April 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Three Little Words   1950 M-G-M Musical
Music by Bert Kalmar and lyrics by Harry Ruby
  [plus bonus numbers from Yolande and the Thief (M-G-M 1945)]
  Available On: RHINO RHM2 7779
Running Time: 64:58
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three little words

This score is a cornucopia of well-loved classic songs. The 1943 M-G-M musical starred Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellan, Red Skelton and that gorgeous redhead, Arlene Dahl, plus Gloria DeHaven and in a small role the 17-year old Debbie Reynolds. It was a biopic of magician-turned-composer, Bert Kahlmer (Fred Astaire) and baseball-obsessed lyricist Harry Ruby (Red Skelton). The celebrated numbers come tumbling over each other, including:

Who's Sorry Now?
Nevertheless, I'm in Love With You
I Wanna Be Loved By You
Where Did You Get That Girl?
Thinking of You
You Are My Lucky Star

and of course
Three Little Words
plus the wonderfully comic chorus
She's Mine, All Mine

This was one of the few Astaire vehicles in which he did not perform any of his signature 'gimmick' dances (but listen to the brilliant colourful routine with Vera-Ellen, 'Mr & Mrs Hoofer At Home'). It was one of the few films in which Red Skelton delivered a less frenetic, more sensitive performance. And Arlene Dahl looks stunning and sings very well in her showcase number, 'I Love You So Much'.

Yolande and the Thief (1945) was a rather indifferent musical, one might say eccentric. Despite the presence of Fred Astaire, it was not a success. The musical numbers are pleasant the most interesting to my ears being the extraordinary Latin ballet number 'Will You Marry Me'?

As usual with these Rhino M-G-M musicals albums, there is an excellent well-illustrated 16-page booklet about the genesis and production of the film.

Another wallow for fans of M-G-M classic musicals. Recommended.

Ian Lace

**** 4

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