Movie Review: Guys and Dolls

GuysAndDollsby Brad Nelson   11/19/13
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Blah Blah Blah. The short story is, this movie is every reason I’m skeptical of musicals.

Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) runs illegal crap games in New York. He’s desperately in need of a thousand smackers to start his next one, especially because some high-rollers are in town. So he bets Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) a thousand dollars that Brando can’t get the Salvation Army-like prudish missionary, Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons), to go out to dinner with him (to Cuba, of all places). And then the fun and frivolity commence.

I wish. In short, this movie is too long by an hour (it runs for two-and-a-half hours), has few memorable songs (the noteworthy ones are “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and “Luck Be a Lady”), and its main parts are miscast. Frank is not good in the comic role, and Brando doesn’t work as a romantic crooner. Switch those two around, and you immediately improve this musical, although Brando doesn’t really do too bad as a singer. But Frank is definitely under-used.

Yes, the choreography is just spiffy. But it’s of the type I find bizarre or what I call “inappropriate dancing.” Some of the numbers you can imagine were envisioned in a bad LSD trip. Rather than being elegant, cute, kitschy, or clever, it’s just over-the-top for the sake of moving legs all over the place.

The highlight of this movie is Brando’s seduction of Sarah Brown. The scene where the two of them escape to Havana for the night is a welcome break from all the bustle and frenetic singing and dancing. In fact, you can quickly see where you can cut an hour out of this movie. Frank Sinatra’s character and relationship with his girl, Adelaide,” holds little or no interest. It’s just filler.

What charm this movie has is in Brando’s relationship with Jean Simmons and a song here and there that isn’t too bad. Perhaps the real star of this movie is the nostalgia-inducing sets, props, and old styles of 1955 New York, America. And if you’re looking for any depth or introspection regarding the theme of a criminal trying to seduce a social worker for a bet, you won’t find it here. This is all as thin as the skating surface of the Ice Follies.

But if musicals are your thing, you’re bound to love this just for the classic ambience. It does have that in spades. • (5407 views)

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.

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51 Responses to Movie Review: Guys and Dolls

  1. Ah — memories. A couple of years ago I had the fun of choreographing Guys and Dolls for the high school where I used to teach. Gees, that was fun. Love the music. Unfortunately musicals usually make lousy movies– movies are geared to look real, musicals are often just silly. I’ve had the fun of doing the dance directing for close to 20 musicals and mostly they’re pretty goofy, but great good fun. Movies, however, they are not. The only exception I can think of to that is Les Mis — that held up on screen. See Glenn’s review on that one.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      “Unfortunately musicals usually make lousy movies– movies are geared to look real, musicals are often just silly.”

      I saw Yul Brenner on Broadway in his last roll as the King. I must say, the musical was better than the play. I think this holds true for Kismet as well. “The Music Man” and “The Sound of Music” were also excellent films in my opinion. Gigi was great. Finally, I think Brad should have a look at “My Fair Lady” if he thinks musical films don’t work.

      Musical films, including “Guys and Dolls” are generally very stylized. This works for some and it doesn’t for others. I don’t believe people generally went to see musical films for reality. Look at the old Fred Astaire films. I mean the ones in the 1930’s.

      Of course, one has to love music to enjoy a musical as play or film.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I don’t mind movie musicals. I love “The Sound of Music,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Mary Poppins,” and a few others. But for me the music has to be good enough to hold it together if there is little story.

        And in masterpieces such as “The Sound of Music,” the music is never an interruption to the story but carries it forward splendidly. In “Guys and Dolls” neither the music or the story was particularly memorable, although the music throughout was interesting enough. It certainly didn’t bore me.

        I haven’t seen “My Fair Lady” in years. Maybe I should give it another go because last time I saw it, it bored me. One musical I haven’t seen is “Grease.” People tell me that’s a lot of fun.

        • Kung Fu Zu says:

          I pretty much like Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison in anything they do. But as to “My Fair Lady”, the music is great and the setting of early twentieth century London with eccentric professors, retired colonels, useless aristocrats and common flower girls is very funny. The costumes are beautiful. The cinematography is excellent.

