Plenty of drama on this one . . . all behind the camera. On screen, it’s painfully innocuous; a thrill-less romance between a New Haven kiddie dance teacher, 18 yr-old Elizabeth Taylor, and Larry Parks’ smooth-operator NYC theatrical agent, her senior by nearly two decades. These two are in love from the start, but she’s got to convince the mug he’s really the marrying kind. Director Stanley Donen manages some passable NYC atmosphere with just a couple of location shots, but there’s only so much he can do with this trifle. He shows off Liz’s gams, hides her dance steps behind a big bass fiddle and tries not to embarrass anyone. All gentlemanly stuff, probably because he & Taylor were in the midst of a major affair. A relationship Taylor’s mom & Howard Hughes (!) were each trying to sabotage with rumors that Donen was a Pinko fag. (So how come he’s screwing La Liz?) Taylor was just getting divorced from the horrid Hilton boy and Donen was leaving his first wife, Jeanne Coyne. (She’d soon marry Gene Kelly, who makes a cameo appearance here.) Meantime, there was an ex-Commie-Red on the set, co-star Larry Parks who’d soon testify before the infamous HUAC Committee and get BlackListed. (His next Hollywood production would also be his last, John Huston’s FREUD/’62.) So, this 1950 film didn't get a release ‘til ‘52, after studio chief & super patriot Louis B. Mayer had been forced out. Wait . . . there’s more! Take a look at Larry Parks. (See photo below.) Remind you of anyone? He’s a positive ringer for Taylor’s third hubby Mike Todd! (The one after second hubby Michael Wilding, the guy she left Stanley Donen for.) And Parks doesn’t just look like Todd, he might be playing Mike Todd, an older, take charge New York theatrical guy who sweeps Liz off her feet. (If only they’d have cast Joan Blondell, Mrs. Mike Todd at the time, to play Taylor’s mom.)
Mike Todd & ET ET & Larry Parks
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Oh, hell, this whole posting is a Screwy Thought of the Day.