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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #7 (From TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME)

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1) Each shot captures a movement that was specifically planned. There is no dead time. Each movement has a purpose and the camera has to catch that. They had the close ups for the moments where the characters were close together but panned out to catch the moments in the stands.

2) From the very beginning this scene was choreographed, which is what gives it away as a musical number. Frank Sinatra comes out of the locker room and Betty Garrett is waiting for him. He tries to avoid her and what ensues is a jumping back and forth between them that almost looks like part of a dance. 

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I love today's Daily dose since I am a sports fan and also a sports film fan. So excited to see the blending of two of the genres ---sports film and musical --- and more excited to see that the film goes so marvelously well considering the time when it was produced. 

While I am amazed at the techniques shown in the clip, I am more intrigued by the gender issue reflected and played between the two leading characters. We know the film is a WWII film and during the war women stayed behind and took on men's jobs. I was wondering if the masculine way of portraying the characters is Garrett's own acting choice or the director's, or the editor's intentions to highlight them and implicitly made it into a feminist-like film before feminism became mainstream like in later decades. The field of sports, like the baseball stadium, is masculine and often considered as men's space, but in the clip, I see this reversed power play where Garrett dominates both the actual male body and physical male space --- a deed I find very nontraditional and inspirational in the sense of gender.  

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I can see the variety of shots and the way that editing creates the dynamics of the chase. But, the technical expertise does not make me like the movie. It is shrill and grating and miscast. Look at the opening shot of Sinatra: in seconds his jaunty walk and gestures establish him as someone with style and confidence, not the wimp that his interactions with Betty Garret are about to suggest.The shots through the labyrinth of hallways are like a brightly lit nightmare with spiraling movements that would fit right into Vertigo. As the scene widens out into the bleachers, we get a sense of a maze that is impossible to excape for Sinatra who makes his final desperate and fruitless break for freedom down the railing (with the help of a stunt double). The scene contains a large number of medium shots of the performers, often when they are singing. In almost every one, side views dominate but Garrett seems to be more brightly lit and her yellow costume stands out while Sinatra's muted neutrals blend in with the background. The long shots show the pursuit and the large expanse of territory that Garrett dominates. (I remembered the use of the bleachers in Grease as I watched this scene.) I know that this scene is a classic girl chases boy trope, but it just feels wrong somehow.

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  1. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

The actions are not just actions, such as the running/chase/pursuit. They are so entertaining that they actually become part of the dance/song number.

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Sinatra and Garrett-what a joy and what show stoppers!

I'm beginning to realize Sinatra's ability to express a believable onscreen innocence in his early movie musicals like this one and "On The Town",  are a big part of the allure of his early screen persona.

I also think his dancing and comedic timing are a very underrated part of his overall talent.

A big fan also of Gene Kelly but I found his performance in this film too over the top for me.

And Esther Williams--she's OK but out a tad of place in this film-I almost wonder if the studios felt they had her under contract and just wanted to plug her in to vehicles where ever they could find a place for her.

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Some clever choreography, with each action corresponding to the musical effect.  For this to be effective, the shots have to highlight each of those actions as we're listening to the score.  It's fun to watch.  Interesting that Frank had a minor part in this number.  

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1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

The shots before they head out to the bleachers are medium shots, because we only need to focus on the actors, but we still need to be able to see them move for comedic affect. When they first run out to the bleachers, we get a wide shot of the entire set, so we can see the expansive new place they are in, and know how large it is. Later when Sinatra runs up to the top of the bleachers, it's also a wide shot so we can see how far up he runs to get away from her. It's a good use of the spacious set that's been established. Most of the other shots are also medium shots. I don't think there are any close ups, because the choreography is very important for the scene: the audience needs to be able to see the perfectly timed humorous chase by Garrett. 

2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

Before they even start singing, their actions start to directly match the music, such as when she blocks him from going past her, and a note plays each time they move. This is similar to the choreography in the song, so it creates a seamless transition through action. Also, before they begin singing the song, they move to a new location. The new scenery prepares the audience for a new scene or new tone, so it prepares the audience for a song. She also shouts "Hey!" right before she begins singing. It's the only spoken dialogue in the clip, and it's all the lead up we need to the song, since visually we've already seen her chase after him.

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It's interesting in this film (take me out to the ball game) it's the woman going after the man not the other way around. In the movie on the town when they pair up Sinatra and Garrett again it,s girl chases boy.