          “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” is alone worth the show. But there are many more wonderful songs.

          I have not seen Grease, but I am not a John Travolta fan, so it’s not surprising.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Note that Julie Andrews played Eliza on Broadway, and (no doubt by sheer coincidence) won the Oscar that year (for Mary Poppins). Marni Nixon sang for Hepburn, as she did in many movie musicals in that era. Another superb Audrey Hepburn movie was the thriller Wait Until Dark.

            • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

              Not sure if you meant that “coincidence” ironically or not, Tim, but there was in fact a great deal of sympathy for Julie Andrews as many in Hollywood recognized that Jack Warner had wronged her by not offering her the part (he didn’t want Rex Harrison either – you see why I hate Hollywood?), and I believe that certainly influenced the voting for that year’s Oscars. I think it’s a great pity Julie left Broadway for Hollywood, although as I mention elsewhere, after Camelot (in which Julie played Guenevere) the musical’s day was largely over.

              • faba calculo says:

                Ever the contrarian, I’ll now confirm a friend’s belief that I have no soul by saying that I really loved Moulin Rogue.

            • Kung Fu Zu says:

              I recall the kerfuffle about Andrews not being given the part. I would have preferred her as Eliza and for some years, didn’t like the fact that Hepburn got it. However, after some years I sat down and watched the film again and must say, I don’t think Hepburn hurt the film at all. Of course, it would have been nice to have the person singing do the acting, but that’s life.

              Hepburn brought such class to the screen that I don’t recall her performing badly in any film. I think she made a perfect Marian in “Robin and Marian” with Sean Connery.

              Hepburn was much loved in Japan. The Japanese particularly thought her neck beautiful. She made a number of commercials for the Japan market.

              On another tack, Harrison was the King of Siam in a film, I believe, named “Anna and the King of Siam, which might have served as the basis for “The King and I”.

              • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

                Yes, the movie Anna and the King of Siam was based on a book, and they were the basis for the musical.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Okay, Mr. Kung. You’ve convinced me to give it another go. If I’m sufficiently impressed by “My Fair Lady,” I’ll do a review. Or maybe I’ll do one in either case.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The older musicals were simply vehicles to present the songs, which often had little to do with the story (cf. “We Call the Wind Maria” from Paint Your Wagon). Later they began linking them, so that the movies either advanced the plot or character development. This was one of Stephen Sondheim’s goals in his musicals, and his rival Andrew Lloyd Weber did much the same.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yes, good point, Timothy. Someone said something similar in one of the IMDB.com reviews, that the plot (such as it was) was simply a vehicle to get you from one song to the next. Not really my cup of tea when it does that.

      • I agree re Sondheim — one of my favorites is Into the Woods.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I’ve never seen that, but I heard the music when I researched a biographical article on Sondheim for Salem Press. I have soundtracks of 2 of his musicals (West Side Story and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), and would like to get a few more. My housemate especially appreciated Pacific Overture, naturally. and I found Sweeney Todd darkly amusing at times. I also have Sondheim’s Finishing the Hat, which includes the lyrics for all his musicals through Sweeney Todd.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      That’s absolutely amazing, Deana. You are multi-talented. 🙂

      I’m certainly not anti-musical, although that’s not my first love when it comes to movies. But I just watched “Grease” tonight and had a much better experience. That is a delightful film, start to finish. The music is a treat and the story isn’t half bad either. But, most importantly, the songs integrate well with the story. And I like the more refined or subdued choreography than in the Brando/Sinatra version of “Guys and Dolls.” But that’s certainly a personal preference.

  2. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    It’s interesting, Brad, that you thought the main interest lay with the romance between Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson, and that the relationship between Nathan and Adelaide was sort of tacked on, for in fact this musical began as The Idyll of Sarah Brown (I believe – it’s late at night and I’m recalling this from memory because I’m too tired to took anything up). The first scenarist, Jo Swerling, produced a “book” with only the first of these pairs; when it was judged insufficient, a second writer, Abe Burrows, was brought in and he added the story of Nathan and Adelaide.

