Ray Evans, wrote the generic score (there’s one striking ballad for Rosemary in the third act) which matches George Marshall ’s generic helming and the by-the-numbers choreography; but watch for Buddy Ebsen ’s brief eccentric shuffle. Two bits of weird casting hold some interest: Gene Barry as a dancing Gaucho, & a pleasingly goofy perf from one Guy Mitchell, who did a fast fade after this one. (By all rights, RED GARTERS should easily classify for one of our unique labels, but it works too darn hard at being unique to deserve the appellation.

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