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Hibi

I Dood It!!!

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They should have called it I DUD It! Did anyone watch this last night? I never realized they lifted the SAME musical number at the end from Born to Dance! If any one film points to why Eleanor Powell retired, this is it. Red Skelton gets billing over her. She has a nothing part, and disappears from most of the 2nd half of the film. They even brought in Lena Horne and Hazel Scott for a number. As a showcase for Eleanor Powell, this was NOT! I've never understood why MGM didnt showcase Powell better in her films. Even her best films are lacking (when you consider other MGM musical stars like Astaire, Kelly etc.)...

 

Edited by: Hibi on Mar 31, 2014 12:16 PM

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I'm always pleased to avoid Red Skelton at every opportunity. I turned the channel at 10pm last night, watched some Barney Miller reruns.

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Not only did they lift the finale from "Born to Dance," they also lifted that Hawaiian number she did from "Honolulu." MGM must have really been looking to cut expenses.

 

I though Eleanor Powell was showcased pretty well in"Born to Dance" and the 3 "Broadway Melody" movies she did. But another film in which she was given short shrift was "Lady Be Good." Even though she had top billing, other than dancing, she was called upon to do very little. Ann Sothern and Robert Young got most of the screen time.

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Dancing with a dog can definitely be considered short shrift. :-)

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I thought that hula dance looked familiar! Surprised RO didnt mention that too. And I agree, she was wasted in Lady Be Good. Hardly had anything to do........

 

Edited by: Hibi on Mar 31, 2014 1:01 PM

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Before I did what clore did and changed the channel(to watch the fantastically done updated "Cosmos" series) I only caught a little of this movie last night and came into it just as Skelton and Powell tell Thurston Hall in the nightclub that they've wed and then the somewhat cleverly done physical comedy routine were Red attempts to get the accidentally drugged with sleeping pills Eleanor into bed so she can sleep.

 

However, what I seemed to notice while watching those scenes is that while Eleanor may have been one of the great tap dancers in film, I don't think she was all that good an actress, as I felt her line-delivery and facial expressions were rather flat.

 

And I recall noticing this in a few other of the films I've seen her in over the years, and when she's not kicking up her heels in them. And so, maybe this is the reason MGM always seemed to give her short-shrift.

 

(...sorry all you Eleanor Powell fans out there, but that's how I see it)

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Wasn't Eleanor Powell the lady with the long hair and hoop dress in the Civil War play? I think she was in the film a lot but not in her usual dance routine or usual short haircut. She was outstanding in her cowgirl rope routine.

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Considering the quality of the scripts of her films, maybe that influenced her performances when she wasnt tapping away......You didnt miss much after that...........

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Yeah maybe, but it still seems to me that, say, Ginger Rogers for instance, could take the silliest of scripts and dialogue and still make them and her fun to watch.

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The Astaire/Rogers films are superior to any of Eleanor's films in every way. Ironic, considering MGM was considered the best musical studio....

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LOL. Well those were superior in every way also. My attention wanders until Eleanor starts dancing (which there isnt enough of...) in her films. Maybe hers did too...

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I think the film would've been better as just a vehicle with Red w/out Powell. It seemed like they threw her in there for entertainment value. It felt like an odd combination. The fact that they lifted 2 dance numbers from 2 other films of hers leads me to think she was a last minute addition....Like they were trying to cover their bases at the box office......I actually liked the bits with Red without Powell better....

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>My attention wanders until Eleanor starts dancing (which there isnt enough of...) in her films.

 

Well, I suppose that that's my point here. I don't think Eleanor ever projected enough "charisma"(for want of a better word) in scenes when she wasn't wearing her tap shoes...and regardless the quality or lack thereof of the dialogue she's given.

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>Like they were trying to cover their bases at the box office

 

I think you are right. This was a comedy, musical, crime drama, with a little of everything in it.

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I think what happened with her is that she had a multi-picture deal at MGM, and her first films were huge hits but then she started dropping off at the box office. They were stuck having to honor that contract, so they just used her as filler in some of these Red Skelton pics to finish out the contract.

 

Also, they waited until 1950 to use her in her last film for them, THE DUCHESS OF IDAHO, which was an Esther Williams vehicle, where she has one number. If she had said no, then she would have broken her contract and most of her tax-sheltered (deferred) salary would have been lost. She was willing to play the game-- to act as support to Skelton and Williams to honor the contract, even though MGM had long since wanted to be rid of her. It's sad that they did not appreciate her more.

 

So when we get to something like I DOOD IT, they are not recycling a production number to cut costs (because this was a very wealthy studio that made other costly films during this time)-- they were more accurately cutting costs on Eleanor Powell pictures and limiting any new scenes that had to be filmed with her.

 

They would also use one of her cut numbers from an earlier film in THE GREAT MORGAN, which did not require any new filming with her and which also helped satisfy the agreed upon number of pictures they had to feature her in. She was truly given the gate.

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Yes, that's how it felt to me. Not so much cutting costs in general, but cutting costs on the time spent filming with her (in I Dood It).

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The thing about THE GREAT MORGAN is that it only had a European release. So that film did not even get shown to American audiences until TCM came along. She was undervalued by the studio, and then they de-valued her by limiting her footage and the exhibition of her pictures. They, of course, held on to her through 1950, so she could not sign with another major studio. She married Glenn Ford and had a son, and I am sure that kept her occupied, but she was a performer and was unfairly sidelined. It's tragic what happened to her.

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All of a sudden, it's common fact that Eleanor Powell is considered the greatest female dancer in film history, hands down. I must have been living under a rock.

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>it's common fact that Eleanor Powell is considered the greatest female dancer in film history, hands down.

 

Who said that? It wasn't me. She was one of the greats, but she is not my favorite.

 

I think if I would rate female dancers from the golden age of Hollywood, I would rank them:

 

1. Rita Hayworth

2. Ann Miller

3. Ginger Rogers

4. Eleanor Powell

5. Vera-Ellen & Betty Grable (tie)

 

Honorable Mentions: Cyd Charisse, Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds (and anyone else I may have unintentionally overlooked)

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I had never heard of The Great Morgan until you mentioned it. After looking up the plot synopsis on this site, it sounds like a strange movie (put together using cut footage from other films) I noticed its being shown in June, I hope I remember to catch it.

 

It too bad they took Eleanor Powell for granted and lost interest in her after just a few years. Maybe she would've fared better with a partner(s) Aside from Astaire (once) I cant think of them giving her top flight talent to work with..........

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They should have paired Powell with Gene Kelly-- certainly not Red Skelton.

 

THE GREAT MORGAN is a charming bit of fluff that relies solely on the presence of Frank Morgan to hold it all together. Avoid it if you are not a Frank Morgan fan. Powell's number in it is not bad. The other pieces come from some of MGM's short films that had probably already been seen in American movie houses.

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>It was said last night by RO in his intro to BORN TO DANCE.

 

He's exaggerating (unless he really feels that way). Some of his wraparounds are a bit over-dramatic so that people will stay tuned for the whole movie. LOL

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I'll see it more for Eleanor's cut number. What film was it from, do you know?

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