    Brando sang the part surprisingly well (in very low keys – he was a strange sort of lyric bass) as you noted, but I would say Sinatra was quite good as Nathan. The strangest thing to me about his casting was that his exclusive contract with Decca meant that the studio couldn’t release a soundtrack album, in those days often a significant source of revenue. (Eventually, four tracks were released, but with only Brando and Simmons, not Sinatra).

    Yes, this musical is fluff. If you want more substantial stuff, Brad, I recommend the great Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, for it was really they who gave the Broadway musical its first real substance (long before Sondheim, who trained under Hammerstein and once collaborated with Rodgers, or Andrew Lloyd Webber made the scene). They forced everyone else to get better – without them it’s hard to imagine Lerner & Lowe would have done so well with Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, or Camelot, or that Sondheim’s Gypsy (with Arthur Laurents and Jule Styne) and West Side Story (with Laurents, Bernstein, and Jerome Robbins) would have even been possible.

    Also note the distinction between the Broadway musical and the Hollywood version – Broadway was always better. Hollywood was always less daring, less innovative, and less interesting because it could never attract first-rate writers. Rodgers hated his time there in the 30’s. Every musical I have named (and Guys and Dolls too) started out on Broadway, and were then turned into “projects” by Hollywood – there’s no way any of them could have originated there. By the way, on Broadway the role of Sky Masterson was taken by Robert Alda (the father of Alan Alda), who sang the part better than Brando did.

    And for my money, you can pretty much forget about the modern stuff, and that includes most of Sondheim. After Camelot, the musical seemed to have lost its way, and I don’t see much hope that it’s coming back anytime soon. Note that this decline (as I see it) occurred during, yes, the 1960’s.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, my housemate picked up the soundtrack for Guys and Dolls on CD, though I don’t recall if it’s from the movie or the play. I do recall that the liner notes for my Cd of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum says that the play (from which it was taken) was better than the movie. But there are few (if any) musicals for which I’ve seen both.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I find it very easy to believe that the play was better than the movie. I think it is far too easy for movies to grind the life out of a play, musical or otherwise. The same was done, in my opinion, to “West Side Story.” Although the movie adaptation is generally praised (except by me), people I have talked to will swear by the superiority of one stage production or another.

        The truly remarkable thing — a near miracle — of Les Miserable, the musical, is that it is such a concise condensation of the book without losing the spirit and meaning of the 1400 page Victor Hugo novel. What Claude-Michel Schönberg (music) and Alain Boubil/Jean-Marc Natel/Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics) did with that is nothing less than stunning. I do not believe there is even a second place in this regard that is close.

        The recent movie with Wolverine was actually adequate in many ways. Hugh Jackman wouldn’t have been my first choice for Jean Valjean, but he worked. He was sincere (but certainly no match for Colm Wilkinson in regards to voice). Anne Hathaway is moving as Fantine, and Aaron Tveit, in particular, is excellent as Enjolras. But much of the rest of the cast is quite mediocre, especially the miscast Russell Crowe as Javert. But the sheer strength of the story and music can haul it beyond even these flaws.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Sondheim preferred the play to the movie for West Side Story. One thing I notice about the movie (especially obvious from the soundtrack) is what I call an emotional momentum shift in the Quintet (the gangs heading to the rumble while Tony, Maria, and Anita make their much more pleasant plans), from the optimism of the romance to the despair created by violence.

          • Of course West Side Story is just Romeo and Juliet set to Bernstein jazz, so the ending misery seems foreordained. Perhaps we should question whether or not Shakespeare translates well to jazz and then whether or not it can be spread on a screen. 🙂

      • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

        Since no complete movie soundtrack was ever released, the version you heard must have been either the original Broadway version or the Broadway revival of a few years ago. Easiest way to tell if you don’t have the label is that the original was of course monaural.

        And yes, the play version of Forum was superior to the movie. Forum was too intricately constructed to mess with, and of course Hollywood couldn’t resist messing with it. The movie did get in one good line: Pseudolus picks up a bottle of wine, reads the label, and asks “Was ‘1’ a good year?”