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First of all, I adore these two together and love that Betty is the aggressor. I think they are cute and it works really well with Frank's character both in this movie and On the Town. He is the shy one both compared to Betty and to Gene Kelly. This is true of Gene and Frank in Anchors Aweigh also.. they are played as opposites. 

Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

This scene is awesome for that. The camera work follows them really well and I love how it switches when she backs him up against the wall. It highlights her hand before she knocks. The wider shot that pans up as she chases him up the bleachers is also great. 

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

The music increasing in intensity as she chases him outside lets us know a song is coming. 

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Daily Dose #7

My comments may be jumbled up & confusing ...hope not ...here goes

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" Frank Sinatra (Ryan) & Betty Garrett (Delwyn)...this is very humorous he runs from her to get away or to not be caught by her literally  & she chases him through the building & up the bleachers

(Wiki) reported a stunt double being used for the slide down the railing...I guess so..can't damage Frank Sinatra!!!

She (Garrett) is pretty in her spring yellow dress...she is spring...I don't know enough about dance to make comments about arm movements & so on...they are not really dancing they are moving to music & it is all but perfect & makes it seem like they are dancing & that is the genius of it... sound matches movement. The actors facial expressions & singing works perfectly...Sinatra not being a professional dancer ...she did catch him...it was fate...FATE

Garrett & Sinatra work great together & demonstrated this again in "On the Town" where she once again goes after  him full force...it is adorable. In this move"On the Town" Sinatra plays a sailor (Chip) w/one day shore leave & is joined by Gene Kelly (Gabey) & Jules Munshin (Ozzie) & Vera-Ellen (Ivy Smith) aka Miss Turnstiles...Garrett is a cab drives (Hildy) ...Gabey falls in love w/a poster of Miss Turnstiles they get into (Hildy's) cab,  go to the museum & the plot & fun begins 

Once again Garrett chases Sinatra all the while screaming (lightly) that is it FATE! This worked in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" so they did it again...I'm glad they did it again.

I like "On the Town" better than "Ballgame" & the  'fantasy' scene  w/ Kelly outside the theater is worth watching this movie for...well that & Kelly's ballet training style dancing...he was muscled up but very light & so graceful  on his feet for someone w/ all those hidden muscles...he did show off his muscles in the movie w/ Judy Garland "The Pirate"

I have read that if Kelly did not like a certain actor/dancer/singer he did not mind having them know it!  If he was on their side that was dandy.  (Wiki)

The car chase in "On the Town" was great when they hid the cab beneath the awning & w/  the big sign...I usually dislike high speed car chases but this one worked ...also prior to this scene the boys (Gabey, Chip & Ozzie) dressing as girls...nuff said

A brief mention of Florence Bates (Madame Dilyovska) who likes to drink & spoil the plans for Chip & Miss Turnstiles aka Ivy & ...keep the plot rolling...she turns up in another scene drinking again after the plot is all but finished

I will watch this movie again

NOTE:  Bathing Beauty Red Skelton...he is not my favorite & the clip w/...is that Carlos Ramirez)? sing to Ester Williams?  It hurt my ears & I turned the sound off...what can I say...I impossible to watch b/c Skelton is not my favorite...just telling the truth

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1.     Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

At the risk of imposing an unintended baseball metaphor on this clip, one could argue that Garrett is simulating the role of a catcher blocking the plate and getting Sinatra in a “run down,” keeping him from getting past her.  I saw this as soon as he leaves the locker room and tries to walk down the hall and around the corner.  Even though there is no actual dance in this scene, their slide steps come close as she keeps stepping in front of him.  As they come out into the stadium, the camera remains stationary, with Sinatra seeming to gain distance between himself and Garrett.  However, when she calls out to him, we switch to a camera shot over his shoulder and the two seem closer to each other than in the previous shot.  This is the first time she catches up to him.  Later, they continue the “run down” up the bleachers where she finally catches up to Sinatra again, as he tries to scale the wall (a move that outfielders occasionally must make to grab a fly ball?)  With this chase as well, Sinatra seems to gain some distance; however, Garrett closes the gap as Sinatra hits the wall once more.  Once Garrett does catch him, she says that he is her “dish,” which might have double meanings here, one of which extends the metaphor I’m trying to develop.  Of course, a dish could simply refer to someone’s favorite food.  However, I believe at that time (dating back to the 20s) dish was slang for an attractive person.  Dish can also be slang for home plate, the catcher’s domain.  Also—stretching this metaphor a bit too far perhaps—as a catcher, she is hoping to catch him as a mate, and does she finally come closer to her goal as he slides down the tunnel wall right into her arms?

