3 July 2016 | dougdoepke
Powell Steals the Show
I hope they paid Powell triple. That rope dance she does is maybe the most demanding gauntlet of timing I've seen in years of viewing. I'm not surprised the rehearsal for it "knocked herself out cold", (IMDB). Then too, she's got the movie's comedic highpoint where Skelton has to bend her upside down and sideways while she's knocked out with sleeping pills. And catch that climactic top-like spin in front of the mock battleship that had me dizzy for a week. To me, the movie's really her showcase. On the other hand, Red's routines pick up slapstick momentum toward the end, but the first part has him do little more than wear a goofy grin. As a Skelton fan, I don't think it's the comedian's best showcase.
On the whole, the 100-minutes amounts to a rather unwieldy package, with a few over-stretched routines and an awkward Nazi subplot. But then this is 1943 and everybody's got to do their part. Note, for example, how class differences—a pants presser vs. a Broadway star—are overcome, while Blacks are presented in a non- demeaning way. It's like we've all got to pull together to defeat the Axis. And catch that last sequence where Red battles the Nazi Hodiak. Judging from the screen environs, I'll bet it was filmed in MGM's prop room with the lifts, props and catwalks all doing their part.
Overall-- as another reviewer points out—it's more a movie of parts than a whole. But some of those parts are fairly memorable. Most of all, however, hats off to the fearless Elinor Powell.