Star of song and stage Jeannie Laird (June Haver) returns from a triumphant tour to settle down in her new suburban home. Next door is widowed cartoonist Bill Carter (Dan Dailey), and sparks fly between the glamorous star and the low-key nice guy. The course of true love doesn’t run smoothly, however, due to Bill’s son Joe (Billy Gray, of The Day the Earth Stood Still), who doesn’t take kindly to the new woman in his father’s life.
Though the romance may play out as expected, it’s still interesting to see such domestic issues dealt with in the context of a musical. Meanwhile, spirited and imaginative song-and-dance routines are on order. An intriguing entry in the Marquee Musicals series.
The original mono handles the music score, for the most part, quite well, with a strong, rich tone and plenty of volume. The half-century age of the film is apparent, however, in the degree of distortion that afflicts the dialogue. Fortunately, this problem doesn’t affect the songs themselves particularly, and the score sounds fine.
The colours are brilliant, as one would expect from Technicolor of a 1953 vintage. The image is also, generally speaking, quite sharp. There is some grain and dirt, but both are held to a minimum, and the restoration at this level has been done very well. The single biggest problem, though, is a green outline that afflicts the picture off and on, as if one were watching a 3D film without the glasses.
Three featurettes here. “Discovering The Girl Next Door” is an excellent appreciation of, and introduction to, the film. One might do well to watch this before the feature itself. “Dan Dailey: Song and Dance Man” is a profile of said star from many of the talking heads of the other feature, while “Billy Gray: The Boy Next Door” is an interview with the former child actor. The other extras are typical of this series: restoration comparison, poster gallery, still gallery, theatrical trailers, interactive press book and lobby cards.
Can’t say I’d ever heard of this musical, but the DVD is an very good introduction to it and its qualities. A full commentary track wouldn’t have been amiss, however.