2.     It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

The director prepares us for the song within its baseball context right away.  Sinatra leaves the locker room carrying a baseball, which sets up the segue into the double meaning in the first line of the song about making his mind up to play ball with her.  And he pretends to take the line literally by tossing her the ball.  Garrett then sings to Sinatra about not waiting until next season (a term often associated with sports) to do what he should do right now, since his future is “inescapable” anyway.  Sinatra’s attempted escape up the tunnel and his attempts to escape Garrett once they are in the stadium continue the motif that the segue established before the song itself.

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Within this relationship, with Betty Garrett and Frank Sinatra, is a reversal of roles where a woman, who looks and seems physically stronger and more confident is pursuing a frailer, child-like man. It's this dynamic that adds to the humor of their exchange and still makes it a delight to watch every time I see them in Take Me Out to the Ball Game and On the Town.

1) Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

In the first shot, where Garrett playfully steps in front of Sinatra, then chases him out into the stands the beginning of the song, It's Fate Baby, It's Fate,  a pursuit is enacted that shows the motivation behind her plans for him. From there, when she puts her arms around him, picks him up, then finally catches him at the end of the song when he tries to escape, she demonstrates how her dominance and persuasion will eventually win him over. The actual chasing is preceded by physical actions that seem very seductive and are utilized to capture Sinatra as if he were prey.

2) It's interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for singing?

The intense back and forth play between Garrett and Sinatra, when she surprises him under the stands, helps set up the song, because, from the look on her face, she's determined to create an outcome that she knows will be beneficial to both of them romantically. With his back to us, and her steady, flirtatious gaze we know the scene that follows will be fun and memorable. Then when we finally hear the song, we aren't disappointed with the payoff, we're charmed and amused instead. 

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I feel like with each shot we see exactly what we need to see of the action throughout the musical number. The camera pans out so we can see long shots like the tossing of the baseball, them running up the bleachers, and the slide down the railing at the end of the number. Then we have close-ups where there's touching, the knocking on the bleachers, the finger that Betty points back and forth between them, etc. And the number is also seamlessly put together by the editing so there are no cuts, no jumping and we feel each moment smoothly transition into the next.

The soundtrack to me kind of sets up the idea of this musical number by the heightened frenzy of the tempo. You feel that something is about to go down and that it will be intense. Betty chasing Frank up into the bleachers of the ballpark also gives us the feeling that she has something she wants to say and won't give up until he surrenders. Which he does by throwing that baseball and kicking off the number.

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In "Take Me Out to the "Ball Game," we have the ideal chase scene, with Frank Sinatra coming out of the locker room happily playing with a baseball, completely obvious to any potential disaster. The music changes as Betty Garrett begins blocking his escape routes. He's not interested - but she's determined, as we see in shot after shot, from the long underground hall, to field, to bleachers (what a trouper, running up and down in those shoes!) to back wall, and back down again to field. The movements build, sway and jerk in perfect time to the music and must have been a nightmare to film. She sticks to him in spite of his many efforts to escape, so we know she's serious...we just don't know why she's not giving up on this man that isn't falling down at her feet.

It's only through song, though, that we discover her actual feelings; otherwise we can only guess why brazen Betty is determined to chase after someone who is so disinterested in her ("it's fate, baby"). And only through song that we hear his feelings, and get the final results of the chase. The build up is entertaining, but we need the song to get through to the next scene. And without the build up, we have no reason for the song.

I enjoy this scene - Betty has the perfect 1940's novelty voice, like Virginia Wiedler in the 1930's, and she later plays a pivotal role in the movie, saving the day. This isn't one of my favorite movies - Esther doesn't have the nice big production swimming scenes (but you do get some completely irrelevant Irish dancing to make up for it) - but it's fun.

 

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1. This scene has more mid planes and the camera moves when they move and when they stop. For the editor, the raccords help in the fluidity of the scene.

2. The way she stands in front of him hindering her passing already as in a dance move and the soundtrack also already showing a movement serve as an introduction to the musical scene that will begin.

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The musical scene was set up so similarly to other movies. For one, there is an absence of dialogue between the two characters. As Frank Sinatra's characters enter the scene he doesn't acknowledge Betty Garrett's character, in part because he doesn't see her but also because it allows the music to swell, which is the second element. Once he sees her, there is still no dialogue and the music begins to grow and fills the scene as the two begin the musical sequence. Before Betty Garrett begins to sing the song, she only says one word, "Hey!," and the music drives the action as she chases him around the bleachers. In a way, the absence of dialogue and the music prepares the audience for the song to come. 

