Hidden Hollywood: Treasures from The 20th Century Fox Film Vaults

A look at deleted clips from 20th-Fox productions gives a good airing for some shelved segs worth eyeing, at others 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 Broadway in "Annie Get Your Gun." After the duet, Mitzi Gaynor and Donald O'Connor join Dailey for a spirited dance on the Cinemascope soundstage, while Merman's left alone shaking gourds all by herself. It doesn't seem possible.

With:
Host: Joan Collins.

No wonder Merman never made it in films, when she was treated like this.

Shirley Temple reminds us of how beguiling she was as a youngster when, before dueting with Jimmy Durante, she impersonates him. Studio chief Darryl Zanuck, according to elegant host Joan Collins, found it “cheeky,” 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. Actress is all-pro, particularly as she picks up pre-recorded songs on cue. Her mellow “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” for “Rose of Washington Square” is still 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’s 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’s 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.

Hidden Hollywood: Treasures from The 20th Century Fox Film Vaults

Production: AMC, TUES. NOV. 18, 8 P.M. Filmed by Van Ness Films, Foxstar Prods., Twentieth TV and American Film Classics. Executive producer, Kevin Burns; supervising producer, Kim Egan; producers, Shelly Lyonss, Michael Matessino; writers, Matessino, Burns;

Crew: Camera, Cory Geryak; editors, Kent Harrington, Abby Schwarzwalder; art director, Jonathan Weller Stein; theme, Tom Jenkins, Chris Many.

Cast: Host: Joan Collins.

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