8 February 2005 | Scaramouche2004
Rather bland but good performances throughout.
As far as the golden age of musicals were concerned, the back trackers were always Paramount and Warner Brothers, who never quite achieved the magic that MGM created, despite their most valiant efforts to produce MGM-esquire musicals.
One such film that could have been a great deal more magical had MGM been at the helm is Anything Goes.
Bing Crosby stars in his second big screen version of the Cole Porter Broadway smash, although this plot has been modified slightly and brought up to date 50' style..it therefore tells a completely different story to Crosby's first version twenty years earlier.
Donald O'Conner, who in my humble opinion was one of the most underrated performers Hollywood ever had, provides the dances and comic turns whilst he romances the beautiful Mitzi Gaynor.
O'Conner was a natural at almost everything he did. He was a superb comic, a gifted actor and a dancer of extraordinary talent on par I think with Fred Astaire and his 'Singing in the Rain' co-star Gene Kelly, yet his contributions to film, have on the whole been overlooked. He was therefore demoted to 'B' movie comedies like the god awful "Francis" films.
Bing sings his way through Porters songs in his usual effortless way, as he tries to discard, appease and finally woo a French Ballet star played by ZiZi Jeanmaire, billed here simply as 'Jeanmaire' Another pleasant appearance is made by 40's band leader Phil 'Balloo in Jungle Book' Harris, and he is a welcome addition although regrettably he is not given an opportunity to perform some of those comic southern songs like 'Woodman, Spare that Tree' or 'The Dark Town Poker Club' with which he made his name.
The plot is scratchy too with Crosby and O'Conner forming an effortless partnership whilst collaborating on a new Broadway show.
The clash of styles and the obvious comparisons of youth and novice against age and experience are hinted at in the beginning, leaving you wanting more of the same, but alas these differences trail off into nothing and they are not exploited to full effect. It would have made this film a lot more enjoyable to see the two male leads spar more together and therefore classic entertainment is unfortunately denied us.
One of the previous reviewers said that there was something missing from this film that they couldn't put their finger on....I think that this was it.
But despite the bad script and leaky predictable plot, the performances are great and the songs as ever are timeless. Porter, Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen were three of the best song-smiths in the business.
Watch this one when you can, but don't cancel anything important in order to do so.