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This is a fun song! I really enjoy Betty Garrett in musicals, and her work with Frank Sinatra always comes out feeling very natural.

This song shows that women can be the strong partner in relationship. It's interesting to see the stereotypical male/female roles reversed. I don't know if Blanche Sewell had any input in this scene, but it seems to have been devised by a woman. I doubt if there were many men in the 1940s who would readily show a beautiful woman being the pursuer rather than the pursued.

As mentioned in the lecture and notes, even though this is not a typical dance number, it still feels like one. Betty's and Frank's coordinated movements are more dance than simple walking, running, etc. This technique turns the song into a strong plot element.

 

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

As a director I look at the script and get the first motivations for my actors. The theme is the pursuit or chase with a comical twist as the female character played by Betty Garrett's character Shirley is chasing Frank Sinatra's character Denny. I want consistency in the scene. Shirley remains aggressive and determined. Denny remains naive and sensitive like a teenager. The running gag in the film perhaps as Sinatra was actually 34 when he shot the film. Early in the film Gene Kelly's character alludes to Denny's inexperience with woman by saying 'You know Denny you are getting old enough to find out'. 

Next I'd be taking a look at my set and getting the big picture. The actors are running up and down an entire section of bleacher seats. The last row of bleachers butts up against the back wall of the stadium and the sides of the bleachers are blocked as well. So Denny is going to get cornered and caught but he'll do all he can to get out.

When he is caught there is physical contact between the actors initiated and dominated by Shirley.

So I take the actors through each scene, go over their motivation and the physical interactions. Not a Director in real life so I don't know how the details where the extras come in for choreographed scenes are discussed.

Then we shoot each scene and switch out stand ins and do retakes until I get the feel that I want as I picture the the film running up this point and forward toward the capture and the beginning of the funny but awkward courtship to come. 

I'm also getting the nod from technicians that the lighting looked good, coordinated with the sound technicians and there is enough material for the Film Editor to work with

As a Film Editor I'm hoping the Director worked with the technicians to get me enough material to put together. That there was careful attention to the actors responding to the pre recorded sound, that the lighting was consistent, color used smartly. 

I think I am spending many hours repeating film segments and matching up sound. Looking for the best takes. Maybe I'm going back and forth with the Director reviewing takes and picking the best look. I go back and forth in sessions with more and more completed product until there are significant scraps on the proverbial editing floor and what survives is a contiguous integrated entire film ready to screen for the Producer before release. 

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

We get a brief moment in the stadium outside of the locker room where Shirley is waiting for her prey. She blocks Denny's path. The music begins to swell up and quicken as if to suggest there is a chase coming next. Then Denny bolts with Shirley in hot pursuit. 

This continues as Denny starts to get some distance from Shirley with a crescendo in the music and suddently a synchronized shout of 'Hey!'. Shirley is signaling that she has a song to sing and Denny better listen up. Because as the song goes. 'Its Fate Baby'. 

Aside Note: 

Betty Garrett was one of my favorite MGM stars. She was beautiful and fun to watch on screen. I didn't get to know her until after the TV show 'Laverne & Shirley'. Her character was wonderful on that show too. Later when I discovered her MGM work I was floored. 'She's absolutely gorgeous and she can sing and dance. I'm in love'

 

  

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Shirley and Dennis chemistry kind of fell flat for me.  But i'd still be interested to see the entire film before complete critique.

 

 

Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. 

The camera moves very well with each character and draws attention to the sharp movements of the pair. At first Dennis is relaxed but then tenses as Shirley approaches and leads him into her arms which he still appears to be fighting as we clip ends. He never seems comfortable with her just like she never seems comfortable trying to control him. The movements are jerky but keep you following from the walls to the bleachers to the railing. I was impressed she could pick him up.

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

I always think there is a certain feeling before a musical number starts. An extra long pause or a lead up that you know could be followed by a song. Which is what this musical did. This lead up is queued by intensifying music and sudden movements that gravitate to a shift towards a musical number.

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1. This sequence starts in the hallway outside the player's locker room. Ms. Garrett traps Sinatra--she's "laying in wait" for him. He runs from her and she chases him all the way to the bleachers. There's a feeling of tension created by her unwanted advances here. Then when she says, "Start playing ball with me," they literally toss a ball. Later she grabs him by the ear when she's talking about it being too late--he's caught--it's fate. She gets him in the end--literally--when he slides down the railing backwards and lands in her arms. Mission accomplished! 

