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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Musical > On The Riviera (1951/Fox)

On The Riviera (1951/Fox)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Film: C+



How Danny Kaye became one of the lost stars of the past is strange.  Here is an actor with comic brilliance and no imitators or young following, yet he was an amazing performer and did great things with his life off screen to boot.  Fox knew how great he was and went all out for the Walter Lang Musical/Comedy On The Riviera (1951) as he plays two roles.


The idea of the two roles is always obvious, annoying and predictable, but the film tries to have more fun with it than just making it a cheap stunt.  He plays a stuffy French pilot Henri Duran and nightclub singer Jack Martin, who is hired for a personal appearance since Duran cannot make one.  Based on a play, the film is colorful, lively and not bad, though it is not one of Kaye’s best.  What does work are enough little moments to see this film once, though none of the songs are particularly memorable.  The supporting cast is good, including Gene Tierney, Corinne Calvet, Sig Ruman, Jean Murat and Joyce Mackenzie.


The 1.33 X 1 image was original shot in three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor by the great Leon Shamroy and the use of color is top rate.  Though this print is not always perfect and the color not always as spectacular as such a 35mm print would be, it still has its moments.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono & Stereo mixes are clean for their age, though the Stereo works a little better here.  Extras are a surprisingly rich bunch including stills, restoration comparison, original theatrical trailer and three featurettes.  One is on Kaye, one on choreographer Jack Cole who worked out the dance sequences for this film and one on the film itself.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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