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The Moviegoer

Russia On Parade


The 1920's produced some catchy tunes. Dan Dailey can sing and dance. Jeanne Crain is very pretty. After this much has been osmosed, the fan with the higher IQ begins to squirm a little in his chair, because "You Were Meant For Me" skips and chirps its several reels with a little less than a plot.

Out in the Mid-West about twenty years ago, Chuck Arnold and his Sophisticates were the rage of the countryside. All the little flappers sought a knowing look from the smiling maestro, but Jeanne Crain kissed him and this made more of an impression. In less time than it takes to sing "I'll See You in My Dreams" they were married, thus ending the plot, part I. Plot, part II, almost brings the band to New York and the big time, but just at the opportune moment November 1929 comes along and brings a depression. Plot, part III, finally gets the band into the big time when Oscar Levant, erst-while pianist, takes over a brick factory which makes money, apparently better than music as the means to the band's success.

If the cast had included Margaret O'Brien and the Andrews Sisters, and the photographing had been done in technicolor, the picture could have been billed as an extravaganza. As it is it isn't even colossal, but there are times when it activates a grudging smile, and once or twice even a warm chuckle. Levant's cynicism is two-dimensional: in his role and for his role. This, by all accounts, is a good thing, taking the mind off the pins and needles of a sleeping leg. Dan Dailey carries the burden of the show, and proves his worth as a song and dance man, but he falls short of equaling the Chevalier kind of one-man show. And that is what is most wrong with the picture.

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