        Zero Mostel and Jack Gilford starred in both versions. Phil Silvers, who had turned down the starring role of Pseudolus on Broadway took the role of Marcus Lycus in the movie. There was a Broadway revival in 1996 and there’s a cast recording of that one also, although I haven’t heard it.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a “To the Intermission” review of “My Fair Lady” as prompted by Mr. Kung:

    I haven’t seen this movie in 30 or 40 years. All I remember about it the last time I tried to watch it was that it bored me.

    This time I was cracking up and quite engaged. I was engaged by such delightful numbers as “A Little Bit of Luck,” one of the most memorable songs. And I was cracking up at the whole Henry Higgins premise of it…particularly because I kept thinking how badly a modern remake is needed.

    Higgins’ premise was that it wasn’t necessarily Eliza Doolittle’s upbringing that made her common. It was her butchering of the English language. It kept her apart from mainstream society. And all I could think of was some of the wise words that Allan West and even Bill Cosby have said regarding the need for blacks do rise above Ebonics.

    We are so badly in need of a modern remake of this movie where some black woman who can barely speak proper English is taken in by (for propriety’s sake) some black gentleman. Oh, you can hear the howls of protest from the usual victim groups. But it is true that if you can’t speak proper English, your prospects are limited.

    And this is the premise (at least up to the Intermission) of “My Fair Lady.” In modern parlance, Professor Higgins is a cultural imperialist, trying to force his language on another. Doesn’t he know that each way of speaking has equal value?

    Well, of course, it was Eliza that came and requested Higgins to do the makeover. But it’s a funny premise made even funnier because today’s insanely politically correct and feminist culture would hate this movie. And I’m not too big of a man to admit that I love it all the more for this.

    Actually, I have enjoyed the movie thus far for what it is. My only criticisms are that they really should have filmed this on the streets of London instead of using those awful sets (which somehow one an Oscar anyway). And the transition from old Eliza to new Eliza was too abrupt. And the overall direction is not particularly fresh or ingenious. Yes, I know that Cukor won the Oscar, but I just do not see much deftness to his directoral style. I would have roamed a bit more out of the confines of a stage-play.

    But most of the songs are quite charming, particularly the one that Professor Higgins sings about never being hitched. I like Audrey Hepburn, but I’m sure Julie Andrews would have been far better in this role. Hepburn is superb in a number of movies. But she also tends to come off as one-dimensional as she does in this one so far. I think Hepburn is at her best in “Charade” or even in “The Nun’s Story.” She’s charming in both but I think stretches that ability to charm when doing slapstick, at least without Cary Grant as your partner.

    Rex Harrison is splendid as the jaded, confirmed-bachelor professor and is matched in larger-than-life personality by Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s dirtbag father. Holloway is also splendid in one of the best war movies ever made, “In Harm’s Way,” as the Aussie or Kiwi scout, Clayton Canfil. This movie followed 1964’s “My Fair Lady” in 1965.

    And, God, I barely recognized Jeremy Brett as Freddy Eynsford-Hill. And I doubt that that’s him singing, right?

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      “I barely recognized Jeremy Brett as Freddy Eynsford-Hill.”

      Yes, I can’t help thinking that Sherlock Holmes is singing “On the Street Where You Live.” It wasn’t Jeremy singing though.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Cathy Gill of the Dayton Holmes-Doyle Symposium once did a presentation in which she started with her response to Brett as Holmes: shock at the idea of Freddy playing Holmes, and went on to point to the similarities between Holmes and Higgins.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I was surfing around IMDB.com and found this sample of Jeremy Brett singing. He’s rather good. There was no need to dub him. There were some truly silly decisions that went into the making of this movie.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      You are showing promise, and are picking up some of the finer points of the movie.

      “And the transition from old Eliza to new Eliza was too abrupt.”

      Perhaps, but I recall when I was studying German, there came a time, a break if you will, after which I had no trouble speaking it. That isn’t to say my German was suddenly perfect, but somehow, in a very short period of time I became comfortable with it, whereas a short time before I had not been.

