|LADY IN THE DARK (director: Mitchell Leisen; screenwriter: from the stage musical by Moss Hart/Albert Hackett/Frances Goodrich; cinematographer: Ray Rennahan; editor: Alma Macrorie; music: Robert Emmett Dolan; cast: Phyllis Brooks (Allison DuBois), Ginger Rogers (Liza Elliott ), Ray Milland (Charley Johnson), Jon Hall (Randy Curtis), Warner Baxter (Kendall Nesbitt), Barry Sullivan (Dr. Brooks), Mischa Auer (Russell Paxton); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mitchell Leisen; Paramount; 1944)|
|"The wartime musical comedy
provided upbeat entertainment for the
troubling times through
its music and stunning visuals."
by Dennis Schwartz
produced adaptation of Moss Hart's smash-hit
1941 Broadway play. Most of the music is by
Kurt Weill and the lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
In addition ‘Suddenly
It’s Spring’ was written by Johnny Burke and
James Van Heusen. Mitchell Leisen
("To Each His Own"/"Easy Living"/"Midnight")
adequately directs but the film falls short of the
play as noted by those critics who saw both. The
reason for that is the studio hired a new cast, cut
key songs from the play such as the play's theme
song 'My Ship,' and further tore
the heart out of the intelligent story by
soft-pedaling its damsel in mental distress tale
considerably. Blame for the film being weakened is
attributed to Paramount head Buddy de Sylva.
magazine editor Liza Elliott (Ginger
Rogers), on a high-powered NYC 'zine, is on the verge
of a nervous breakdown due to stress over the job
demands, worrisome dreams and concerns over her
three romantic men friends. They are the
middle-aged magazine backer (Warner Baxter), the
handsome self-reliant underling (Ray Milland), and
the hunky movie star (Jon Hall). The troubled
editor consults a noted Freudian shrink (Barry
Sullivan). At first she resists
bringing up her emotional childhood traumas on the
couch, but soon learns to pay attention to her dreams
and as a result seems to get better.
Milland stands out playing Ginger's ad man
employee, the one who won't give in to his woman
boss's feelings of superiority.
The wartime musical comedy provided upbeat entertainment for the troubling times through its music and stunning visuals. Too bad the slight story was a stinker and the acting for the most part was only fair.
REVIEWED ON 7/25/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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