Before putting this movie into the DVD player I knew only three things about this film.
1. It was a musical.
2. It was based in the 20s.
3. It had Rock Hudson in it which automatically qualified it as worth watching.
I had admired Rock Hudson's performance and handsome, manly demeanor in Pillow Talk, which I reviewed earlier this year and had no objections to seeing his gorgeous dark eyes and solid chin line on my screen again!!
The basic plot of the movie? Well... let's explore this by way of a 'choose your own adventure' pathway.
It is the heady days of the early 1920s. You are an old man with a substantial fortune, one of the largest in America. A bit of a hypochondriac, you believe yourself to be close to death and keep yourself locked up in your big ol' mansion. On this particularly fine day you invite your lawyer around to finalise your will. You have no family whatsoever of your own so the question of who to entail your fortune on is a big one.
Do you leave all your fortune to:
a) A charity caring for orphans
b) The national art gallery
c) The unknown living family of the woman who scorned your proposal all those years ago. After all - her rejection was what prompted you to leave and make your fortune.
We'll chose C!
Your lawyer tells you this is a foolhardy idea. After all, what are these people like? What will they do with your money? Perhaps they're a lot of filthy bootleggers who will use your fortune to peddle alcohol to the masses! Your doctor turns up and irritates you immensely by insisting that you're not on your deathbed and that you should get a hobby - like painting.
Do you choose to:
a) heed both their advice and use that fabulous fortune to travel to Europe and study painting under the great artists of the time.
b) travel to the town where you grew up so you can meet the family you intend to give your fortune to, instill yourself in their home by sneaky means and use this close proximity to learn about the family and their foibles.
c) curl up in bed and sign off on the will.
Hmmmmm. Tricky decision. I'm partial to option A but option B sounds like a much better movie plot! Lock in B Eddie! (Sorry non-Australian readers- a bit of an Aussie TV reference there).
Everything is going well. A little too well. The charming family you have infiltrated are nice people, particularly their sweet teenager daughter Millie who reminds you so much of her grandmother who you dated. It's almost time that they'll kick you out of their home and you'll have to return to your lonely old rich life.
Oh dear! What to do?!
a) leave town, use that fabulous fortune to travel to Europe and study painting under the great artists of the time
b) go home, sign off on the will entailing your fortune on these good folk and leave it at that.
c) arrange for your lawyer to visit, providing a cheque for $100, 000 anonymously donated to the family. Then stick around town to spy on the family to gauge how this sudden mysterious wealth changes them. After all, you're filthy rich. Your conscience can afford to meddle cruelly with others lives...
Let's face it. C is too tempting an option and it would make for tension in the storyline of the film.
There you have it.... the basic premise of "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?"
Despite the old rich protagonist being a bit of a self-important jerk at times, I really enjoyed the movie, it's plot, dialogue, the actors and most of all, the music. There were some fab songs which were woven into the movie in a way that didn't feel like the usual musical routine of "oh! Stop the acting! Stop the dialogue! Stop the movie! We're going to put a song in here!". Lastly, I'm pleased to announce that Rock Hudson didn't disappoint. Not in the slightest!
Historical costumers be warned! Like most old films, the historical accuracy of the costumes is.... lacking. I did love some of the outfits worn by Millie, played by gorgeous actress Piper Laurie. Pseudo-20s outfits with cloche hats abounded. More than her outfits I loved her hairstyling from the curled and shaped back to the darling feathered fringe.. oh my!
If I were to use one word to sum up this movie, it would be "fun".