      I agree about Holloway “In Harm’s Way”.

      I think he contributed immensely to the quality and success of the film version of “My Fair Lady”. A likeable scumbag (should I use rogue as it sounds more literary?) who has no morals, but doesn’t pretend he does and has no regrets on that score. Sort of like a certain Southern politician whose wife will likely run for the presidency in 2016.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        LOL. Yes. Rogue is a much better word.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Note that Shaw had a strong hostility to bourgeois values, which Alfie Doolittle certainly reflects.

        • Kung Fu Zu says:

          I think Alfie only reflects bourgeois values after the American millionaire died and left him an annuity of 1,000 pounds a year. Before that he was quite happy to scrape along the bottom of the barrel with the dregs of society. He was not married to Eliza’s mother, did everything he could to avoid working to earn a living and spent whatever money he could get on alcohol. He even went to Higgins to “sell” his daughter.

          But there is no doubt Shaw looked down on the middle class as all intellectual Leftists have done. The middle class and their values are what stand between the Left and control.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            My point is that the charming rogue represents a rejection of middle-class values.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            One could say that the world we see coming into being is the convergence of conceits-in-place-of-work. The would-be upper crust of society deems work to be beneath them. And so do the Alfie Doolittles.

            We have a class of politicians, college professors, and media types who do very little but think they are above us. And every ruling class needs a subordinate class. As Rush Limbaugh says about the Democrat Party, they need and are trying to create a dependent class.

            Both the would-be ruling class and the various parasites on society will necessarily sneer at middle class values. And there really is no middle class, per se. It’s simply what naturally arises when you mix freedom with hard work. And both the top and the bottom sneer at that. Both are parasite classes.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I rather enjoyed Charade. Stephen King praised the climactic scene in Danse Macabre.

      • Kung Fu Zu says:

        I did too. Let’s face it, two beautiful people, with elegant personalities in a film with a gorgeous backdrop and clever detective story mixed with an understated romance. What’s not to like? And the song was pretty good as well.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of music, if not musicals, I just watched “Saturday Night Fever” yesterday. For those who just can’t stomach John Travolta, I understand. But I’m more or less okay with him.

    And he’s a hell of a dancer. But I can’t help thinking how fortunate we are that the disco era ended. We needed to suffer only a few years of polyester shirts and platform shoes. If only rap music and what I call “good looking low-talent girls singing like synthesized chipmunks” music would die as well. But we seem stuck with them.

    “Saturday Night Fever” is a classic coming-of-Barbarino type of story. It’s edgy, often very realistic, and certainly bleak. Although the film is a celebration of dancing and music, its set on a backdrop of teenage angst, violence, and the cruelty of young people to each other. It tries to find a heart at the end, but by then it is too late. You can be sure that Tony Manero (Travolta) won’t make it out of his neighborhood and onto bigger things (despite the sequel, which I haven’t seen). And even if he does, that he can’t break free mentally from his family’s image of him. But you can’t help thinking that he deserves to.

    But dancing and music are what this movie are about, and it has that in spades. As dopey as the disco period was, Travolta sets it on fire. The dance numbers are superb.

    The film is a relatively short 118 minutes. It might have actually improved if Tony Manero’s story had a bit more material to it. And some kind of resolution to his brothers story would have added to the depth of this movie as well. As it is, it’s a time capsule of the disco era. Thank god it stayed mostly in the 70’s.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      “a few years of polyester shirts”

      Heh, don’t knock Nik-Nik shirts. They were more expensive than some sports coats!!! My how things have changed.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, my CD collection includes a greatest hits collection of the Bee Gees. My favorite of their sons is probably “Stayin’ Alive”, which I think was from that movie.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I looked around a bit and have been unable to determine if “Stayin’ Alive” was written for the film or predated the film. But it was certainly in the movie. It’s the song covering the opening sequence…and a very effective sequence that is.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      I never saw the movie, but due to the time and place, I associate this film with “The Deer Hunter”.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Comparing “Grease” to “Guys and Dolls” (and even “West Side Story”), I think that “Grease” pulls off light and smarmy campiness far better than the other two, at least regarding the movie versions, with the exception of the truly excellent “Gee, Officer Krupke” which is second to none in terms of sheer wit, stylistic campiness, and humor.

