Alook at deleted clips from 20th Fox productions offers a view of some shelved segs worth eyeing and some whose omission is easily explained away. It’s an amusing presentation of bloopers cushioned among delightful outtakes and samples of film work in progress.
One of the more startling miscalculations involves Broadway great Ethel Merman in “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (1954), when she competes with Dan Dailey on “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” (which Merman had intro’d on stage in “Annie Get Your Gun”). After the duet, Mitzi Gaynor and Donald O’Connor join Dailey for a spirited dance on the Cinema-scope soundstage, while Merman’s left shaking gourds all by herself. It doesn’t seem possible.
When she was treated like this, it’s no wonder Merman never made it in films.
Shirley Temple reminds viewers of how beguiling she was as a youngster when, before dueting with Jimmy Durante, she impersonates him. But studio chief Darryl Zanuck found it “cheeky,” according to elegant host Joan Collins, and the imitation was chopped out of “Little Miss Broadway” (1938). A blackfaced Al Jolson medley was spliced out of “Rose of Washington Square” (1939), presumably because of time problems.
Probably the best and most informative segs are those featuring Alice Faye. The actress is all-pro, particularly as she picks up pre-recorded songs on cue. Her mellow “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” for “Washington Square” is delicious, but it was dropped. Parts of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” with Faye, Tyrone Power and Don Ameche (whose embarrassing “Some Sunny Day” was cut) took a dive.
Faye and Betty Grable, her new 20th rival brought in by Zanuck, are a formidable team thrown together into “Tin Pan Alley” (1940) to offset talks of backlot jealousies. Grable is caught miscuing while dancing to pre-recorded music, and she doesn’t look happy.
Carmen Miranda’s segs are diverting, especially the Navy number (“True to the Navy” for 1945’s “Doll Face”) in which she wears a working lighthouse atop her head. That one bit the brine. She chants “Mama Yo Quiero” in her peppery style for “Four Jills and a Jeep” (1944). It’s easy to see why the number was cut out: It’s inappropriate.
Victor Mature is shown a couple of times struggling to be a song-and-dance man with Grable, but it didn’t take. And Grable’s seen warbling an axed “This Is It” for “Pin Up Girl” (1944) in which she shares a mike with the legendary, unmentioned Joe E. Brown.
What talent was left on the well-known cutting room floor often seems top-flight stuff, but not by that period’s measures. The discipline, talent, professionalism and seeming ease with which the Temples, the Fayes and Grables, the Jolsons and Mermans and all the rest went about their work pays off these many years later. It’s an entertaining, amusing and interesting adventure.