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Monday, July 19, 2010


Bing Crosby always got stuck playing character ticks instead of characters in the Irving Berlin songfests he made @ Paramount. In HOLIDAY INN/’42, he only works on national holidays; WHITE CHRISTMAS/’54 makes him a workaholic without time for rest or romance; in BLUE SKIES his mania makes him sell off nightclubs like he’s flipping real estate. None of the ideas make much sense, but the films were all crazy successful. And, inane as they undoubtedly are, damned if they don’t still work. This one features blue skies & blue eyes as Bing croons and Fred Astaire taps in competition for gorgeous Joan Caulfield. Her head says Fred, but her heart says Bing. Weirdly, the film ends with her stepping out with one on each arm! Maybe they’re off together on a tour of Noël Coward’s DESIGN FOR LIVING. Adding to the oddness is some impossibly fey comic relief from that cross-dressing fullback, Billy De Wolfe. Well, you won’t go to sleep. Meanwhile, there are dozens (no kidding, dozens) of Irving Berlin hits (mostly old, a few new) to chart the passing years. Fred does a drop-dead ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz;’ the boys join for some knock-about comedy on ‘A Couple of Song & Dance Men;’ and Der Bingle scores with a ravishing forgotten Berlin original, ‘Getting Nowhere (Running Around in Circles),’ while the big Oscar nom’d hit was ‘You Keep Coming Back Like a Song.’

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: In a few shots, Bing looks amazingly like Bob Newhart. Wonder if Newhart sings with a stutter?

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