Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Three Little Girls in Blue (1946) at USC

THREE LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE is one of two films I watched last night on my visit to USC.

It's a delightful remake of Betty Grable's MOON OVER MIAMI, set in a different location and era. (This plot, in fact, was used multiple times by Fox, including THREE BLIND MICE with Loretta Young, Joel McCrea, and David Niven.) This time around June Haver, Vivian Blaine, and Vera-Ellen are three farmgirl sisters who decide to pool a meager inheritance and search for millionaire husbands in turn-of-the-century Atlantic City. George Montgomery, Frank Latimore, and Charles Smith are prospective husbands. Marvelous Celeste Holm breezes into the final section of the film as Latimore's livewire matchmaking sister. This was Holm's film debut.

The actors are all engaging, the story is fun and well-paced, the sets and costumes are gorgeous, and all in all this is great '40s musical entertainment. The bright score includes the standard "You Make Me Feel So Young" and the bouncy "On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City."

A fun bit of movie trivia is that George Montgomery's singing was dubbed by Ben Gage, who also dubbed Dana Andrews in STATE FAIR. (More trivia: Andrews was actually a trained singer, but Fox wasn't aware of it and he figured the man dubbing him could use a job.) Gage was married to Esther Williams for a period of time and in 1959 starred on screen in a memorable MAVERICK TV episode spoofing GUNSMOKE, in which Gage played Marshal Mort Dooley.

THREE LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE runs 100 minutes and was directed by H. Bruce Humberstone who directed many enjoyable films including Charlie Chan movies and musicals starring Faye, Henie, Grable, and Kaye. He also directed the excellent film noir I WAKE UP SCREAMING, reviewed here last year.

This wonderful movie is not available on DVD or video. The print I saw, sadly, was very washed out and tinted pink; hopefully a future DVD release will allow this movie to be seen in its original Fox Technicolor glory.

2014 Update: This film is now available on DVD-R from the Fox Cinema Archives.


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