Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, Zizi Jeanmaire, Mitzi Gaynor, Phil Harris
Director: Robert Lewis
Genres: Classics, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
In ANYTHING GOES, Bill Benson and Ted Adams are to appear in a Broadway show together and, while in Paris, each 'discovers' the perfect leading lady for the star female role. Unfortunately, they each promise the role to th... more »
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Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 11/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"ANYTHING GOES was Bing Crosby's final film with Paramount, and was perhaps an attempt to capatalise on the huge success of WHITE CHRISTMAS (but more about that later). Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor and lithsome ballet star Zizi Jeanmaire appear alongside.
The film really bears no similarity to the Broadway "Anything Goes" save for the wonderful Cole Porter score (and even that has been somewhat ransacked with several inferior additions from Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen). The original production of "Anything Goes" was written by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, with later revisions by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The film ditches the entire original story in favour of a Sidney Sheldon-penned screenplay.
The story concerns a suave Broadway star (Bing Crosby) who is paired with a brash TV personality (Donald O'Connor) in a new Broadway show. Whilst on separate vacations, they each hire who they believe is the ideal leading-lady for the upcoming show: a pretty blonde American showgirl (Gaynor) and a dramatic Parisian cabaret star (Jeanmaire). They all board the luxury liner headed back to New York, trying their best to decide on which girl they will have to drop...but of course, love wins the day.
With the huge success of WHITE CHRISTMAS, Paramount hoped to capatilise on it's success by having Bing star in another 4-hander "catalogue" musical, built around the Cole Porter-"Anything Goes" score. What emerged was hardly a hit, but ANYTHING GOES is a charming afternoon of entertainment.
Zizi Jeanmaire is ideally-showcased in 2 routines staged by her husband Roland Petit: a rousing "I Get a Kick Out of You" and a striking "Dream Ballet". Her acting is well-judged and she offers an all-round accomplished performance in her second feature film (following HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN). Mitzi Gaynor and her bubbly screen energy is in fine form here, performing the Title Number as well as "It's De-Lovely" with O'Connor.
Capable character actors Phil Harris and Kurt Kasznar are featured in good supporting roles. Look closely for Bess Flowers, the legendary "featured extra", in the ship dining-room sequences.
Paramount's DVD offers a pristine 16:9 image, though sadly no extra features whatsoever. But ANYTHING GOES was never even released on videocassette, so a DVD release of this film has been a nice surprise."
Great Porter songs + Great cast = less than great movie musi
Mark Andrew Lawrence | Toronto | 09/27/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, the movie has almost nothing in common with Cole Porter's celebrated 1934 stage success. Aside from the title and 5 of the songs, it is a complete original.
The plot makes little sense: Bing Crosby is an aging Broadway star that teams up with a hot new TV personality for a new Broadway musical. All they need is a leading lady. In London, Crosby signs Mitzi Gaynor unaware that his partner has signed Zizi Jeanmaire in Paris. It gets sorted on during the trans-Atlantic voyage home. The complication? Crosby falls for Jeanmaire and O'Connor falls for Gaynor.
The wrap up is contrived, and the songs have nothing to do with the plot or character development. Augmenting the five hits from Porter's stage score (Anything Goes, I Get a Kick out of You, You're the top, All Though the Night, & Blow Gabriel Blow) are one other Porter song (from RED HOT AND BLUE - It's Delovely) and three new (and forgettable) songs by James Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn.
Still, it is a better film than the 1936 version - but not by much.
Anything Goes--up to a point, that is...
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 03/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anything Goes boasts a great cast. Bing Crosby and Donald O'Connor play two entertainers called Bill Benson and Ted Adams respectively; and Mitzi Gaynor and Zizi Jeanmarie play dancing actresses named Patsy Blair and Gaby Duval respectively.
The plot revolves around the world of entertainment. Bill and Ted are going to perform in a Broadway show together; and with their terribly fat egos both men simply assume that they have the exclusive prerogative to choose the leading lady for the show. On the bright side, both Bill and Ted choose very talented young ladies to play the leading female role. Bill chooses American dancer Patsy Blair; and Ted chooses the French starlet Gaby Duval. However, trouble heats up fast when neither man can get up the gumption to tell one of the two ladies that she is not needed for the show after all. When all four of them are on a ship headed from Europe to New York where the show will open things only become more complicated. How will Bill and Ted handle this sticky situation? Will they have a tug of war over which one has to do the dirty work of firing one of the ladies? Will each lady stay when they discover that only one of them is needed? No spoilers here, folks--you'll have to watch the movie to find out!
