On the Riviera (1951)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Musical


On the Riviera (1951) Poster

An American entertainer impersonates a wealthy aviator and flirts with his lookalike's neglected wife.


6.4/10
730

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  • Gene Tierney and Danny Kaye in On the Riviera (1951)
  • Gene Tierney and Jean Murat in On the Riviera (1951)
  • Gene Tierney and Danny Kaye in On the Riviera (1951)
  • Gene Tierney and Danny Kaye in On the Riviera (1951)
  • Gene Tierney in On the Riviera (1951)
  • Gene Tierney and Jean Murat in On the Riviera (1951)

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27 April 2017 | jcorelis-24336
6
| Interesting as a period piece
On the Riviera is the third film made from a stage play called The Red Cat, the other two being L'homme des Folies Bergère (1935) with Maurice Chevalier and That Night in Rio (1941) with Don Ameche. The plot is an example of a genre that goes right back to Plautus and Shakespeare: the comedy and confusion that result when two people who happen to look identical keep getting mistaken for each other. In this case, the two people (both played by Danny Kaye) are a famous French transatlantic aviator and an American entertainer playing a club on the French Riviera. This seems like a very obscure film: it's not found in any of the half-dozen standard film guides I happen to have, though it's in IMDb.

The film, directed by Hollywood workmanlike director Walter Lang (who made a number of other 50s musicals, like this one now mostly forgotten,) is a semi-musical; that is, there are plenty of song and dance numbers, but they are all stage performances. The most interesting aspect of the film is its display of Kaye's multiple talents as a singer, dancer, comic and impressionist -- he's the sort of performer popular in the thirties through early sixties, but now seems an almost extinct species.

The film is an interesting period piece for its sumptuous female fashions and as an early example of what would become mainstream American Hollywood musical entertainment, and if you are interested in those topics, or in Kaye, this will be worth watching. Others may find it only moderately entertaining. There is some impressive landscape photography of the Riviera, though Hitchcock did this better in To Catch a Thief.

The 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Blu-Ray DVD is of good audio and video quality.

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