Thursday, July 22, 2010

cinema obscura: Lewis R. Foster's "Those Redheads from Seattle" (1953)

Came across an obit singer Teresa Brewer, who died at age 76 in 2007, and it brought back vague memories of her single excursion into film.
Poster art for "Those Redheads from Seattle"
Paramount's lively "Those Redheads from Seattle," directed in 1953 by Lewis R. Foster, was yet another overripe musical designed to exploit the 3-D craze, much less cheesy than two other 3-D musicals, George Marshall's "Red Garters" and Lloyd Bacon's "The French Line," both from 1954.

Brewer shares the title role with Rhonda Fleming and sister duo, Cynthia and Kay Bell, as members of a singing-sister act, The Edmunds, performing in saloons in the Yukon during the Gold Rush days of 1898 - and hoping to strike their own fortune. The inimitable Agnes Moorehead plays their mother.

Teresa Brewer with Guy Mitchell in a musical number

The plot, such as it is, involves Fleming's suspicion that the act's boss - a saloon owner played by Gene Barry (with the untrustworhty name, Johnny Kisco) - may be the very no-account who murdered the girls' beloved father.

Brewer's endearing, outsized perkiness - she was dubbed "the little girl with the big voice" at the time - made her a screen natural. The camera loved her. And, for what it's worth, she steals the movie - or what little there is to steal.

But nothing came of her film debut. The problem may be that she didn't have musical numbers here as infectious as her signature songs, "Music, Music, Music" and "Ricochet Romance." Too bad. Because if Doris Day hadn't been available (and as wonderful as she was), Brewer would have made a terrific Babe Williams in "The Pajama Game."

Another missed opportunity.

Note in Passing: Co-incidentally, Guy Mitchell, a young musical leading man of the era, had roles in both "Redheads" and "Red Garters."
Brewer above and in a publicity shot with Agnes Moorehead and Rhonda Fleming and The Bell Sisters


Gale Fuller said...

Oh my God, this is a real antique. I remember seeing it as a kid so long ago. I remember the glasses. God, I feel old!

rs said...

Is "Those Readheads from Seattle" available on DVD? Rs

joe baltake said...

rs: No, sadly, it is not available on DVD. -J

Norm said...

This was a great movie, if only because of that adorable and talented Teresa Brewer! What a terrific voice! She could sing anything - jazz, country, ballads, even cutie-pie songs like some of her early hits.

Norm - Ontario, Canada

lowlights said...

My aunts were Cynthia and Kay Strother (the Bell Sisters), who also appeared in this movie. They say it was great fun to make, although Cynthia (she played the "nurse" daughter) and had to kiss Guy Mitchell; she had really never kissed boys before and was REALLY shy about it (especially since his wife was on the set a lot).

wwolfe said...

That's an amazing poster for the movie. The cast list in the lower right-hand corner mars the design, but otherwise it's a knock-out.