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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT (1953)

The third go-‘round for this saga of sea-faring siblings has little but its memorable title going for it. The qualities that worked for Bessie Love & Lon Chaney in 1923 and for Ramon Novarro, Joan Crawford & Ernest Torrence in ‘28 (under the title ACROSS TO SINGAPORE) are nowhere to be found in this flat telling. Producer Pandro Berman & his regular megger Richard Thorpe seem completely uninvolved, running the show as a stopgap vehicle for some costly contract players. Ann Blyth gets the worst of it as a dewy bride to a tired-looking Robert Taylor, while Stewart Granger, at least, goes thru the motions of swash & buckle. The basic outline isn’t without promise -- missing scapegrace brother turns up alive in the tropics with a fortune in pearls -- but the story construction fumbles over multiple plotlines and the production values are shockingly poor. M-G-M management was going thru a shakeup which may explain, if not excuse, the economies, but the film remains a dud.

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