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Du Barry was a Lady (1943)
Topic Started: Mar 6 2017, 06:49 AM (170 Views)
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Du Barry was a Lady (1943) Dir. Roy Del Ruth
A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Picture produced by Arthur Freed
101 min. / Technicolor / 1.37:1
On DVD from Warner Bros.

Hat-check boy Red Skelton is in love with dubbed nightclub singer Lucille Ball, who loves songwriter/dancer Gene Kelly but won't marry him because he's poor. When Red wins $150,000 in the sweepstakes she promises to marry him, except he has a dream that he's back in the days of King Louis XV in France and decides the whole thing's a bum steer. He wakes up, they sing "Friendship" and go home.

MGM bought the rights to the Cole Porter show and tossed out almost all the songs, Ann Sothern showed up for work pregnant on day one and was hastily replaced by Miss Ball, and the whole thing is pretty much fashioned as a vehicle for the ever-mugging Mr. Skelton. Just to get all THAT out of the way. So we don't judge this by the stage show but by the movie, which is pretty good (I'd heard it was terrible, so maybe low expectations help). Mostly, the star of the show is Technicolor - the darn thing is so bright and colorful it's like looking at an animated box of crayons, the BIG Crayola box with the sharpener on the back (remember those?). Zero Mostel and Rags Ragland are around to add to the general mirth (Rags is okay, would've liked to see more of Zero, who is very funny) and Tommy Dorsey and his band keep popping over to do some nice numbers, including during the fantasy sequence, in which they're dressed like Paul Revere and the Raiders (but they don't do "Kicks", unfortunately). Virginia O'Brien's in here somewhere, too. The stage show had Bert Lahr and Ethel Merman and frankly, I'll bet it was better than this movie, but as I said, we have what we have. Gene has a big dance number and a song to sing early on, but mostly it's Red's show, which - to me, anyway - isn't a good thing.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Miss O'Brien: "I love you! I want you for the father of my children!"
Mr. Skelton: "I didn't know you had any."

Lucy is wonderful during the comedy sequences and dubbed (and dubbed as HELL) during the songs except for "Friendship", which, as I recall, she did on her TV show about 10 years later. Final summation: an okay film that's worth seein' once or twice.

The disc comes with a very good Pete Smith Specialty called Seeing Hands about a blind man's work during the war (and say, Warner Archive, where is the boxed set of Pete Smiths?!?!?) and an okay Barney Bear cartoon, Bah Wilderness.

"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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