Guys and Dolls

GUYS & DOLLS. 1955

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Neither Jean Simmons nor Marlon Brando can sing worth a pit. Of the two, Simmons is worse. Some fun songs are pretty much ruined, & the monotone version of "Luck Be A Lady" droned from Brando's face seems all the more a tragedy when considering the fact that Frank Sinatra is in the cast singing duller ditties.

Vivian Blaine & Stubby Kaye from the original Broadway cast were great, & the look of the film is stunningly designed for scope & color. But casting Brando was a Hollywoodization moment that really failed outside of the novelty of seeing Brando absurdly a song & dance man.

The exception would be the dance sequence in Havana, including Brando's dance, which was terrific as no other choreography was. Even during that fine segment, Simmons couldn't get her dance moves right & must've been embarrassed to see herself stamping around clumsily amidst some pretty sharp dancers.

The film also chose to tone down the charming "gangster dialect" of Damon Runyan's stories which is done so well in the old-time radio program Damon Runyan Theater. Without that amusing pseudo-dialect much of the humor falls flat in the film. Almost any random episode of that old radio series has more color, comedy, & charm than does the musical.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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