directed by: Don Weis
Debbie film #9 of 37. Wow, where do I begin. Debbie is 21. In Black & White. It’s a college comedy and musical. Okay so Debbie plays Pansy (a name you’d never get away with having today), the main love interest of Dobie Gillis, a sort of free-spirit Van Wilder type, minus the arrogance and misogynism of Van. Meanwhile, Pansy is a family oriented, prudish, bookworm, only going to college to ‘Learn, learn, learn, and work, work, work’ (the film’s tagline). Barbara Ruick plays Lorna, a free-spirit girl after Dobie, but Dobie from the start has his heart set on Pansy. Bob Fosse (yes, the Bob Fosse) plays Dobie’s best mate Charlie, who is all over Lorna, even though she only wants Dobie for a bit of the film. Anyways, they go to classes, hijinks ensue, there are quite a few song and dance numbers, in which Reynolds & Fosse shine, naturally. Pansy comes around and turns into a free-spirit, and they all live happily ever after.
A pretty simple comedy/musical with some extraordinary talent if a little thin on plot (at one point, Dobie and Pansy miss like a month of classes, and then have to finish a months worth of work in 1 day ….what?) . However, one of the best parts of this movie is the English class all the kids take. The English professor is played by Hans Conried. Not exactly a household name, but oh yeah, the guy is THE VOICE OF CAPTAIN HOOK. So everytime he speaks its like having Captain Hook teaching English. Perfect. And Bob Fosse went on to direct and choreograph Chicago, Damn Yankees, and Cabaret. And Barbara Ruick married John Williams, the Star Wars composer dude. All around good ancillary info.
Underrated Actors: of course Hans Conried, the Captain Hook English professor with perfect diction. Worth watching just for him.