    And unlike “Guys and Dolls,” “Grease” as a more engaging and plausible love story even though Olivia Newton-John does not act particularly well in this film. But in her musical numbers, she shines with 500 watt brilliance. Also, the music in “Grease” was demonstrably better than in “Guys and Dolls.” The “West Side Story” soundtrack is, however, quite strong as well.

    “Grease” also has a better supporting cast than “Guys and Dolls.” With the exception of Sheldon Leonard and the guy who sings (I forget his name) “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” In the case of “Grease,” the side characters are not glorified extras or caricatures. Actors such as Stockard Channing breath more life into their roles than that of a cliche. (Although, truth be known, Sheldon Leonard acts a wonderful cliche.)

    I would watch “Grease” again where the same can’t be said for either “Guys and Dolls” or “West Side Story.”

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      “the guy who sings (I forget his name) “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.””

      Stubby Kaye

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I have the Olivia Newton-John songs (or at least some od them) on her greatest hits CD. And while I like West Side story better than you do, “Gee, Officer Krupke” probably is my favorite song with its parody of excuse-making for juvenile delinquency (not to mention the “social disease” sequence.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Timothy, let me give you my synopsis review of “West Side Story.” I don’t expect you to agree with it. But they were my honest thoughts at the time. I present it for entertainment purposes, not to change anyone’s mind:

        I didn’t really want to do this review, but I felt I owed it to posterity: West Side Story

        Bad movies I enjoy ripping into. But although this movie is quite flawed, I don’t like ripping into it. There’s something quintessentially American about this film. It’s mass-marketed schmaltz. And like it or not, that is a major influence in our culture.

        I won’t bore you by reminding you that “West Side Story” is a take on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” I won’t do so because it’s irrelevant. Shakespeare did not have his hoodlums dressed like preppies and dancing gay in the streets.

        I like Natalie Wood, but she’s nothing special in this. Richard Beymer works as a kind of WASP punk, but the material he has to work with (the story) is sub-par and he does not shine like he could have.

        George Chakiris stands out as one of the pros and is a pleasure to watch. He and some of the songs give this movie whatever gravitas it has. And the set design is actually okay. It’s got a bit of a stage play feel to it at times.

        But although the story of Romeo and Juliet is a moving story, this story really goes nowhere. It doesn’t know it wants to be a gritty movie about gangs, a somewhat poignant R&J story, or a campy musical. It tends to succeed far too well at the latter.

        Overall, watching “West Side Story” seemed like eating your vegetables. Okay, I’ve seen an American classic, and I can now check it off my list.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          One thing I liked was Anita’s decision to place her love for Maria above her anger at Tony for killing her husband at the rumble. One can understand why the Jets didn’t trust her, but she was willing to try.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Well, here’s my review of the post-intermission segment of “My Fair Lady.”

    This movie degenerates to sheer cliched boredom. The build-up to the making and presenting of Eliza Doolittle is interesting and charming. But the rest of the story is a simply a plot we’ve all seen a thousand times before: Boy and girl are hostile to each other but it really betrays a latent love.

    Harrison works as the gruff professor early in the film, but he isn’t a good fit for the romantic counterpart to Hepburn. And although the songs he talks through in the early part of the film work, by the end of the film you wished a real singer had put some smoothness and feeling into the songs. For what it’s worth, this film is a little long and by the time you get near the end, I don’t particular care about this love story.

    But the sequence with Alfie singing “Get Me to the Church on Time” is, by far, the second half highlight. Much like “Guys and Dolls,” this film is another example of why I’m not too fond of musicals. I wouldn’t watch this one again (but will continue to re-watch “The Sound of Music,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and a few other notable musicals). I just don’t think this is one of the notables. And for all the build-up, the ending is truly anti-climactic.

    — Bad Brad.

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