Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on September 5th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, December 25th, 1951
Director: Irving Cummings
Writers: Harry Crane (additional dialogue), Mannie Manheim (characters), Leo Rosten (story), Melville Shavelson (screenplay)
Cast: Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, Frank Sinatra, Don McGuire, Howard Freeman, Nestor Paiva, Frank Orth, Harry Hayden, William Edmunds, Russell Thorson.
DVD released: September 20th, 2010
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1 Full Frame
Rating: U (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £9.99
Straight-laced bank teller Johnny Dalton (Frank Sinatra) works for a pittance. Unwilling to marry his sweetheart Mibs (Jane Russell) until he can give her the life he feels she deserves he regularly begs his boss at the bank for a raise but to no avail. Mibs is getting restless, she’d marry Johnny if he was homeless but Johnny’s stubborn and just won’t hear of it. Then one day Johnny saves a guy that’s getting beat up in a back alley, Hot Horse Harris, a local mobbed up bookie and next thing you know Johnny’s in a smoky backroom betting parlor, forced to bet on tips from the grateful bookie. Johnny wins 60 grand and deliriously goes on a spending spree; buying a car, mink coat and the like finally he makes his way to the bank to tell Mibs they can get married right away only to find the office in turmoil as they’ve got shortfall, about 60 grand is missing, presumed embezzled, d’oh! Johnny, with the help of his waiter buddy Emile (Groucho Marx) has to hide his recent windfall before the authorities think he’s the embezzler!
First ever European DVD release of this RKO classic from 1951 featuring Frank Sinatra’s last role under his contract with RKO. Although filmed in 1948 it was kept under wraps by producer Howard Hughes for a few years and Sinatra’s top billing was eventually bumped down to third by Hughes. Directed by prolific silent movie actor and then director Irving Cummings who specialized in big, splashy Technicolor musicals and will be remembered primarily for his Shirley Temple and Betty Grable flicks. This would be his last film as director due to his retirement at the age of 63.
It’s essentially a light comedic farce with Sinatra looking painfully thin while playing a milquetoast schnook for the last time in his career. An always charming and easy screen presence Sinatra really doesn’t have to work here, although playing an earnest naive common Joe is somewhat at odds with his legendary real-life reputation. Jane Russell also plays against type as the virginal, prim and proper 50’s chickadee that Sinatra has his heart set on marrying. Despite this subdued portrayal however the film’s title is actually a reference to her enormous funbags which are firmly strapped down for this flick, more’s the pity. Groucho pretty much just plays Groucho, duck-walking around and twirling his cigar while doling out the worst advice possible to the poor protagonists, getting them further and further into trouble. The plot is all whimsy, with a comedy of errors type, series of mishaps structure that will indeed lead to people hiding in the shower and chasing each other down hotel corridors – though it’s heartening to see bankers where held in just as much disdain 60 years ago as they are today. Despite featuring songs by the legendary Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn they are few and far between and brutally short little ditties at that with the highlight being ‘It’s Only Money’ performed by Sinatra and Groucho on a 50’s style treadmill as a projected background rolls past, charming!
The 1.33.1 fullscreen picture looks to have been transferred from a very good film element with excellent detail and contrast levels with solid blacks. The original mono audio track is clean and clear, with the songs coming through especially well.
The only extras are a short photo gallery and an original theatrical trailer.