posted 06/06/04 09:37 PM Central Time (US) no email address given
Loosely based on "The Admirable Crieghton" -- a cute, young Bing with a gleam in his eye for Carole Lombard, good natured, loud (and thin!) Ethel Merman, George Burns and Gracie Allen (first time I ever saw her -- boy is she dumb!), a roller skating bear, sex -- almost (must have been before the Hayes Commission thing), lots of singing, adventure, flying underwear, witty dialogue -- what's not to like?
posted 06/14/04 10:17 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
On to my review of this month's Bing movie, "We're Not Dressing". I did get a chance to see it last night. I realized I hadn't seen this movie in 10 years, '94 was probably last time. Anyway, yes this definitely qualifies as a Bizarro World typoe Bing picture. Forget all reality though and you'll enjoy it. Which is what I did, the movie is so crazy and implausible there was no sense in trying to relate it to Earth life as we know it. So setting aside reality I found this movie to be a lot of fun. The Bing songs were fantastic, Bing is in his best loud and show-offy voice here that he used in the '30's. Not my favorite Bing style, but impressive nevertheless. He really belts 'em out here, even though most of the time he's singing tender love songs to either bears or the fish in the sea. I told you forget reality. Carole Lombard is quite a sight to behold, WOW. Talk about ahead of your time, seems she burned her bra long before the hippie chicks of the '70's. This was the only area where I agreed with the women's libbers and Carole must have been the one to give the libbers the idea. She really is an attention grabber as she runs about the island in her flimsies. I guess she's a good actess too, but I was too distracted to notice. Even George and Gracie got into the racy act, with a scene about Gracie's panties, which were really Carole's panties which the wind carried off only to land below Gracie's feet, making Gracie think that her's had dropped. Well, it was quite a movie. I started this movie late and it did keep me awake till 3 am, and I never nodded off once, so this is quite an attestment. Even Ethel Mermen was cute in her youth, looking a little like Betty Boop here. A young Ray Milland is also featured in the picture as one of the gigalo boys. For a '30's Bing movie it wasn't bad, and for a bizarro type Bing '30's movie, it is probably the best of the bizarros. Bing's songs were all great, they were all just sung in the oddest of settings and to the wierdest of animals. Bing has a couple of love scenes with a bear(!), what can I tell you?, "Welcome Stranger" this ain't. Bing's singing voice was loud and strong but his speaking voice was rough and very hoarse, but this was typical of Bing from the '30's they way he was almost constantly working (singing) day and night. This movie won't ever make it into my top 10 favorite Bing flicks but it is a fun one to watch. And if you like Bing's brassy loud and showy style of singing from the '30's as opposed to his more relaxed and easy going singing style of the '40's then you'll like Bing here. It's not my favorite Bing period but still an enjoyable and whacky Bing experience.
posted 06/18/04 03:58 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Bing's youthful throatiness really comes thru in this one. ray(mond) milland's tertiary role, in this musical, surprises me; his role two years earlier in "payment deferred", with laughton and maureen o'sullivan, was much meatier, in that great old classic dramatic film. lombard was as beautiful as ever; she didn't usually play in musical comedies, as far as i know. merman sang as lustily as ever (prettily turned out and slim). of course, burns and allen were as whacky as ever, showing their comedy routine that they were famous for into the late fifties. good show, all around!
posted 06/28/04 08:40 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Not a bad film, all things considered. After all, it is 1934 only two years after Bing's first starring feature film, and only his 5th starring feature film over all. The Bing film persona we are so familiar with and attracted to would not begin in earnest until 1936. There was a load of talent to accompany Bing in this film. Carole Lombard is Bing's love interst after teaming up with Marion Davies in his previous film. Bing would wait another 20 years before another actress of that stature, Grace Kelly, would play his leading lady in a movie. Burns and Allen are back for another installment of their zany comedy, along with Leon Errol and Ethel Merman. Ray Milland is also present, but like Bing, he is just cutting his teeth on what will develop into a outstanding film career.
This film is just filled with music, and a lot of good music at that. Bing sings a couple of non-descript songs early on with a large choir of singing crew members of the ocean going yacht that they all serve on. Ethel Merman gets a few numbers of her own and delivers every note loud and clear as a bell. Bing's sailor character is charged with minding the yacht owner's (Carole Lombard) pet bear. The bear dislikes singing unless the song is "Goodnight, Lovely Little Lady", which Bing introduces early and reprises a few times. This is the first of 5 songs from this film that would chart for Bing, and this charted up to the number two position. Next comes "May I?", which Bing would take up to the number four chart position. Bing's next big song in the film is "She Reminds Me Of You", which charted up to number five. This was followed by what has become a standard, "Love Thy Neighbor" which also peaked on the charts at the number two position. The last major song of this film is "Once In A Blue Moon" which managed to chart up to the number eleven position. I'd have to check to see if Bing ever had 5 chart songs intoduced in the same film besides in this film, so you gotta know that this was pretty good song writing by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel. And it did not hurt that Bing's voice was powerful and rich in the early and mid thirties.
Carole Lombard was beautiful and already an outstanding actress in 1934. I would have liked to see Crosby and Lombard teamed up again after Bing had developed into the great acting talent of the 40s and later. But Carole Lombard, then married to Clark Gable, died in a plane crash in the 1940s.
The story was weak and contrived, and the special effects of the model yacht and sometimes fake bear are quite dated by todays's standards, but were probably pretty tolerable by 1934 standards. It is still a cute story with some fantastic music and classic funny people. At only an hour and twenty minutes, I found myself wishing it were a bit longer. But then, how many more great sings could Gordon and Revel have come up with?
posted 07/01/04 05:12 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I reiterate your wish that Bing and Carole had made another movie together later on in his career. The only other thing I could add would be to mention an anecdote I'd heard about this film, that Carole slugged Bing hard when he had to slap her in that one scene, as a reaction. She just couldn't stand being slapped. Anyone else have a more complete, better, version of that one?
posted 07/02/04 11:21 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Don't forget that the Australian actor Leon Errol was Ethel Merman's mate in this film.
Leon was born in the inner Sydney harbourside suburb of Balmain.
posted 07/02/04 11:33 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Sue, I know Catalina Island was used for one film.
There is a story I remember about Bing and Carole and they decided to play a 'prank' one morning at breakfast.
There were a couple of 'snobbish guests' at the hotel.
So Bing came and sat at the table with Carole and handed her a pair of her panties with Bing saying something like 'Did you forget these?'.
There was a bit of tut-tutting from the ladies.
Also, if anyone visits Hawaii, go to the 'pink hotel' - The Royal Hawaiian - and along a verandah walkway there is a photo of a young Bing holding, remembering correctly, a surfboard or something.
If one gets to the pro shop at Killarney, Ireland there is (was 1977) a photo of Bing on the wall. The pro may not be there now and consequently the photo may not either.
If anyone gets to my place there is a photo of Bing and myself taken at Turnberry, Scotland 4th. July 1975. The next day I caddied for Nathaniel in the Pro-Am.
posted 07/13/04 11:50 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I don't mean to butt in, but that story is in "Call Me Lucky,". Bing had to slap her in a scene and when he did she lit into him. He said she threw him on the ground and kicked and scratched him and at some point ripped off his hairpiece. This isn't a direct quote, but it is on page 73 if you want to look it up(my copy is a first printing). He also tells about that prank Carole pulled. hope this helps some. I'll type the direct quote if you want me to.