directed by: Don Weis
Debbie movie #8 of 37 . Sigh this film had so much potential. Hrm. Not really actually. You may be wondering why. Well, I’ll get this out there, I’m not the biggest Donald O’Connor fan in the world. Just flat out don’t care much for the man. That and a lot of this movie just didn’t make sense. But we’ll get to that later. Debbie plays Judy, a struggling musical theater actress on Broadway that lives at home. Don O’Con plays the aforementioned titular Melvin. So right away, it’s giving away the entire story, or at least the ending. It’s like that Brian Regan standup where he does a bit on having the Title of the Book at the top of every page. “What the hell am I reading!? OH, it’s right there at the top, okay…” “knew I was reading something, didn’t know what” So anyways, Melvin is a photographer at Look magazine (which is actually a real magazine). Now, (and this is supposed to be romantic), Melvin skeezes on Judy and promises her he’ll put her on the cover, meanwhile taking a ton of photos of her and spending an inordinate amount of time with her. Good life lessons. Now at first, and at second, and at third, Melvin doesn’t come through with this, so he runs away to be a hobo, causes everyone to worry and this gets Judy on the cover. Yep. That’s about the plot.
Redeeming qualities about it (besides it obviously having Debbie Reynolds in it): The football musical (where Debbie is actually playing a football) is pretty awesome; for something regarded as so masculine, seeing a bunch of dudes in pads prancing and singing is a damn good time. And the Debbie dream sequence musical number at the beginning is really well done, although the reference/cameo of Robert Taylor went right over my head. But she also had a dream sequence where she got to dance with 3 dudes wearing Fred Astaire masks/costumes and 3 dudes wearing Gene Kelly masks/costumes. Which was real weird, not only because 3 dudes in Fred Astaire masks is creepy, but also she had just been in Singin in the Rain with Kelly. But I realize it’s different characters…but still. Also, any scene without Debbie..err. Judy was instantly dry. Like they spent what seemed like 15 minutes on a Don O’Con / little girl rollerskating number. Woof. Added to that was Harry, a character that made no sense. He was supposed to be the has-a-good-job, solid, dependable, alternative that loved Judy but was always being outclassed by the showy Melvin. Well not outclassed, just taken away. And that’s just it, we were never sure how to feel about Harry. He was a nice guy and treated the family/parents well, and then he was just tossed to the side while Judy went on with Melvin. It almost felt like Graham from An Education. He was there and you could see he loved Carey Mulligan, but just got pushed aside for Peter Sarsgaard. And look how that turned out. Unlike Graham though, it never felt like Harry cared that much, enough to identify/sympathize with him. He was kind of just … there.
Underrated Actors: Jim Backus , aka THE MILLIONAIRE from Gilligan’s Island/Mr. Magoo as Melvin’s boss