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Neil

Meet the People

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TCM showed "Meet the People" right after Mame this week.  MTP had an impressed cast and crew: Yip Harburg, Arthur Freed, Dick Powell, Bert Lahr, June Allyson (the future Mrs. Dick Powell).   And Virginia O'Brien and Rags Ragland (who seemed to be in EVERYTHING MGM).   It was made in 1944 and was blatant WW2 propaganda.  But it seemed no better or worse than most MGM musicals.  It was, however, the turning point of Lucy's MGM career.  It lost money (according to wikipedia, it had a budget of $1.3mil and took in $960,000) Even though "Dubarry" and "Best Foot Forward" did well, after one money-loser  MGM lost faith in Lucy and she was relegated to supporting roles and then her contract was not renewed.  MTP was in b/w and it should have been in color like the other two Lucy "A" MGM musicals.   Lucy is expertly dubbed.  If you didn't know, the voice sounds exactly like what her singing voice would be.  Lucy's speaking voice: weak and a little high.  I wonder if this is when she started screaming in Desi's car to lower her voice.  (This method would eventually succeed all too well way much later).   1944 would have been the year she filed for divorce from Desi.   The film is a bit of a trifle but Lucy is fine as "Julie Hampton, Broadway Musical Comedy Star".  It contains but one Lucy bit:  as she's pacing back and forth she periodically kicks the train of her dress from in front of her.  It's a small bit but expertly done.  

Lucy at 33 looked beautiful and as much of an ingenue as younger June Allyson.  In fact, she doesn't look much different than ILL episodes shot 10 years later. 

Evidently "Meet the People" was a revue done in Los Angeles before the film.  The Communist witch hunters later labeled a lot of films that dealt with the common man "subversive".  I don't know if MTP was one of them but right-wing Ginger Rogers had regrets about making "Tender Comrade".   My favorite lyric of the title tune: "So climb down.....Meet the People.....Mr. Hoi Poloi.....is SIMPLY MARVELOUS.."

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