Oh What I Would Give For Those Three Little Words!
Charlotte Kendall | Bay City, MI | 01/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the late 1940s and early 1950s MGM made a couple of movies on film biographies on songwriters such as Jerome Kern (Till the Clouds Roll By), Rogers and Hart (Words and Music), just to name a few. Well Three Little Words is actually about the Tin Pan Alley song-writing team Kalmar and Ruby. Fred Astaire stars as Bert Kalmar and Red Skelton stars as Harry Ruby. Also starring is Vera-Ellen (White Christmas) as Kalmar's wife and former vaudeville partner and Arlene Dahl as Ruby's wife. Fred Astaire once said this was one of his favorite movies he made and this a very enjoyable film. Some of the highlights of the film include Gloria DeHaven protraying her real life mother and Debbie Reynolds lip-singing to "I Wanna Be Loved By You." The numbers are great in this movie and include:
Where Did You Get That Girl- Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen sing and dance to this number. This is one of my favorites.
Mr. and Mrs. Hoofer at Home- Fred and Vera dance to this number as well. It is very enjoyable, another favorite.
My Sunny Tennessee- Fred and Red Skelton sing to this number.
So Long Oo-Long- Another song Fred and Red sing to.
Who's Sorry Now?- Gloria DeHaven protrays as her real mother in this number. Personally I think Ms. DeHaven has a wonderful voice. Another favorite!
Come On, Papa- This is one of my favorites as well. Vera-Ellen sings (really dubbed) and dances to this great number with a male chorus. A real stand out!
Nevertheless- Another favorite! Fred and Vera sing and dance to this great song.
All Alone Monday- Gale Robbins sings this number.
I Wanna Be Loved By You- Debbie Reynolds sings (really dubbed by the real Helen Kane, the Boop-Boop-a-Doop girl herself) and protrays her Helen Kane as well in this number. A cute number.
Thinking of You- In my opinion a very beautiful song. Vera-Ellen sings this and dances with Fred.
I Love You So Much- Arlene Dahl sings to this. A very gorgeous number.
Three Little Words- Fred Astaire sings this song! Another favorite.
As for extras on the DVD,
New featurette Three Little Words: It's All True Vintage Fitzpatrick Traveltalk short Roaming Through Michigan Classic MGM Tex Avery cartoon Ventriloquist Cat Audio-only bonus: Paula Stone's Hollywood USA radio promo featuring Fred Astaire & Harry Ruby Theatrical trailer Languages: English & Français Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)
I highly recommend this movie if you enjoy the MGM musicals or if you like Fred Astaire. Fred may not do a lot of dancing in this one but it's still a great film. Another great thing about this movie is compared to the other film bio-pics on songwriters this one Three Little Words is actually a very accurate depiction of the lives of tunesmiths Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby. I heard Harry Ruby had a great deal of input for the making of this film. Anyway see this movie, the cast, the music and everything else in this movie is great!"
Looks Good, Feels Good
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 04/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's nice to see this out now on DVD. This was a wonderful, feel-good movie with tons of songs, many of them appealing. There also were some great dancing scenes, no surprise there since Fred Astaire is one of the stars. Astaire and Vera-Ellen paired up well for those numbers.
"Three Little Words" is one of the few films, even in the musicals, in which all the characters were nice people. In other words, there were no villains, no nasty people, which is refreshing to see now and then. It is supposedly the true-life account of songwriters Bert Kalmar (Astaire) and Harry Ruby (Red Skelton). Ruby is good at writing tunes, but not with lyrics. Kalmar supplies the lyrics and dance. Skelton also shows he had a decent singing voice.
The only unhappy moments in the movie are the squabbles between the two leading men, but that's not overdone and sometimes it's humorous. Skelton's character is the nicer of the two.
The leading ladies are wholesome-looking beautiful women. Vera-Ellen is a Shirley Jones-type pretty blonde with a great dancer's body. She's enjoyable to watch. Arlene Dahl, who was stunning, is the other leading female but her role was minor, unfortunately.
The movie is a good mixture of song, dance, comedy and drama and is an underrated film in that it that doesn't get a lot of publicity. Astaire was quoted as saying this was his favorite film. I agree. It's my favorite of his, too."
Arlene Dahl IS GREAT, but underused
Henning Sebastian Jahre | Oslo, Norway | 07/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Astaire`s lesser known vehicles, but in my opinion - 1 of his very best. It was his own favorite movie. He is a delight co-starring with Red Skelton(his intense comic style is toned down here) and has a wonderful chemistry with the great dancer Vera-Ellen. The film is full of good songs and memorable supporting players including Gloria DeHaven(as her own mother Mrs Carter DeHaven), Debbie Reynolds(dubbed by Helen Kane) and Carleton Carpenter. Debbie and Carleton was reteamed in the Jane Powell film TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE and indeed stopped the show with "Aba-Daba Honeymoon".But when the Norwegian actress Arlene Dahl enters the film; she brings the film a step further. Her beauty and charm makes u go wild and her "I Love You So Much"-number good and simply staged. Unfortunately her role as Eileen Percy - the silent movie star - is a minor 1, but she glows every time she`s in front of the camera.Miss Dahl has visited her homeland many times and has done wonders for the Norwegian community in the States. She is also the mother of Lorenzo Lamas of Falcon Crest and Renegade fame."
