Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tonight's Movie: The Time, The Place and the Girl (1946) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL (1946) is one of several Dennis Morgan-Jack Carson films recently released by the Warner Archive.

I reviewed Morgan and Carson's amusing TWO GUYS FROM TEXAS (1948) last weekend, and I think I might have enjoyed the Technicolor confection THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL even more.

Those of us who love Westerns sometimes refer to "darn good Westerns" -- movies which aren't classics of the genre and maybe are not even that well known, but which deliver a lot of enjoyable entertainment value. Watching THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL caused me to think maybe we should also talk about "darn good musicals"!

THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL isn't a movie anyone seems to remember especially well, but it's cheerful and entertaining, leaving the viewer smiling and humming the tunes. Indeed, the final rendition of Arthur Schwartz and Leo Robin's lilting "Oh, But I Do" also left me with happy tears in my eyes...it was just so '40s! Real "feel good" music.

Morgan and Carson play Steve and Jeff, who plan to open the Bamboo Club next door to a mansion owned by famous classical maestro Ladislaus Cassel (S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall). Sakall's overbearing manager (Donald Woods), who also manages the singing career of Cassel's lovely granddaughter Victoria (Martha Vickers), abhors the idea of swing music next door -- especially swing music which might keep Victoria awake at night! -- and works to shut the club down.

Steve and Jeff have a fallback plan, shipping off the business manager with Victoria's grandmother (Florence Bates) and signing on the maestro and Vicki to be in a new stage show. In a nutshell, this is a "Let's put on a show, kids!" movie on a big scale.

In addition to "Oh, But I Do," the score includes some other good tunes, including "A Gal in Calico" and the splashy "Rainy Night in Rio," which is part of the movie's colorful finale.

Some viewers might want to know in advance that the film also includes a blackface number, a common entertainment tradition of the era which today tends to cause head-shaking bewilderment.

Janis Paige brings her usual vivacity to the film as Carson's gal, while 21-year-old Martha Vickers is endearingly sweet and lovely. Though best known for a decidedly un-innocent role, as Carmen Sternwood in the classic THE BIG SLEEP (1946), here Vickers is simply enchanting. She was dubbed by Sally Sweetland, who also dubbed Joan Leslie in some of her Warner Bros. musicals.

Vickers had brief marriages to A.C. Lyles and Mickey Rooney and was the mother of Mickey's son Teddy. She had a longer marriage to actor Manuel Rojas, but died of cancer far too young; she was just 46 when she passed away in 1971.

Janis Paige, incidentally, would go on to a big Broadway success in the original Broadway cast of PAJAMA GAME in the '50s, and she's still with us today, at the age of 93.

Angela Greene, seen at the left, has a nice supporting role as Steve's conniving ex, who's chasing after a millionaire Texan (Alan Hale Sr.).

The movie was directed by David Butler, and it was filmed by Arthur Edeson and William V. Skall. The running time is 105 minutes.

The Warner Archive print shows off the film's lovely Technicolor. It looks terrific. The disc includes the trailer.

Musical fans should enjoy this one. Coming soon: A review of Morgan and Carson in TWO GUYS FROM MILWAUKEE (1946), costarring everyone's favorite sweetheart of the '40s, Joan Leslie. (Update: Here is the review of TWO GUYS FROM MILWAUKEE!)

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.

3 Comments:

Blogger mel said...

Something that you didn't mention, Laura, is that this is a rare opportunity to see the great Carmen Cavallaro in action on piano. For me, that was the cherry on top. Thanks - I think I'll take another look at it over the weekend!

11:16 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Oh, yes, the piano scenes were great! I wasn't previously familiar with Cavallaro. One more element which made this film very enjoyable. Thanks for mentioning it!

Best wishes,
Laura

12:17 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

For anyone interested, I just found a lovely Margaret Whiting recording of "Oh, But I Do" and added it to my iTunes. A beautiful song!

Best wishes,
Laura

12:35 AM  

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