I have always enjoyed revisiting this Warner Brothers comedy musical for a variety of reasons led by the voice of Doris Day and the antics of Jack Carson.
It’s really all one big “in joke” amongst the contract players and stars at the famed studio. Frequent costars Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan are teamed again to play….. themselves. Slated to star once again in a movie together no director is willing to work with the egotistical back stabbing Carson. Walsh, Curtiz, Vidor and even this films real director David Butler appear as themselves all stating emphatically they will not work with Carson. The only man left in town willing to direct the “big ham” is Carson himself. That doesn’t sit well with Morgan who promptly pulls out of the film.
Carson soon enlists commissary waitress Doris Day to help get Morgan back on board. Day is perhaps the one character not playing herself in the entire film. She’s hoping to be discovered and become a Warner’s star. Believing that Carson will give her a role in his new film she plays along. Not long after that both Carson and Morgan realize they’ve acted like a couple of heels and aim to get Doris the break she so desires.
This doesn’t stop either of them from trying to out maneuver the other in the hopes of capturing Doris’ heart either. Sadly for the both of them she has her heart set on her small town boyfriend back in Guerkey’s Corner Wisconsin by the name of Jeffrey Bushdinkle. Between songs and comedy Doris decides the Hollywood life isn’t for her and decides to head back home. Can our two leading men put a stop to this and get her the leading role in Carson’s picture? I’m not saying.
This comedy musical is easy on the eyes with it’s technicolor photography and a chance to see so many of the studios stars appearing as themselves in cameo skits. Gary Cooper exchanges “yeps” with Morgan, Eddie G. Robinson plays tough with the studio guard and Ronald Reagan sets up Carson to make an ass out of himself in the studio barbershop. He;s such an easy mark.
Anytime I can sit back and catch so many stars in one film from the studio era is for me a fun opportunity. Joan Crawford lays into the boys, Syd Greenstreet takes a swipe at Carson, Danny Kaye, Eleanor Parker, Patricia Neal and Jane Wyman are in here as well.
Although the film loses it’s momentum down the stretch the opening gags between Morgan and Carson make for a winning formula only heightened by the voice of Miss Day on a couple of tunes. If they could have just omitted or rewritten the gags of Bill Goodwin as the producer seeing an annoyingly grinning Day at every turn I’d feel better about the whole thing.
I recently picked up Variety Girl from Paramount which features many of their contract players. I’ll have to give that one a look and see how it compares.
This film is available as part of the Doris Day TCM spotlight collection if you decide to pick up a copy.