They all do a superlative job with the script that they're given which, by Hollywood musical standards, is still rather thin. The singing and dancing is what carries this movie, especially when Patsy (Mitzi Gaynor) and her male backup dancers perform "Anything Goes." I loved the panache with which Gaby Duval (Zizi Jeanmarie) and her backup dancers perform both "I Get A Kick Out Of You" as well as the extravagant and elegant "dream sequence" when Gaby imagines herself dancing with people in Times Square. Other musical numbers are more ordinary or even forgettable, especially the one in which Donald O'Connor as Ted Adams dances with some children on the ship to New York. Then again, the finale of the cast performing "Blow Gabriel Blow" has style and good taste; and "Blow Gabriel Blow" is a strong number to end this film.
The Technicolor still shines and the crystal clear sound will please you, too. The choreography of the dance scenes stuns you with its fastidious attention to detail and the cinematography frames the characters well in each frame. Excellent job on both counts!
The DVD offers nothing in the way of extras. You can view the whole movie straight through or just select scenes you wish to watch again; but that's the extent of it, I'm afraid. Sigh.
Nevertheless, Bing Crosby fans will delight in this version of Anything Goes. He sings and dances very, very well--and he makes it all look so easy. Of course, Donald O'Connor sparkles like the true champ that he always was in all his dancing scenes. Donald's energy, combined with the energy of Mitzi Gaynor and Zizi Jeanmarie, pops out at you and all three performers dance and sing to hold your attention well.
I must caution that the plot runs thin in this movie. However, many musicals of this era had this characteristic so perhaps you won't be surprised. I recommend this movie for fans of the great Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. In the final analysis, I give Anything Goes four stars instead of five because of the thin plot and a few numbers that just don't quite do the trick.
Anything Goes 50's Style
Joel D. Arndt | University Heights, OH USA | 10/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While MGM was soaring to new creative heights with their screen adaptations of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate (1953) and Silk Stockings (1957) and originals High Society (1956) and Les Girls (1957), Paramount produced this watered-down completely new version of his Anything Goes. Paramount filmed Porter's Anything Goes twice, in 1936 and 1956, both versions starring Bing Crosby. They didn't get it right either time, but if you forget the source material the 1956 version represented here, while not a classic, is still an enjoyable movie in its own right.
This is a musical and what's most important are the songs and dances which are handled very well by the talented cast headed by Crosby and co-starring Donald O'Connor, Zizi Jeanmaire and Mitzi Gaynor. When the plot gets a bit stale which is often it's interrupted by a lively song or dance. Five of Porter's songs from the original stage production are represented here:
1) Anything Goes- a very colorful number with a typically exuberant Gaynor performance. Note the lyric change from "four-letter words" to "three-letter words".
2) I Get a Kick Out of You- performed by Jeanmaire with a male chorus in a style obviously influenced by Bob Fosse.
3) All Through the Night- sung well by Crosby by moonlight on shipboard and danced by Jeanmaire in the obligatory '50's dream sequence ballet.
4) You're the Top- performed by the four principals in a split-screen technique to show off the "wonders" of VistaVision.
5) Blow, Gabriel, Blow- the big finale with all four stars.
One number, It's De-Lovely, interpolated from Porter's 1936 stage show Red, Hot and Blue, is given enjoyable treatment sung and danced by O'Connor and Gaynor.
With all due respect to the very talented Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen the three new songs pale in comparison to the Porter tunes although they work better visually than just listening to them on the soundtrack album.
The DVD transfer is very good. The first few minutes display a bit of color fading, but after that the image becomes much more crisp with movie musical colors that pop. The soundtrack sounds good, also. Typical of studios other than Warner's, Paramount does not include any extras on this disc, not even the trailer if it still exists, which is a bit disappointing. It may have been interesting if they had included the 1936 version, however, I'm sure that ownership would be an issue since Universal owns most of Paramount's pre-1948 film catalogue.
Overall I recommend this movie as a chance to see four stars performing at their peak to a few of the best songs ever written in a motion picture of the type they don't make anymore. One thing that really comes across is that the four stars really seemed to enjoy working together. While this version of Anything Goes didn't break any new ground in the evolution of the movie musical, it's an agreeable time filler that moves very quickly.