Three Little Words - - Four Big Stars!!
Henning Sebastian Jahre | 08/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fred Astaire and Red Skelton play the songwriting team of Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar in this semiautobiographical film musical. The plot is based on how they met and became a team, broke up over a misunderstanding and became friends again.. etc. Though this film is overshadowed by other fine musicals of the era, it is entertaining nontheless. A good blend of comedic moments with musical and dance numbers enhanced by the teaming of Astaire and Skelton. The film has a great support cast of Keenan Wynn, Arlene Dahl, and the very talented and beautiful Vera Ellen. Also, look for a very young Debbie Reynolds in a musical number singing one of the duo's popular songs. Pure MGM musical... THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!!"
"Look, it's okay to admire my wife, but would you mind takin
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 08/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's the plot: Before they were partners, Bert Kalmar (Fred Astaire) was one half of the popular dance act Kalmar & Brown, and Harry Ruby (Red Skelton) was a struggling piano player/songplugger. The first time Kalmar and Ruby met, it doesn't turn out well. Kalmar, you see, is obsessed with magic and moonlights as a stage magician. When Ruby is assigned as his assistant, he botches Kalmar's magic act disastrously and earns Kalmar's wrath. However, when Kalmar suffers a back stage knee accident and has to break up his dance team, he bumps into Ruby again. This time, they manage to collaborate on a song before things go south, and that, in essence, was the birth of their successful tin pan alley songwriting partnership.
The movie takes us thru a decade of their partnership, as they unveil classic standards such "My Sunny Tennessee," "Who's Sorry Now?," "Nevertheless," "All Alone Monday," and the intoxicating "Thinking of You." Along the way, we get to see Kalmar's fixation with magic and Ruby's baseball mania. We also witness the duo engage in minor and major spats, actually resulting in an estrangement between the two, which isn't resolved until the movie's final act when Kalmar finally produces lyrics to a longtime unusable Ruby tune.
Let's face it: no one does hats, top coats, and tails better than Fred Astaire. But, going into it, Fred Astaire and Red Skelton didn't seem, at first, to be the sexy choice to play Kalmar and Ruby (especially Skelton), but the end result doesn't lie. Astaire and Skelton make it work beautifully. Three Little Words is a funny, touching, nostalgic musical bio which I've seen so many times I've got the order of the songs (and most of the lyrics) memorized. In the Astaire film lexicon, this film might not rank up there in critics' eyes, but in my humble opinion, this fun blast from the past is right up there in terms of entertainment value. Red Skelton, who I usually think is one note, raucous, and borderline annoying, here is more subdued and hams it up less. He actually acts! Fred, who must tie with Bruce Lee as filmdom's top two actors with 1% body fat, is spry and elegant as usual. On the dance floor, he is sublime. And when he sings, he has better phrasing and more sincerity than Bing Crosby. Fred Astaire makes everything he does look effortless.
The supporting cast is excellent. Vera-Ellen nicely complements Fred on and off the dance floor. As Jessie Brown, Vera-Ellen is pretty, understanding, and down to earth, while her excellent dancing is at times exuberant ("Mr. and Mrs. Hoofer at Home" and "Come On, Papa") and at times enchantingly balletic ("Thinking of You"). Red-headed Arlene Dahl is beautiful and classy as actress Eileen Percy, and, as a bonus, she can carry a tune ("I Love You So Much"). The dependable Keenan Wynn is, well, dependable. Gloria de Haven fills in for her mother, who was the first to introduce the song "Who's Sorry Now?", while a young Debbie Reynolds makes her MGM debut as Boop-Boop-a-Doop girl Helen Kane.
Because Kalmar and Ruby got along so well and had no real animosity between them, it was decided to create a subplot to explain the 5 years in which they didn't collaborate. The real reason was that both Kalmar and Ruby were busy with their own different projects, but, of course, that wouldn't wash in filmdom. So, the whole storyline of Kalmar's Broadway play and what Ruby did about it was fabricated. Another fabrication was the running subplot of the title tune, which supposedly gestated for 10 years before becoming a song. In real life, "Three Little Words" was written a lot faster than that and became an instant standard. Another fake scenario was the street scene where Kalmar and Ruby encounter Helen Kane, while hashing out "I Wanna Be Loved By You" on a sidewalk piano. Never happened. Of course, you can't deny the fact that all these made up scenes did make the movie more interesting.
The Special Features include the great and informative 15 minute featurette "Three Little Words: Two Swell Guys," "Roaming Through Michigan," a Fitzpatrick Traveltalk short, the classic cartoon "Ventriloquist Cat," a theatrical trailer, and the audio-only bonus "Paula Stone's Hollywood USA Radio Promo" (wherein she talks with Harry Ruby and Fred Astaire).
Three Little Words is an overlooked musical that stands up really well to the test of time. It is chock full of great songs (some of which you'll recognize, even if you don't know from where). It stars a legendary performer (who couldn't wait to play the role of Bert Kalmar) and a wonderful, enthusiastic supporting cast. It is also unashamedly nostalgic and hokey. What a fun movie!"