Friday, April 13, 2018

Guys and Dolls: Monday, April 9 2018

This week, my Film Group saw the old musical, Guys and Dolls (1955) My friends all enjoyed seeing the film again. It generated lots of interesting discussion, including how dated it seemed. The fashions were of the 1950s, as was the production. The music, singing, dancing, and acting, were all so much of that time. More than that, so were the social mores. It was a fairytale, with it being assumed that the main characters ought to marry each other, regardless of suitability or desire, and then they would live "happily ever after." How times have changed!

Guys and Dolls was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also wrote the screenplay. The film is based on the Broadway musical by composer and lyricist Frank Loesser, and that is loosely based on two short stories by Damon Runyon. Michael Kidd choreographed the dances for both the Broadway musical and the flm.

Marlon Brandon was Goldwyn's choice for Sky Masterson, because he was one of the biggest boxoffice draws at that time. Frank Sinatra wanted that role, but settled for Nathan Detroit. Brandon trained extensively in singing and dancing for the part, and performed amazingly well in the film. Frank Sinatra was better in the role of Nathan Detroit. His voice could have been shown off a bit better. The songs he sang weren't quite as suitable for him as they mght have been. Jean Simmons was well-castt as Sister Sarah Brown, a Sergeant in the Salvation Army. She sang and danced surprisingly well. Vivian Blaine played Miss Adelaide in the original Broadway production, and not even a call from Marilyn Munro, who wanted the part, would change the mind of director Mankiewicz.

Guys and Dolls won four Academy Awards nominations, and the Golden Globes gave it the Best Picture Musical/Comedy. Jean Simmons won the Golden Globe for Best Actress Musical Comedy. In 2006, the American Film Institute ranked it #23 on it's list of Best Musicals. It did very well at the box office. On a budget of $5,000,000, it made $20,000,000 world wide.

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