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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

THREE LITTLE WORDS (1950)

Modest bio-pic on songwriters Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby works the unlikely pairing of Fred Astaire & Red Skelton to good effect while Vera Ellen & Arlene Dahl vamp as the distaffs. The relatively bare production (it’s a Jack Cummings not an Arthur Freed M-G-M project) fits the uncomplicated, tuneful songs (there’s barely enough memorable titles to last the pic’s length), while the fictionalized drama is harmless. Skelton is wonderful here. Most broad comedians tone down their act at their peril, finding little left to base a real character on, but Skelton blooms under Richard Thorpe ’s light restraint. The film’s a real charmer.

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