Saturday, December 15, 2018

She's Going to Find Out Who's Naughty or Nice


That's 1940s and '50s movie musical mainstay (and, some 20 years later, Broadway star) Ann Miller wagging her finger at that Santa mask. I'm not sure what the mask did to deserve the reprimand. Maybe Santa Mask gawked at her gams, which were put to very good use in the following clip:


Please comment? I can't. I'm speechless!

10 comments:

  1. Hi, Kirk!

    I remember Ann Miller as a star from my youth. It was exciting to watch this scene with the veteran "hoofer" doing a song and dance routine in the 1953 film Small Town Girl. Ann's skimpy costume and deft tap dancing had the guys in the orchestra "floored." There were also quite a few "stairs." This racy 50s performance, with phallic musical instruments pointing upward and saluting Ann as she danced by, was tantamount to millennial twerking. (See Miley Cyrus in my latest post.) That Santa mask Ann is posing with is kinda creepy. It looks like something a serial killer would wear in American Horror Story.

    Thanks for this rousing musical number and for triggering fond memories of a very talented lady, Miss Ann Miller. Enjoy your weekend, good buddy Kirk!

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    1. Shady, thank you, puns and all. I'm actually surprised, pleasantly surprised, that you dropped by, as I remember you saying something about not liking musicals in a post I did that had a video of Fred and Ginger. Glad you make an exception when it comes to Ann Miller. Ever see On the Town (1949)? There's a wild number where anthropologist Ann compares sailor Jules Munshin FAVORABLY to a caveman! Due to her somewhat exotic appearance (like Cher, she had a bit of Cherokee in her), she often was often cast in (for its time) sexually overt roles, and I wonder if that didn't hinder her movie career a little. Sure, there's plenty of dance numbers that aptly display her warp drive tap dancing skills, and for that we should be grateful, but she usually played secondary characters, and rarely got top billing in big-budget musicals. Take the movie I took this clip from, Small Town Girl (1953). She plays a self-centered Broadway star who loses out to the title character, pure-of-heart (her persona, anyway) Jane Powell. As I say in the post, by the 1970s, Ann had exchanged Hollywood for Broadway (Mame, Sugar Babies), and THERE she finally and deservedly became a leading lady.

      As for the creepy Santa mask, maybe that's why she's wagging her finger at it:

      "You've been a ba-a-a-a-a-d serial killer!"

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    2. "she often was often cast"

      I often use the word often often.

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    3. Thanks, good buddy! I know about the three sailors On The Town, but I don't think I ever watched that one from start to finish. I have seen a few Jane Powell, Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin musical films.

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  2. One of the more oddly staged tap routines, that's for sure!

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    1. Debra, though he wasn't responsible for the film as a whole, that particular scene was choreographed (essentially directed) by Busby Berkeley. If you're not familiar with his work, believe me when I say the clip I'm showing is one of Berkeley's more RESTRAINED numbers.

      The same movie has a young Bobby Van happily singing and, not dancing, but JUMPING down the street, like a human pogo stick. It may have been the future game show host's most memorable moment on the big screen.

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  3. I don’t know why but Ann Miller has always gotten on my nerves.

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    1. Very well, Mitchell, I will try to psychoanalyze your aversion to Ann Miller. She often played extremely extroverted, in-your-face kind of characters. Could it be those kind of people get on your nerves? (They occasionally do mine in real life but not in a motion picture. It's the other people in the movie's problem to deal with, not mine.)

      Keep in mind that Ann was an actress as well as a dancer. It was just a role that she played. I remember seeing her on Charles Grodin's cable talk show in the 1990s, and being surprised to to find that she was actually quite soft-spoken and mild-mannered (it helps that she was seated next to her one-time Sugar Babies costar Mickey Rooney, who was was every bit as extroverted and in-your-face as the fictional characters he played. Compared to rooney, Medusa would have seemed like a shrinking violet.)

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  4. I like the younger Ann Miller I think they had her more loud and in your face later in her films. I would assume I am wrong because I have no real knowledge of this just from the few films I have seen. Not like you and Shady.

    cheers, parsnip and badger

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    1. Parsnip, Ann Miller wasn't loud and in-your-face in every film she made. She was just as often cast as the wisecracking best friend, a kind of singing and dancing Rhoda Morgenstern. But even when she was loud and in-your-face, that's because that's what the story being told required. If not her, than someone else would have played that part. That Ann Miller was convincing in a loud and in-your-face role means she was earning her paycheck, and that's all you can ask of any actor or actress.

      Just speaking for myself, I make a distinction between how someone should behave in real life and how someone should behave in a work of fiction. If Dracula showed up at my doorstep, I'm sure I wouldn't like it very much, but what he does in a movie, well, that's his business.

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