2. This sequence prepares us for the singing when Ms. Garrett traps Sinatra in the hallway and chases him to the bleachers like he's prey. She has him trapped--he's a captive audience and so are we.

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1. The most notable thing to me re: the shots used in this sequence is how it's made very clear who the camera is meant to focus on: Betty Garrett. The way that it follows her every move - even so far as to stay steadily trained on her as Frank Sinatra literally slides out of frame, until she follows him - highlights her intention to call the shots in both her and Sinatra's characters' romantic future. It is as if the camera - and in turn, the audience - is already sold on the idea of the two of them ending up together, and is faithfully tagging along for the chase, as if to say, "What the hell's the matter with you, Sinatra?!"

2. The funniest thing about the use of musical segue in this scene is that it reminded me the most of the old Warner Bros. cartoons, where the orchestral soundtrack is perfectly synced to the motions of the characters. In animation, you know that the music is helping to build the action to some sort of comedic climax. However, even though we get the feeling that the endgame is different in this film - no exploding TNT or walking off a cliff here - the music is still implying that something's got to give in terms of where the action is going to go. Just as with, say, Road Runner and Wile. E Coyote, there's a chase sequence, but we need to know why it's happening. Our question is ultimately answered as the music picks up tempo and crescendos to match a punctuated, "Hey!" from Garrett, beginning her song.

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1. Like others have said Garrett's character is in complete control. She constantly trapping in him corners and catching up with Sinatra's character. She even carries him briefly, which is briefly impressive! What's interesting to me is most of the scene takes place on the bleachers. Just goes to show that love is a sport itself that happens on and off the field! 

2. The music cues that Garrett's moves to outside the locker room prepare the viewer for the number. 

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I don't have a lot to say about the questions our professor has posed that others haven't already covered.  I will say that though I've watched this film many times, I noticed new things while watching this scene today as a result of the prompts given us.  The segue was smooth, in that the movements of the two performers corresponded seamlessly with the music as they led into the choreographed routine.  I say choreographed, even if there wasn't really dancing - it was just so carefully timed and crafted.  It reminded me of that wonderful (albeit brief) opening segment to An American in Paris, where we see Gene Kelly arising in his tiny walk-up and going through the motions of getting ready for the day.  There is no dancing, but it's timed like a dance would be.  I have a deeper appreciation for the work and attention to detail required to put these sequences together.

 

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6 hours ago, MotherofZeus said:

I'm currently watching Easter Parade with Peter Lawford, and having watched Esther yesterday, I'm terribly thankful that he never made a movie opposite Esther Williams (please don't prove me wrong) as he seems the male equivalent of Esther. Dullsville. Classically attractive but utterly lacking in charisma. 

Actually, they did appear together in On An Island With You, a 1948 musical comedy. It was one of MGM's most popular movies that year. Lawford played a navy flyer who woos Williams while serving as a technical adviser on a movie in which she is performing. Cyd Charisse and Ricardo Montalbano were the second leads in what I found to be an entertaining film. Life is expectations. Lawford was not the best singer on the lot but was popular enough to have starred in this film as well as in Good News, Two Sisters From Boston, Easter Parade, It Happened in Brooklyn and Royal Wedding.

 

esther-williams-and-peter-lawford.jpg

lawford and Allyson.jpg

lawford garland.jpg

ithappenedinbrooklyn.jpg

twosistersfromboston.jpg

royal wedding.jpg

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9 minutes ago, thinman2001 said:

Actually, they did appear together in On An Island With You, a 1948 musical comedy. It was one of MGM's most popular movies that year. Lawford played a navy flyer who woos Williams while serving as a technical adviser on a movie in which she is performing. Cyd Charisse and Ricardo Montalbano were the second leads in what I found to be an entertaining film. Life is expectations. Lawford was not the best singer on the lot but was popular enough to have starred in this film as well as in Good News, Two Sisters From Boston, Easter Parade, It Happened in Brooklyn and Royal Wedding.

 

esther-williams-and-peter-lawford.jpg

lawford and Allyson.jpg

lawford garland.jpg

ithappenedinbrooklyn.jpg

twosistersfromboston.jpg

royal wedding.jpg

It doesn't make it right...

I actually think I've seen this as I remember Ricardo and Cyd but not Esther and Peter.  He was also in It Could Happen To You and Little Women and neither lead heroine ends up with him -- for a reason. Different strokes for different folks, it seems.  I am glad you found the film I dread, and I'm glad there are Lawford fans out there.  He made a fine Rat.

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