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.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Kismet, 1955

MGM's 1955 musical by Vincente Minnelli is actually rather wonderful, I hadn't realised - I enjoyed it enormously early today, and I have the dvd filed away too. Its lush, opulent, MGM at its best and Minnelli's wonderful eye for colour and movement are well to the fore here - unlike his previous one, the moribund BRIGADOON which only comes to life intermittently. 
Howard Keel is terrific here, as he was in KISS ME KATE, CALAMITY JANE, and as Hannibal in that other favourite of mine JUPITER'S DARLING, while stupendous Dolores Gray matches him .... 
The fifties were an odd decade for Vincente, starting with those enormous hits AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and my personal favourite THE BANDWAGON in 1953 (see label).  His '53 comedy with Lucy and Desi THE LONG LONG TRAILER is an enduring childhood memory, but THE COBWEB is dreary, after KISMET came TEA AND SYMPATHY in 1956 and the wonderful DESIGNING WOMAN, a 1957 favourite where Peck, Bacall and Dolores Gray are all bliss - and Jack Cole too - Cole does the choreography in KISMET with his usual pizazz and chorus boys.   
Minnelli was big again in 1958: the Oscar-winning GIGI, THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE (Kay, Rex and Angela =  certified bliss) and SOME CAME RUNNING - could he have been busier? followed by his string of melodramas; HOME FROM THE HILL, TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN, FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE and the tedious GOODBYE CHARLIE - his 1970 ON A CLEAR DAY is a mixed pleasure, Barbra as Daisy Gamble annoys, apart from the Beaton Regency flashbacks in Brighton, while Montand' s accent is as impenetrable as it was in LETS MAKE LOVE a decade earlier. 
I now though have a Minnelli rarity lined up to see sometime soon: that 1976 oddity and his last film A MATTER OF TIME with Liza and Ingrid Bergman, its meant to be so terrible it was never released, we will soon see why ... more on Minnelli and his films at label. 

1 comment:

  1. I love KISMET and like I said, I almost bought the bluray when last in Spain. Maybe next time... Excellent summation of Vincente's career apart from your calling THE COBWEB dull; I love it!