Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tonight's Movie: It's a Great Feeling (1949)

IT'S A GREAT FEELING is a rather bizarre but mildly amusing Warner Bros. comedy starring Dennis Morgan, Doris Day, and Jack Carson. The closest thing I can liken it to is one of Hope and Crosby's ROAD movies.

Carson and Morgan are ostensibly playing themselves in the film, although their film selves don't seem to have much resemblance to real life...for instance, they're portrayed as bachelor men about town types, and Morgan was many years into a 61-year marriage at this point. (Carson was nearing the end of his second marriage.) The plot premise is that no one at Warner Bros. wants to direct Carson in his next movie, because he's "such a ham," so Carson's going to direct it himself, and his buddy Morgan gets roped into starring in it as well.

Doris Day plays a waitress in the studio commissary who may get her big break starring in Carson and Morgan's film.

The movie is mostly set behind the scenes at the Warner Bros. studio, with side trips to the Hollywood Bowl and Schwab's Drugstore. The most enjoyable thing about the film is the cameo roles played by many Warner Bros. stars and directors, including Jane Wyman (with daughter Maureen Reagan), Ronald Reagan, Eleanor Parker, Patricia Neal, Joan Crawford, Edward G. Robinson, Gary Cooper, and more.

My favorite scene, though, was a rare quiet moment near the end of the film, when Doris sits alone in a railroad observation car and sings. The set and costume design, the music, and the glimpses of cafes through the train windows all added up to a lovely moment.

The final scene is also a classic...I won't say a word about it, so as not to spoil the surprise, but don't tune out before "The End" or you'll miss it!

This is one of many films teaming Morgan and Carson; you can read a little more about them in my review of TWO GUYS FROM MILWAUKEE (1946).

I'd love to know if actors like Morgan and Carson actually had off-set "dressing rooms" the size of small apartments on the WB lot!

IT'S A GREAT FEELING was directed by David Butler, who has a cameo in the film. Butler directed many of Doris Day's movies, including favorites such as BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON (1953) and CALAMITY JANE (1953).

The film runs 85 minutes. The supporting cast includes Bill Goodwin as a movie producer and Irving Bacon as an exasperated railroad clerk.

IT'S A GREAT FEELING is available on VHS, as well as on DVD in the newly released Doris Day TCM Spotlight Collection. I watched the DVD print, which is beautiful.

The DVD set, which is the third volume of Doris Day movies released to date, has some of her lesser-known musicals, including TEA FOR TWO, STARLIFT, and APRIL IN PARIS. (The fifth title in the set is one I didn't care for on a past viewing, THE TUNNEL OF LOVE.) These musicals are all brand-new to me so I'm very much looking forward to watching the rest of the set.

IT'S A GREAT FEELING can also be seen on TCM, which has the trailer available here.

May 2017 Update: IT'S A GREAT FEELING has been reissued on DVD by the Warner Archive.


Blogger David K. said...

Not great, but very entertaining especially because of the cameos. My favorites are Joan Crawford's and Eddie G.'s. The Color is spectacular too!

4:37 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I especially loved Crawford's last line, it was very funny. :) It's hard to pick but I think my favorite cameos were the Parker/Neal scenes.

Best wishes,

8:50 AM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Carson is the entire show -- without him, nada, with him completely and totally worthwhile.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hard to believe it's been around a dozen years since I last saw this -- I feel a yen to watch it again soon!

I've really come to appreciate Carson more in recent years. He and Doris had wonderful chemistry.

Best wishes,

7:23 PM  

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