Sign in to follow this  
Cinemascope

HIT THE DECK and KISMET (1955) - 4/07

26 posts in this topic

These are not top notch MGM films, but probably worth seeing if you like musicals. KISMET is a lavish bore even though its got a great cast and is directed by Vincente Minnelli. The best thing about this film is the music. Again the cast and the music are the best part of HIT THE DECK. Debbie Reynolds and Russ Tamblyn do a nice dance in a fun house

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I think MGM was already well in decline by 1955, following the ouster of L.B. Meyer and continuing competition with television. The MGM technicolor musical really reached its peak between 1951 and 1954...

 

Still, I guess any big fan of MGM musicals likes to watch them all, or all that are available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About that dance in a fun house...choreographer Hermes Pan is basically ripping himself off. He staged the same dance in the earlier A Damsel in Distress starring Fred Astaire, George Burns and Gracie Allen. Still fun to watch in either film, although I prefer the Fred Astaire version.

 

Sandy K

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MGM did actually turn out some very good musicals towards the end of the 50's: IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER, SILK STOCKINGS and the Oscar winning GIGI. .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes this is true, but I still feel that MGM started losing steam very rapidly following the ouster of L.B.M. and the steadily eroding profits as a result of television. Doesn't mean that they didn't still make a few real good movies, but generally the studio was on the decline, sadly.

 

Times were changing, too, I think with the exception of West Side Story and The Sound of Music there weren't a lot of very highly successful musicals in the 60's (obviously not including movies starring Elvis or The Beatles). Maybe I'm forgetting some, but overall I'm still left with the impression that the old-fashioned musical as we knew it under the studio system reached its peak in the first half of the 50's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with you. I always thought the end of the 50's essentially brought the end of the studio system although it continued through the 60's. Sadly, I consider 1960 the end of the golden age of Hollywood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hit the Deck is one of the more lavish and delightful confections from MGM's waning supremacy in musical motion picture entertainment. Other 'scope' musicals worth noting are, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Silk Stockings, Brigadoon and, of course, Gigi, and, post 50s but still worth a look - Bells Are Ringing.

 

Not in Cinemascope, but also notworthy from the 50s output is High Society in VistaVision.

 

I'm torn over Kismet - its lavish and has much to recommend it. But the key oddity in Minnelli's leaden direction was his distraction over pre-production on the film he actually wanted to do instead - Lust for Life (which, Minnelli-**** I hope will forgive me, I've always found just as stilted and dull as Kismet).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> Hit the Deck is one of the more lavish and delightful

> confections from MGM's waning supremacy in musical

> motion picture entertainment. Other 'scope' musicals

> worth noting are, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,

> Silk Stockings, Brigadoon and, of course, Gigi, and,

> post 50s but still worth a look - Bells Are Ringing.

 

You left out two other MGM Cinemascope musicals from the 50's - Rose Marie and Jupiter's Darling. Got them both on laserdisc a short while ago but haven't had time to watch them yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't leave out Rose Marie or Jupiter's Darling. Just don't think they're worthy of mentioning. The first is a vane attempt to recapture the lustre of Nelson Eddie and Jeanette MacDonald's glorious operetta from the 30s.

 

The latter is an elephantine (literally) and leaden film experience with Howard Keel and Esther Williams - fast on her way out of that glorious tenure that saw her through 26 acquacade musicals. Jup' is decidedly NOT one of her best or even her mediocre.

 

Sorry, hope this doesn't ruin your viewing experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never have to decide between any of them, because I think Donald O'Connor and Vera-Ellen are the best screen dancers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to know that these films are coming to dvd next year. It would be nice to have a Kismet double feature with 1944 Dietrich & Ronald Colman version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well yeah but in the meantime we can just record them off TCM... if and when they release a double set or something it'll be worth checking out! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It would be nice to have a Kismet double feature with 1944 Dietrich & Ronald Colman version."

 

From your mouth, to George Feltenstein's ears!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us