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Lovely to Look At

Lovely to Look At

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Lovely to Look At, Al Marsh, Tony Naylor and Jerry Ralby, Broadway producers, are desperately looking for backers. Al is one of the heirs of a dress salon in Paris, but this is almost bankrupt. The two other heiresses, Stephanie and Clarisse and the three producers are able to convince the creditors to back a fashion show there. Things become complicated, when Al and Tony fall in love with Stephanie and Al’s New York girl friend Bubbles arrives.


Lovely to Look At, This was a remake of the RKO Astaire-Rogers pastiche ROBERTA (1935), but it had its own merits. MGM used its ‘Jack Cummings’ unit of talent- most of the alumnae from SHOW BOAT and KISS ME KATE- to perform here. Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson represent the singing couple (Irene Dunne essayed the role originally in ROBERTA, but her mate was the non-singing Randolph Scott), and do very nice renditions of the songs ‘The Touch of Your Hand’ and their witty first duet, ‘You’re Devastating.’ The dancing couple was none other than Marge & Gower Champion, married in real life and presenting the dances with a bit more romance. They first dance to the call-and-response ditty ‘I Won’t Dance’ in a fitting room with mannequins on wheels. Later, in an after-hours café, they discover they are falling in love and dance to an instrumental version of ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes-‘ particularly breathtaking because it is staged as a love scene instead of a performance, and it makes the most of a dreamy, starry-night set piece, of which the dance floor is put to a great deal of use in its climax when the Champions swing each other around in romantic pirouettes. Finally, there is Red Skelton assuming the role of the actual salon heir, cutting up on a piano rag and narrating the gargantuan fashion show finale. The remake includes a sexier version of ‘I’ll Be Hard to Handle’ tapped out by Ann Miller, and ‘new’ songs ‘Tomorrow Night’ and ‘Lafayette.’

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