25 January 2008 | churei
Haver at her best and... her last
The Girl Next Door is a surprising and fascinating film, partly for what it delivers, and partly because of what it indicates the future could have been for its star. The film opened quickly, and disappeared just as quickly, in New York, because its start June Haver had already entered a convent (she, of course, didn't stay there long). Not expected to be box office, the film, though, has some extraordinary moments, and the most surprising element of all is the work of June Haver. Although her voice is dubbed, her dancing is a complete revelation. Her work with Dan Dailey is superlative and shows maturity that she had never shown before. Indeed, her torch song indicates a Haver never seen before...and never to reappear. The cartoon networking is fun, and the dish number between Dailey and Billy Gray is a joyous scene. Haver also displays a wide range of emotions that indicate she had matured as an actress and was no longer the perennial ingenue. Even her figure is more eye-watchable than in previous vehicles -- including The Dolly Sisters. The film sags badly whenever Dennis Day is at hand, and even more sadly because he sings the one number that had a brief bit of fame - If I Love You a Mountain. His voice allows no emotion, and his expressions are devoid of any acting. His vis-a-vis, Cara Williams, is totally wasted. It's nice, though, that the film has hit DVD, because its merits are commendable. Certainly, it is professional work - with the sad exception of the scenes with Dennis Day.