Wednesday, August 22, 2007

cinema obscura: Philip Dunne's "Blue Denim" (1959)

I had been planning to showcase Philip Dunne's 1959 social-issue drama, "Blue Denim," as a Cinema Obscura but a fabulous site titled Ciné Classics, powered by two bloggers who call themselves Bacall and Bogart, beat me to the punch.

So by all means, check out Ciné Classics and, in particular, Bacall's take on "Blue Denim" that ran on August 14th.

All that I can add is that the film - about an unexpected teen pregnancy and talk of an abortion - is at once dated and still relevant. Carol Lynley, poised somewhere between Sandra Dee and Tuesday Weld (they were the young blonde triumverate of the era), is the troubled heroine, Janet; Brandon De Wilde is Arthur, the boy who got her pregnant, and MacDonald Carey is her father.

The film, shot in black-&-white and scope, has never been on home video but pops up occasionally on both the Fox Movie Channel and American Film Classics.

Dunne was a prolific screenwriter who also directed the Elvis Presley drama, "Wild in the Country" (1961) and both "In Love and War" and "Ten North Frederick" (in 1958). The latter, starring Gary Cooper, Diane Varsi and Suzy Parker, is a definite Cinema Obscura candidate.

Lynley, incidentally, originally played Janet on Broadway, opposite Warren Berlinger as Arthur. The play, by James Leo Herlihy(author of "Midnight Cowboy") and William Noble opened at the Playhouse Theater in New York (following a tryout in New Haven, Conn.) on February 27th, 1958 and ran for 166 performances. It was a moderate success. Chester Morris topbilled in the Macdonald Carey role as the father and Joshua Logan directed the production.

Cinema Obscura is a recurring feature of The Passionate Moviegoer, devoted to those films that have been largely forgotten. Suggestions welcome.

(Artwork: Carol Lynley recreated her Broadway role in "Blue Denim," with Brandon De Wilde)

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Anyone interested in perusing some 2060 of my film reviews, dating back to 1994, can do so by simply going to RottenTomatoes.Com


Jesse said...

Another neglected minor classic. Thanks for reminding me.

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