Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's High Time We Went "Green!"

Let's see... We enjoy period costume dramas. We love cinematic disaster. We adore Miss Lana Turner. What would happen if all three things converged in one movie?? Oh, they did.. in 1947's Green Dolphin Street! If you are unfamiliar with Green Dolphin Street, you probably aren't alone as it is not one of Hollywood's most heavily-remembered classics, but that isn't to say that it isn't expensive, eye-filling and more than a little bit entertaining!
The movie was born of a (fairly short-lived) contest that MGM once held each year, awarding one novel a hefty cash prize for being the most comfortably adaptable to cinema screens. The English author of the book, Elizabeth Goudge, had penned (and would continue to compose) many short stories, novels and children's books when her “Green Dolphin Country” was published in 1944. Changed to “Green Dolphin Street” for the U.S. and for the film, it was one of only two of the MGM prize-winners to actually come to fruition as a movie (the other being Raintree County in 1957, from a 1948 novel.) Her works, including this one, often had an element of spiritual catharsis.

The story begins in a small village along the English Channel where well-to-do Edmund Gwenn and his wife Gladys Cooper are raising their two lovely daughters Lana Turner and Donna Reed. (The girls have the vaguely similar names of Marianne and Marguerite, respectively.)
The village is situated close to an imposing convent, set high atop an isolated, towering cliff which can only be reached during low tide. The Reverend Mother (Dame May Whitty) receives notice that a former resident of the village is about to return home after long being away and this news sends her scurrying to see Cooper in order to prepare her.

The one returning home is a heavy-drinking doctor, Frank Morgan, once the great love of Cooper's life who was deemed not suitable for a lady of her station. He had left the village rather than stay and watch as she was paired with the wealthy, but unimpressive-looking, Gwenn. Now a widower returning decades later with a handsome son (Richard Hart), his presence threatens to upset the happy balance that Cooper has achieved with her husband Gwenn.

Cooper wishes to go to see Morgan and ask that he downplay their prior romance for appearance's sake, but before she can get there, her own two daughters trot across the street (Green Dolphin St., of course!) to make their presence known. Turner, the more headstrong and ambitious of the two, wastes no time in pointing out Hart's deficiencies, while the more demure Reed simply looks on fondly.

Cooper does get to speak to Morgan and he gallantly agrees to act as if they are no more than friendly old neighbors and acquaintances. Before long, Hart is squiring the two young ladies around, leading to something of a love triangle in which Hart has eyes for Reed, but both Turner and Reed are attracted to him.

Meanwhile, a local resident and woodcarver (Van Heflin) is a long-time secret admirer of Turner's and occasionally arranges for little bouquets of flowers to be given to her. This doesn't exactly thrill the lady he's been involved with on a carnal basis, who threatens to go to her brother and air her complaints.
One evening, Heflin shows up at Morgan's house for aid to a badly cut arm. Hart and Morgan get him patched up, but when Morgan says he must report the injury to the police, Heflin implores him not to do so. The man he tangled with (his jilted girlfriend's protective brother) is dead, in self defense, but nonetheless dead. He goes off to seek work on the Green Dolphin, a ship that's docked in the nearby harbor. Meanwhile, Hart continues to spend time with the two pretty sisters.
Though his heart belongs to Reed, Hart keeps accidentally winding up in one-on-one dates with Turner because he can't tell one from another when they are standing in their bedroom window across the street and up one flight! He is fond enough of Turner, who is dazzlingly beautiful and forward-thinking, but far prefers the delicate, sweet-natured Reed.
After a spontaneous and delightful day on board the Green Dolphin, which Turner considers a sign, since Hart lives on Green Dolphin St., she declares that Hart needs to enlist in the navy. This is in order to make a gentleman out of him and to make him worthy of the hand of a true lady in marriage. Already far more outspoken and free-thinking than most young women of her era, she goes about coercing her father Gwenn into footing the bill for Hart's seafaring enlistment and education, all the while knowing it will lead to her own marriage to the man.
Hart heads off for the first leg of his lengthy stint as a navy man and after a considerable amount of time has passed, comes back home for a visit. Turner arranges to have him to her house for dinner and decks herself out in another showy gown. Unfortunately, before they can even sit down, Morgan's housekeeper (Moyna MacGill) comes bursting in to say that Morgan has had a seizure. Soon after, Morgan expires, leaving Hart practically alone in the world.
All along, Hart's heart has to belonged to Reed and he asks her to wait for him as he continues his lengthy odyssey as a sailor and, ultimately, an officer in the navy. While in China, he goes to a murky, smoky vendor and buys a necklace for Reed from a Eurasian girl. He pays a fellow sailor to make certain that it is shipped on the next departing boat along with a note for Reed, expressing his love for her and his intentions of marriage.

