Review: ‘The French Line’

Except for a four-minute, censorably costumed dance by Jane Russell, this is a rather mild, gabby, fashion parade in 3-D.

Except for a four-minute, censorably costumed dance by Jane Russell, this is a rather mild, gabby, fashion parade in 3-D.

The plot is the long-worked one about a rich girl who wants to be loved for herself and goes incognito as a working frail to find the right man. It’s an okay basis for a musical if ingenuously handled, but there is little of the imaginative displayed in Lloyd Bacon’s direction or in the screenplay by Mary Loos and Richard Sale [based on a story by Matty Kemp and Isabel Dawn]. Once in a while a snappy quip breaks through the long passages of verbiage that strain too hard to be smart talk. And in line with the film’s principal concern, these snappy quips are bosom-conscious.

Russell is an eye-pleaser, and she can be a good musical comedy actress (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) when given material and direction. Gilbert Roland’s suave way with the ladies helps his character of the French lover who pursues oil-rich Russell for herself, not her millions.

The French Line

Production

RKO. Director Lloyd Bacon; Producer Edmund Grainger; Screenplay Mary Loos, Richard Sale; Camera Harry J. Wild; Editor Robert Ford; Music Constantin Bakaleinikoff

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Jane Russell Gilbert Roland Arthur Hunnicutt Mary McCarty Joyce MacKenzie Paula Corday

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