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Thursday, August 27, 2009


At the height of WWII, even this famously idiotic B'way musical, with a sub-par Cole Porter score (‘He’s A Right Guy,’ ‘By The Mississinewa’) could be a smash hit. Especially with Mike Todd’s showmanship & Ethel Merman in her prime. The film version drops the Porter score & Merman, but adds even more idiocy. Three cousins (Vivian Blaine, Phil Silvers & Carmen Miranda are the unlikely DNA sharers) inherit a dilapidated Southern mansion near a big army base and turn it into a hotel for army wives. Naturally, there’s a crisis to solve which is accomplished when Miranda’s tooth fillings start acting as a radio receiver & transmitter. Believe it or not, this comes straight out of the original show! A couple of relaxed numbers, one with debuting Perry Como, aren’t too awful and Phil Silvers does what he can (until they put him into modified blackface), but this one’s more like something for the birds.

NOTE: On the Extras, look for an excellent, and rather touching, bio of Carmen Miranda.

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