Danny Kaye plays Jack Martin, entertainer in a Riviera nightclub, as well as Henri Duran, philandering aviator. Duran is being driven to the edge of bankruptcy by a man with which he is forced to do business. Desperate to raise cash, he leaves town, but then his rival is invited to a dinner party. If Duran is not present at the party he is supposed to be hosting, disaster will ensue. So his partners conscript Martin, who has done a pitch-perfect impersonation of Duran at the club, to act as …im for the evening. Cue all sorts of mistaken identities and romantic entanglements, particularly involving Duran’s neglected wife (Gene Tierney).
Kaye is given plenty of opportunity to strut his stuff here. The songs are varied, with “Popo the Puppet” being the comic highlight. As for the story, the laughs build as the film goes along, and the humour is surprisingly bawdy for 1951. Kaye and Tierney’s last conversation together is particularly funny, and a veritable cavalcade of unapologetic double-entendres.
Mono and stereo offerings are present here. The stereo has the usual glitch of funnelling everything to the rear speakers, whether the sounds belong there or not, but the volume level there is sufficiently low that this isn’t much of a distraction. As for the score, the opening track is showing its age, sounding rather thin, but otherwise, the songs are clean, warm and undistorted.
As with the audio, the weakest part is the opening credits, which are rather grainy and feature unexciting, rather muddy colours. These are also among the only exterior shots. Once we move into studio locations, the image is sharp, free of grain, and has very nice colours (if sometimes a bit dark). The blacks look terrific.
No commentary track, but the featurette collection is quite nice. “The Riviera Story: A Remarkable Impression” (about 10 minutes) compares this film to the two others that used the same story. “A Portrait of Danny Kaye” is a fairly substantial (30 minutes) biography. “The Jack of Clubs: Choreographer Jack Cole” is also informative, if again on the short side (under 10 minutes). The usual restoration comparison and theatrical trailer are here. The still galleries are divided up into “Interactive Presbook,” “Advertising,” “On the Set,” “Glamour Shots,” and “On with the Show.” More stills are available in the form of actual lobby cards accompanying the liner notes.
Good fun to be had here, with Kaye in fine form.
Special Features List
- “The Riviera Story” Featurette
- “A Portrait of Danny Kaye” Featurette
- “The Jack of Clubs” Featurette
- Restoration Comparison
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Galleries
- Lliner Notes
- Lobby Cards