Review

  • HIT THE DECK is a 1955 cinema scope mop up of MGM stars and talent whose contracts would have been soon to expire. A bit like a aircraft carrier version of DEEP IN MY HEART it hangs together a roster of singing and dancing talent but this time with ultimately fairly just-OK songs and energetic dance numbers. Still, even at its most bland it is still unable to be made in Hollywood today. The women are the most interesting talent on offer and whoever said Tony Martin had an audience apart from Mummas in delicatessens was truly misled. He is the most annoying part of this B grade musical with A grade MGM production values. Like he did with the Marx Bros films in the 30s. Kelly was making ITS ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER another 'sailors on leave' 1955 cinema scope MGM musical at the same time and that film with its Comden Green script and songs is light years ahead in sophistication and quality. Still HIT THE DECK has a two of very entertaining 'big' dance numbers, in particular the "finale" and the "Bayou" sizzler with its very erotic and blatant imagery and choreography. It is so out of place in this 'suburban' film as it is sooo good. The color is also very good for Eastman since MGM saw the error of their ways and stopped using horrible Ansco color which visually marred several big films in 53 and 54. This must have been as safe a bet in which MGM could expect to play out as many stars as possible in yet one more sailor musical. Russ Tamblyn and Debbie Reynolds are always cute in this era though.