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Human, Affecting Musical.
on 2 August 2006
It has long been a truism that the film musicals of Hollywood's Golden Era were big, splashy and empty. Exceptions aside, it is alleged, the films were big on spectacle and small on heart. One of the worst offenders in this is said to have been Betty Grable. Like Esther Williams, her talents were in something other than acting, and movies built around her had to take that into account.
Then Fox releases a film like this on DVD. 'My Blue Heaven' is the only one of the Grable-Dailey musicals that I have seen, and it is a revelation. Grable and Dailey play Kitty and Jack Moran, married entertainers trying to start a family. Unusually for a musical, it deals in deep emotion, with Grable's character suffering a miscarriage early in the film which leaves her (she thinks) unable to have children. The plot, then, is based around the couple's attempts to adopt a child. This gives rise to some really heart-wrenching scenes, particularly harsh when juxtaposed with the normally cheerful, ub-beat songs 'My New Yorker'; ''Deductible'; Don't rock the Boat' and others.
Dan Dailey and Betty Grable turn in a fine performance, while the supporting cast are superb. Mitzi Gaynor appears in her first film role as Kitty Moran's understudy, particularly funny, as the film features a parody of 'South Pacific', including Dan Dailey doing an impersonation of Ezio Pinza which had me in stitches. All in all, a great film and well worth watching. It has the songs and the emotion.
The extras are few, presumably because no additional material survives, or could be recorded. There is an audio commentary by Drew Casper and stills gallery, and that is it. Still, the film more than makes up for it, and I'm waiting the other Grable-Dailey films to come out.