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


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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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).

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> 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.

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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.

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