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Du Barry Was a Lady

In sapolioing the script for celluloid, the studio has taken Red Skelton out of the men's room and put him in the coat room. Otherwise it follows the general outlines of the original 1939 Broadway show by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva [with music and lyrics by Cole Porter]: the club caddy falls for the top warbler at the spot (Lucille Ball).

With:
Red Skelton Lucille Ball Gene Kelly Virginia O'Brien Zero Mostel 'Rags' Ragland

In sapolioing the script for celluloid, the studio has taken Red Skelton out of the men’s room and put him in the coat room. Otherwise it follows the general outlines of the original 1939 Broadway show by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva [with music and lyrics by Cole Porter]: the club caddy falls for the top warbler at the spot (Lucille Ball).

She pays no attention to him, being enamored of a broke songsmith (Gene Kelly), while she plays Douglas Dumbrille for his chips. Then Skelton wins a Derby pot and some attention from Ball, only to get a Mickey intended for Kelly mixed up with his own drink, which sends him into a dream sequence. He finds himself Louis XV and Ball his Du Barry.

With the weak plot and weaker dialog, Skelton has a tough time living up to his rep as a funnyman. Ball does a bit better, while Kelly, whose forte is terping, suffers from the histrionic and singing demands of his role and lack of opportunity to make with the feet. Virginia O’Brien is disappointing, too, except for the one tune she’s given, ‘Salome Was the Grandma of Them All,’ in which she literally sparkles.

Du Barry Was a Lady

Production: M-G-M. Director Roy Del Ruth; Producer Arthur Freed; Screenplay Irving Brecher, Wilkie Mahoney; Camera Karl Freund; Editor Blanche Sewell; Music Georgie Stoll (dir.), Roger Edens (adapt.); Art Director Cedric Gibbons

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1943. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Red Skelton Lucille Ball Gene Kelly Virginia O'Brien Zero Mostel 'Rags' Ragland

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