Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Helen Morgan Story|
Actors: Ann Blyth, Paul Newman, Richard Carlson
Director: Michael Curtiz
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 02/17/2009 Run time: 118 minutes Rating: Nr
The Little Girl on the Piano with the Great Big Voice
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 05/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Helen Morgan Story is a formula biopic with equal parts soap, song and gin. The thing that makes it stand out are three very good performances and a wonderful parade of vintage 1920's hits voiced for the star by Gogi Grant.
From the moment the film begins to unreel with its Broadway marquee titles you know you are in for a good old-fashioned tearstained campy drama. Loosely based on the life of Helen Morgan, who is most famous today for creating the role of Julie in the groundbreaking "Show Boat" in the 20's. The film centers on her rise and fall as well as her unrequited love for gangster Larry Maddux.
Playing the title role is Ann Blyth who does her best to give Helen all the pathos, drama and tragedy required in such a story. She does a fine job but one can't help but recall her best work as Veda in Mildred Pierce. Some years earlier.
The real stars of the show are comedian Alan King, TV star Cara Williams and a new guy to pictures by the name of Paul Newman. These three pros take a filmland formula and mix it until it explodes.
Alan King is quite a fine actor as well as a gifted comedian. He imbues the character of Benny Weaver, Larry's partner with life and humor. As Helen's best friend and Benny's moll Cara Williams shines.
But the best performance is given by a very young Paul Newman who shows us just what he could do with the good for nothing huckster role. He soars in the role and gives us a preview of some of the better roles he will fill out in the future from Fast Eddie to Hud.
The black and white cinematography by Ted D. McCord is stunning as are the sets and costumes. And the Warner Brothers orchestra makes the mono soundtrack burst its boundaries to near stereophonic sound. The dirction by Michael Curtiz who had been making films since 1912 is solid and dependable.
One hopes that there may be a DVD release of this film in the future.
(February 18, 2009) And now it is out on DVD in all it's Cinemascope glory. It looks great and the sound is full and gorgous. A must have for any Paul Newan fan as well as fan's of great old standard songs from the 20's."
A typical Hollywood "biography" that transforms an artist's
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 01/01/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The film explains the decline of Helen Morgan (Ann Blyth) into alcoholism as the result of unsuccessful romances, especially one with Larry Maddux (Newman), a two-bit bootlegger...
Larry is an almost one-dimensional and ultimately unbelievable character, but he does have qualities that are developed further in later Newman films: he is opportunistic, exploitative, smooth-talking, a man from the wrong side of the tracks who tries to better himself...
Like other Newman characters, he is an outlaw--a con man and gangster--and it is noteworthy that Curtiz had directed Cagney, Bogart and other tough guys in Warners' Golden Era... Larry is also the first of Newman's womanizers--detached, rough, abusive, but irresistibly charming and sexy... He manages to seduce Helen while remaining nasty and cynical, then abandons her, only to keep reappearing and ruining her life... At best he can say, "In my own way, Helen, I love you," although in the unconvincing ending, he reforms...
Musical melodrama supreme
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 09/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ann Blyth stars as ill-fated torch singer Helen Morgan in the musical biography THE HELEN MORGAN STORY (1957). The movie follows the life of the tragic 1920s songbird from the heights of acclaim in the original Broadway production of "Show Boat" to her dramatic battles with depression and alcoholism.
Inspired by Polly Bergen's searing performance as Morgan in a "Playhouse 90" TV special which aired earlier that same year, producer Jack Warner geared THE HELEN MORGAN STORY as a showcase not for actress Ann Blyth, but rather the popular singer Gogi Grant, whom he employed to supply Blyth's voice for the musical numbers--if the truth be known, Blyth's own singing would have sufficed.
In the tradition of a backstage soap-opera, the more tawdry facts of Morgan's life were glossed over (the "Playhouse 90" screenplay reflected Morgan's life in a more accurate light, having Morgan's mother Lulu as a consultant). Paul Newman plays her stormy boyfriend; Blyth shines (especially in the recreations of the "Show Boat" stage production), and the soundtrack springs to life with such Morgan standards as "Why Was I Born?", "Bill", and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man".
The supporting cast includes Richard Carlson, Gene Evans, Alan King and Cara Williams. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Recommended."
1957- BAD YEAR FOR A GOOD MOVIE
Joe L. Parrish | 06/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I FIRST SAW THIS MOVIE AS "THE HELEN MORGAN STORY". I WAS SO INPRESSED I MUST HAVE VIEWED IT 500 TIMES. THE CAST WAS WONDERFUL & THE MOVIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN REVIEWED MUCH BETTER THAT IT WAS. AFTER 50 YEARS IT STILL LIVES WITH THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN IT.
THE BIG STAR OF THIS MOVIE IS THE WONDERFUL SOUNDTRACK FEATURING GOGI GRANT I ADORE HER AND ALL HER MUSIC AND WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO SEE HER IN CONCERT IN 2002. STILL BEAUTIFUL AND SINGING THOSE GREAT SONGS AT 78 IS A TRIBUTE TO THIS STAR. THIS MOVIE AND SOUNDTRACK HAVE ADDED MUCH JOY TO MY LIFE."