Year 9, Day 62 - 3/3/17 - Movie #2,562
BEFORE: Astaire and Rogers carry over again, it's Day 5 with Fred and Day 4 with the pair, which means now I'm halfway through my chain of their pairings, I've got 8 of their 10 films (I'm missing their first and their last). Here's what the rest of March is going to look like, after I finish with Fred and Ginger -
Fred Astaire leads me to Audrey Hepburn for two films, and one of those connects to Michael Caine, who'll be here for 6 films. The overlapping chain will also include two films with Jesse Eisenberg, two with Blake Lively, two with Reese Witherspoon, two with Nicolas Cage, two with Bruce Altman, and that will take me up to "The Bonfire of the Vanities". This chain's all been part of the plan for some time, but I could follow the Kirsten Dunst link from there to recent addition "Midnight Special", which leads me to "Black Mass", which leads me to "Doctor Strange". From there I can link to either "Black Hat" or "In the Heart of the Sea". That plan takes me up to March 30, it will take some more research on IMDB to see if I can link anywhere from there.
If I go out and see "Logan" next week I've definitely got a space for it, right between two other Hugh Jackman movies, but I just have no concrete way to link there now. I also have to think about linking to a couple of Easter-themed films, again, if it's possible. Two weeks from there to Good Friday? Let me see what I can do...
THE PLOT: A Navy sailor tries to rekindle a romance with the woman he loves while on liberty in San Francisco.
AFTER: Well, if "Top Hat" shared a cast and a few plot elements with "The Gay Divorcee", this one shares cast members and plot points with "Roberta" - so I'm starting to think there are two sets of co-stars for Fred and Ginger, and two main plot ideas, and they just toggled between them at some point. Once again Fred's character rolls into town, and finds his old girlfriend, played by Ginger, and they dance. Once again Randolph Scott's character is in a love triangle and has to choose between two women - the sophisticated snob and the sincere, down-to-earth girl.
And once again, there's some identity confusion, as Fred's "Bake" Baker gets the sophisticated, snobby girl to audition for the show - the audition calls for her to read seductive lines while wearing a negligée. And then Randolph Scott's "Bilgey" character is placed where he can see this, so he'll think that his girlfriend is carrying on with Bake, and therefore she won't be worthy of him.
The problem here is, Bilgey is as shallow as the ocean is deep - and he's only going out with the snobby woman because simple, down-to-earth Connie pushed for marriage just a bit too quickly, and he wasn't ready to settle down. If he really loved her, why couldn't he just ask her to wait a few years, or even a few months? But Connie doesn't really have that much experience with men, so maybe she blurted out the thought of marriage a little too early, is that any reason to dump her?
I say that even though this is the relationship we're "supposed" to root for, Bilgey and Connie, it seems fairly doomed from the start. Connie got Bilgey to pretend to be her date, so she could get in to the Paradise Club to see her sister Sherry (Ginger) perform, and then suddenly she was sweet on him, because they shared this club-entry moment? That's not much to base a solid relationship on. And Bilgey wouldn't even dance with her when she was dressed like the school teacher that she is, it was only after getting a make-over at the club, to look like a glamour girl, that Bilgey showed any interest in her at all.
Really, Connie, you could do so much better. Why set your sights on the first man who notices you, when he only really cares about you when you're all dolled up? How's he going to feel about you a year or two down the road, when you've reverted to your drab, school teacher look? Again, it's not a good sign for a long, healthy relationship - he'll chase after the first glamorous girl he sees, right?
Bake and Sherry do everything they can to get Bilgey and Connie together, and of course they succeed, but I just wonder if it's worth the effort. He only agrees to marry Connie when he can't marry the glamorous snobby widow, and who wants that? Drop this Navy seaman, Connie, and hold out for someone who loves you for being you!
At least the actress who played Connie eventually met her on-screen and off-screen match in Ozzie Nelson - remember "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"? Nah, me neither, that was a bit before my time.
More songs from Irving Berlin tonight, probably the most famous is "Let's Face the Music and Dance", but there's also "Let Yourself Go" and "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket". But who the heck writes a love song titled "Get Thee Behind Me, Satan"? Did Irving lose a bet or something?
Overall, it's a standard technique for what to do with a star once they've made a few pictures, and they didn't just want to make the same exact story over and over (similar, sure, but not identical). When in doubt, send them into the army, or the navy. They did it with Abbott & Costello, and later with Martin and Lewis.
Also starring Randolph Scott (last seen in "Roberta"), Harriet Hilliard (aka Harriet Nelson), Astrid Allwyn, Harry Beresford, Russell Hicks (last seen in "Hold That Ghost"), Brooks Benedict (ditto), with cameos from Betty Grable (last seen in "The Gay Divorcee"), Lucille Ball (carrying over again from "Top Hat").
RATING: 4 out of 10 dance tickets