Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
People We Like: Dolores Gray
Broadway star Dolores Gray was a tall, blonde, shapely actress-singer with a big contralto voice who appeared in just a handful of movies at MGM in the mid-50s but they certainly are collector's choices! She also appeared on radio and television and in nightclubs, and, in addition to her original cast and soundtrack recordings, recorded for two major labels and scored a handful of chart entries. I loved ITS ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER when I saw it at a matinee in 1955 (being all of 9 or 10) - not only Gene and Cyd Charisse (and Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd also being terrific) but the movie is stolen by the star turn of Dolores as Madeline the spoiled star of the tv show "Throb of Manhattan" - Dolores is at her most artificial here exploiting the 3 guys on their reunion and she sings that knockout number "Thanks A Lot But No Thanks" in that ritzy red dress.
(right: DESIGNING WOMAN - the look MAD MEN aspires to) She does not have much to do in Minnelli's KISMET but is better used in his 1957 stylish DESIGNING WOMAN as the ex- (a Broadway star naturally) of Gregory Peck who has gone off and married Lauren Bacall - that restaurant scene where she tips the plate of ravioli into Greg's lap is endlessly amusing. She also gets to don some 50s fancy dresses and sing too of course.
Comedywise her best role is in that 1956 remake of THE WOMEN, THE OPPOSITE SEX which I like a lot, as I did back then. Dolores is fab as Sylvia Fowler out to wreck nice June Allyson's marriage by telling her that husband Leslie Nielson is seeing homewrecker Crystal Allen, who is Joan Collins here. Its a great collection of '50s gals in those '50s dresses - watch out for Ann Miller, Ann Sheridan, Agnes Moorehead, Carolyn Jones, Charlotte Greenwood, Joan Blondell and Alice Pearce (Lucy Schmeeler from ON THE TOWN!) as the "Jungle Red" saleslady! See Dolores/Sylvia and Joan/Crystal tangle over that Buck Winston !
Dolores also starred in the London original production of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, and died in 2002. Pity I did not see her in that revival of FOLLIES - I saw the Eartha Kitt version - but I have just discovered there is an album of hers "Warm Brandy" which I have just ordered on Amazon, and there there are lots of her songs on iTunes! My ipod will be much more glamorous now...