Despite this, he returns to the store for some rice wine (and God knows what else) with the seductive young proprietress. After a cozy nestle outside the back of her shop for a sip of the stuff, he next reawakens on a filthy street with his hand lying in a trench where villagers are dumping their liquid waste! His uniform is mostly gone, as is all his money, and he's nursing one hell of a hangover. The worse news is that his ship is gone and now he is considered a deserter!
He's fortunate that the Green Dolphin happens to be in port. (Small world, ain't it??) He stows away on board and eventually heads to New Zealand. Once there, he is supposed to go to work for a missionary, as arranged by the Green Dolphin's captain, but instead he heads to the local watering hole where he is reunited with Heflin, now an accepted local resident, friendly with the Maori tribespeople. The two of them join up to work Heflin's curry business deep in the woods.
Back home, Turner and Reed believe Hart to be dead after his Chinese drugging, disappearance and apparent desertion. One day, a letter comes to the house from Hart, causing Turner to faint dead away (but fortunately right into her key light!) Once sufficiently recovered, the letter is read by Cooper and, in it, Hart proposes marriage... to TURNER! Turner is practically licking her chops about this while Reed is crestfallen.
It turns out that Hart, having written the letter while in a drunken stupor, wrote down the wrong name. (I guess this is sort of the 19th century version of shouting out the wrong partner's name during sex?) He has no idea that he's even done it until the Green Dolphin (natch!) pulls into port and there on the deck is Turner, not Reed. Heflin has to convince him to suck it up and marry her rather than send her back on another six month sea voyage.
Hart and Turner are married and Turner establishes a near-instant dislike for Heflin, completely unaware that he had once been her ardent secret admirer and must now witness his best friend being wed to her. She insists that they head directly to Heflin and Hart's compound, now a lumber camp thanks to their newest venture, where she can set up house.

She unpacks all the doilies and bric-a-brac (and dresses!) that she brought with her while her servant girl (Linda Christian) has to put it all away. Turner is no small-thinker and has a head for business, too, quite a shocking thing for her day. She believes that that river is the key to success in the lumber business and that they could increase their profits tremendously by using a barge to transport their timber rather than the traditional trails on land.
Back home, Reed is about to experience the very worst day of her life. Cooper has fallen ill and is about to die. In a truly wondrous scene, she calls Gwenn and Reed close to her so that she can express her true feelings to them about the life they've shared.

No sooner has Cooper passed on until MacGill presents Reed with a letter from Hart, which Reed can't bring herself to read. MacGill proceeds to read it aloud, revealing that Turner is pregnant and due to give birth to the couple's first child. This would be enough of a blow in the wake of her beloved mother's death, but the bad news is not over. Her father Gwenn has too passed on at the side of his deceased wife!
This is positively more than she can take and she darts out of the house and walks, walks, walks to the shoreline of the convent where she collapses in the sand. Awoken when the tide begins to rush back in, she finds that she is cut off and cannot get back home. She darts into a cave once used by pirates in order to resist being thrashed by the incoming water.

This cave, shown previously when Hart was exploring the area, has a near-vertical tunnel that stretches up and up and up to the top of the mount where the convent is situated. Reed, in a simultaneously gripping and corny sequence, perilously, grittily makes this climb, scuffing her hands, tearing her dress and wearily pulling herself to the light at the end of the tunnel (get it?)

Once there, she crawls to a rarely-used door and knocks until she collapses. Reverend Mother Whittty takes her in, patches her up and tries to console her, giving her a small religious book that she treasures and which she believes will help Reed to cope and to find her way.

In New Zealand, we see the pregnant (but not visibly so) Turner receiving a gift from Heflin, a hand-carved cradle with a little seahorse on the front (not a dolphin?) She is miserable that her marriage doesn't seem to be working despite her love of Hart and all her best efforts. Heflin, of course, still loves her himself, but won't let on this fact to her.

Hart sets out on a barge that is loaded down with timber and Turner begs him to stay and let Heflin take it to port instead. He explains that it is his place to transport the beams and reassures her that she has been an ideal wife to him.

