I Love Melvin (1953, Don Weis)

Debbie and Donald, reuniting from last year’s Singin’ in the Rain. This one’s not at the same level, but is still awfully fun with good music – other musicals we’ve watched this month have better dancing, but this one had the best songs.

The plot is convoluted hooey: he bumps into her in the park, makes excuses to spend time together by photographing her for a nonexistent article in the magazine where he works as a flunky. She’s currently playing a football on Broadway (not “playing football”, she’s the football, it’s hilarious) and is supposed to marry a rich chunk (Richard Anderson of Seconds and Forbidden Planet), so Donald goes further in his scheme and brings over a mock-up magazine with Debbie on the cover, which causes everyone to overreact. Donald ends up homeless and the magazine devotes an entire issue to locating him – as you do when you’re a major publication and your coffee boy goes missing – and everyone’s happy, except maybe Debbie’s dad (Allyn Joslyn: a pilot in Only Angels Have Wings, sheriff of Moonrise) who quit his job spectacularly and now has an unemployed son-in-law. Katy knows the mom from The Parent Trap – Una Merkel aged fast, from playing the marriable daughter of The Bank Dick to playing someone’s Aunt Elsie in only one year.

Vibrant colors, and not in widescreen, this being six months before the premiere of Cinemascope. Don Weis went into television early, directing everything from Wagon Train in the 50’s to Batman in the 60’s to MASH in the 70’s to Fantasy Island in the 80’s. The screenwriter won an oscar a couple years later for Designing Woman. Debbie’s little sister gets a whole song, and it’s not terrible. She would later be a teen TV star on the series Bachelor Father.

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