This lavish Goldwyn production (Mankiewicz’s first film in CinemaScope and his sole musical), based on one of the greatest works of American musical theater, is true to the spirit of the Loesser/Burrows/Swerling original, curious casting decisions and the loss of key songs (like “My Time of Day” and the lovely “More I Cannot Wish You”) aside. While most of the world thought that Frank Sinatra would make a perfect Sky Masterson, the role was bestowed upon the non-singing Marlon Brando, and Sinatra was cast as Nathan Detroit. Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye, and choreographer Michael Kidd were retained from the original production and, in a burst of inspiration, Goldwyn cast Jean Simmons in the role of Sarah Brown (Goldwyn supposedly paid Simmons the following compliment: “I’m so glad I couldn’t get Grace Kelly”). Mankiewicz had to negotiate his way through the ongoing war between his male stars, the problem of adapting Damon Runyon’s dialogue to the screen, and the “dollar-bill proportions” of the ’Scope screen, but he made a charming movie.
Film ran Friday, September 26, 2014 - Sunday, October 12, 2014