Saturday, August 23, 2014

cinema obscura: Richard Quine's "So This Is Paris" (1955)

Richard Quine is largely noted for his work at Columbia, where he started out as a contract player (he was sodajerk Frank Lippincott in Roz Russell's "My Sister Eileen") and then segued into directing there (the musical version of "My Sister Eileen," among others).

He made his directorial debut at Columbia in 1954 with "Drive a Crooked Road" (co-written by colleague and friend, Blake Edwards, one of several of their collaborations) and became a reliable house director there the same year with the marvelous "Pushover" (starring his muse, Kim Novak).

But Quine also ventured out to other studios for such titles as "The World of Suzie Wong," "Sex and the Single Girl," "The Moonshine War," "Hotel" and the film of Arthur Kopit's quirky play, "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad" (which starred Russell).

In 1955, the year he made the excellent "My Sister Eileen" for Columbia, Quine was loaned out to Universal for another musical, "So This Is Paris," a throwaway charmer starring a singing and dancing Tony Curtis as an avid, skirt-chasing sailor. With Gene Nelson (on Curtis' right above) and Paul Gilbert (on his left), the film can be mistaken for nothing less than a tracing-over of "On the Town," only set in Paris rather than New York.

The naturally engaging Gloria DeHaven (also above) has the Vera-Ellen role of a showgirl who isn't exactly what she seems to be. Corinne Calvet, the low-rent, G-rated Brigette Bardot of her day, and Mary Corday are the two other gals who team up with the ... gobs. (Quine's movie was alternately titled "So This is Paree" and, yes, "Three Gobs in Paris.")

If you know the drill, you know the rest.

"So This Is Paris" is one of those B-musicals (if there is such a genre) that were prominent during the early- to mid-1950s, when the studios still had expansive music departments and when musicals were still accepted, no questions asked, by audiences. In fact, Janet Leigh, Curtis' wife at the time, starred in two of her own - James V. Kern's "Two Tickets to Broadway" (1951), which happened to co-star DeHaven, and Quine's aforementioned "My Sister Eileen" (1955).

By the way, Curtis played another sex-sick soldier on the loose in Paris in Blake Edwards' difficult-to-see "The Perfect Furlough" (1958) and Leigh teamed up with him (one of their many films together) as a no-nonsense Army psychologist keeping tabs on him by acting as chaperone.


Stephen said...

I think Turner used to show this regularly a few years ago. Hope they bring it back.

Jim Le said...

Any idea of how I could find a copy of "So This Is Paris"??

michael w. said...

I did see this on Turner a few times but many years ago. Cute film and an oddity for Curtis. Hope they get to show it again.

Lenore S. said...

This is one of my all time favorite musicals. I really miss seeing it. I hope Turner plays it again soon.