Thursday, April 1, 2010
On The Riviera (1951)
On the Riviera (1951). Musical/comedy. Director: Walter Lang. Producer: Sol C. Siegel from a screenplay by Valentine Davies and Phoebe and Henry Ephron, based on the play The Red Cat by Rudolph Lotharand Hans Adler, with dance sequences choreographed and staged by Jack Cole. This "backstage" musical, all songs occurring as stage performances. The film was to Spotlight Broadway veteran Danny Kaye. This was the third film version of the same story. The original was entitled Folies Bergere (1935) and starred Maurice Chevalier, Merle Oberon and Ann Sothern. The remake in 1941 was That Night in Rio and starred Don Ameche, Alice Faye and Carmen Miranda. This version stars Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvet with Marcel Dalio, Henri Letondal, Sig Ruman with uncredited featured dancer Gwen Verdon. It was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Music and Best Art Direction Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller, Joseph C. Wright, Thomas Little, Walter M. Scott.
The movie is about Jack Martin, an American entertainer who does impressions on the French Riviera stage, he does an impersonation of Henri Duran so well that even Duran's wife is fooled by it. When Duran's business takes him to London when he is supposed to be hosting a party at his home, Martin is hired to impersonate Duran at the party. But things turn for the worse when Martin is confronted by several of the womanizers women and by Duran's business rival, M. Periton .
I'm not really a Kaye fan, but his performance is good in his dual role (he won a Golden Globe award for it). I really did not think it was a funny film, except maybe his typical Kaye moment, in the The Puppet dance number, as he mangles names of animals and flowers. I enjoyed seeing Gwen Verdon dance numbers.
The painting of Gene Tierney over the fireplace is, the famous portrait of her from the black-and-white noir classic Laura (1944). It is the only opportunity to see the legendary painting in color.
Essentially a remake of the Don Ameche film That Night in Rio (1941), which itself was a remake of 'Maurice Chavalier (I)''s film Folies-Bergère (1936). All three films were based on a 1934 stage play called "The Red Cat".