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HERE she is BOYS!!

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It's Mad Mad Merman! the best thing in the movie, IMO and that's saying a lot because it's full of great career-zenith  performances.  I'm putting it in this category because of Ethel's Lucy connection AND as outlined on the commentary track of the DVD, Lucy was approached to do the movie, most likely the Edie Adams role, though it does not specify.


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Another fantastic video, Neil! I can't believe how perfectly some of the clips/lyrics matched up.



The greatest comedy of all time! The background song is familiar; I heard it on Arrested Development once. Does anyone know what it's called?


The song is "Rose's Turn," the finale from Gypsy.

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Contrary to what has been written, the stars of this movie were not the top comics of their time.  With the exception of non-comic Tracy, most of the others' careers had already peaked.  Berle, Caesar and Silvers were TV icons of the past who were no longer in demand for TV work and had never scored in movies.  Rooney failed at TV (and would again) and was scrambling for work.  All are excellent, particularly Silvers.  I was not exposed to them in their prime. For the most part, they're true to their characters and don't resort of scene-stealing schtick.

Sure there are moments of unsubtle sometimes gratuitous slapstick, but the script is well thought out with character definition.  Consider two scenes:  1) at the beginning when Caesar is trying to figure out a fair way to divvy up the money.  With a couple of exceptions, there are no laughs here but it sets the tone of the characters; and 2) Berle and Terry-Thomas in the car arguing about the US and British involvement in WW2 (less than 20 years ago).

Most people when asked to name a favorite would pick Jonathan Winters, the only up and coming member of the troupe. But for my money, Ethel Merman walks away with the movie. I can't think of another movie where a woman plays such a despicable character.  A friend saw the 40th anniversary showing at LA's Cinerama Dome (the site of the "Mame" premiere) attended by many of the surviving cast members and "Every time Ethel Merman opened her mouth, the crowd went wild".  The casting of Merman is inspired and baffling.  Who would have thought she had this performance in her?  Fresh from her exhausting "Gypsy" run, Ethel had sworn off Broadway and was hoping for a Hollywood career and it's too bad this did not lead to other roles.  I think she only made one more movie until her cameo in "Airplane".  And of course there was the disappointment of not getting the "Gypsy" movie; and "Maggie Brown" which CBS in their infinite "wisdom" passed over for their 64-65 season in favor of "Gilligan's Island" "The Baileys of Balboa" "The Munsters" and "Many Happy Returns".

"Gypsy" trivia note.  The show ended its 2 year Broadway run about the same time that "Wildcat" closed.  Ethel played it the entire time.  One of the few hits that did not have a Broadway replacement to continue the run.  I would venture a guess that Ethel and Lucy got together after their shows late in the evening to commiserate the life-draining experience of carrying Broadway shows which may have led to Desilu's Maggie Brown.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Neil, always wanted to know why Lucy was not in this, love the movie, always have.  I always assumed though that Lucy would have been offered the Merman role and Edie's was just a nothing part.  Considering her stature at the time I mean.  Had no idea all the stars were past their prime as you say, I was just happy to see so many greats together in a film comedy.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I think Rochester said it best, THAT WOMAN IS SOMETHING ELSE, LOL!  One of your best compilations Neil, just watched it again and after seeing The Merm's best scenes, I'm kinda happy Lucy did not get THAT role, I'd hate to see her put through that, LOL!  Merman, of the all time best and I miss her every day.

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