EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|RED GARTERS (director: George Marshall; screenwriters: Michael Fessier/Frank Tashlin; cinematographer: Arthur E. Arling; editor: Arthur P. Schmidt; music: Joseph J. Lilley; cast: Rosemary Clooney (Calaveras Kate), Jack Carson (Jason Carberry), Guy Mitchell (Reb Randall), Pat Crowley (Susana Martinez De La Cruz), Joanne Gilbert (Shella Winthrop), Gene Barry (Rafael Moreno), Cass Daley (Minnie Redwing), Frank Faylen (Billy Buckett), Reginald Owen (Judge Winthrop), Buddy Ebsen (Ginger Pete), Richard Hale (Dr. J. Pott Troy); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Pat Duggan; Paramount; 1954)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A bomb. George Marshall ("Destry Rides Again"/"The Blue
The Mating Game")
directs this stylized Technicolor Western musical
comedy, that has gone down as a failed novelty film that got an
animated performance from radio star Rosemary Clooney and
little else that's worth noting.
The spoof tries hard to be funny
by showing the "code of the
West" in the movies is
something laughable, but the laughs do not come easily. Red Garters
gets lassoed with its Broadway theatrics, as its stilted narrative by
writers Michael Fessier
and Frank Tashlin, cornball humor
and forgettable country songs can't keep things hopping for a feature
length movie. It might have worked better as a TV sketch on one of
those innocuous popular 1950's comedy hour shows, for those who can be
sated just watching chorus girls dance and sing in scanty costumes.
It's set in 1872, in
fictionalized Limbo County,
California. The locals are attending a barbecue to celebrate the death
of the scoundrel, Robin Randall, when a fast-draw stranger, Reb
Mitchell), rides to the event
in a buggy with the pretty
de la Cruz (Pat Crowley). She's a love at first sight lass reb
just picked-up in town on the cute. The sheltered Susanna is the ward
of leading citizen Jason
Carberry (Jack Carson),
the blowhard wheeler-dealer lawyer who is dating saloon singer Calaveras Kate (Rosemary
Clooney) and threatens to kill any
man who looks at Susanna without his permission.
The silly, inconsequential
plot concerns Reb's efforts
to find out who killed his brother. The one-note joke is that
none of the traditional western cliches come true: the militia doesn't arrive in the nick of
time to save the damsel-in-distress and the hero doesn't win
the gun-fight. Saddled down
with such a slight narrative, Red Garters tries to get by with pleasing
color-coded stage sets, vivid Technicolor (something TV couldn't match
at the time), numerous songs, and Gene Barry using his dancing ability to
play a Mexican who acts like Leo
Carillo if he were on speed.
It has an artificial look, as it proudly intends to show that a new kind of Western has arrived. But is lacking in almost every department to hold this viewer's attention. The only number I moderately liked was "Vaquero," a lively jig danced Western style by the cowboy outfitted gents and ladies.
REVIEWED ON 4/5/2011 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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