Turner is next shown needle-pointing near the cradle Heflin made and listening to the Maori workers labor to cut down and mill the nearby trees. Suddenly, though, there is silence and she acts Christian to find out what is happening.

Christian doesn't even make it out of the house before a violent earthquake occurs! The walls shake as she and Turner are tossed around, ultimately thrown to the floor where Turner tries to find shelter under a table while screaming her head off continuously.

The earthquake continues, shaking loose gigantic trees that keep falling over. Howling natives run here and there, but nearly always wind up directly in the path of an enormous, toppling tree!
The effects here are the best seen to that point since San Francisco (1936) and it's exciting to see the land coming apart, with the occasional tribesman falling in, as Heflin races to Turner's aid and has to carry her across unsteady ground that is bubbling up with gases and debris. He and Christian finally get the pregnant, unconscious Turner to safety.

Mother nature is far from through with these folks, however. In another well-staged sequence, a craggy cliff miles away from Heflin begins to give way, spewing a raging torrent of water through a newly-formed crevasse and causing a flash flood.

Hart is drifting down the river when he hears the sounds of the ocean, yet he is nowhere near the ocean yet! He turns to see a gigantic surge of water coming down the river behind him and is powerless to do anything about it. His and the other accompanying boats are tossed about like toys, with everything lost in the bargain.

Once again, Turner has no way of knowing if Hart is alive or dead, though he turns up alive again. She has since had the baby, a girl, and just after introducing father to daughter, has to be given more bad news. The Green Dolphin has been destroyed by a tidal wave, its kindly captain along with it. (Sadly, this event was filmed, in an elaborate shipwreck scene, but cut from the film before its release. This lobby card below depicts part of it.)
Now, with their compound and business destroyed, Hart and Heflin rebuild their homes in a more traditional manner and begin to reestablish themselves. However, in another serious turn of events, the Maoris have begun an uprising. Heflin wants to get Turner and her daughter out of the area, but she insists that a barricade wall be built and that they stand their ground. This turns out to be a great mis-judgement as the natives tear through the wall and capture Hart, Turner and the little girl!
The threesome is being held in a dark, dirty hut as the tribespeople chant and assemble with torches, ready to kill. Fortunately, Heflin has enough pull still, thanks to his years of friendliness and consideration of the Maoris, to come inside the settlement and escort the bedraggled family to safety once more.

Now Hart and Turner have decided to go into the sheep/wool business in another locale, but this time Heflin opts out, preferring to seek his own fortune and quit playing fifth wheel to the couple's relationship. 

This new venture is a success and Turner is now shown in resplendent clothing and with beautiful jewelry and hairstyles. (When Lana Turner went brunette in the 1950s, I thought it was easily her most unattractive period ever, but this light brown shade is surprisingly flattering and she is often close to her most beautiful in this movie.)
Even though they are financially secure in the extreme and even reasonably happy, Turner wants to go home, to Green Dolphin St., and see her sister Reed. It seems Reed has determined to enter the convent and is now a novitiate! Hart agrees to leave their hard-won home and go back to where it all began.

Back at the family home, Turner is dealt a devastating blow when her daughter unearths the necklace that Hart had once sent to Reed, along with a note proclaiming his love and his intent to marry her. Just when she thought that they'd achieved a level of happiness and contentment, she is forced to face the fact that her husband had never intended to marry her at all!
The storyline comes to a head up at the convent on the day that Reed is scheduled to become a full-fledged nun. On this solemn occasion, Turner hilariously pulls out all the stops and shows up in the most elaborate hairstyle yet seen in the movie (go on with your bad self, Sydney Guilaroff!), slathered in fur, jewelry and a tulle headscarf! What a way to reunite with your sister who is decked out in a nun's habit...
Whether Hart finally gets to unite with his long-lost love Reed or stays with Turner is for you to find out, should you watch this long, rather epic movie some evening or rainy afternoon. I can't guarantee that you will consider it a classic, but if you are like me and love melodrama, gorgeous clothing, vivid disaster sequences and, of course, Miss Lana Turner, I should think you would at least like it, if not love it!

The seemingly impossible convent,by the way, was inspired by a real-life place, a monastery called Mont Saint-Michel, located in Normandy.
Green Dolphin Street was originally meant to be a property for Katharine Hepburn (and what a completely different movie that would have been!) Then it was slated to star Gregory Peck and Laraine Day. However, once Turner's 1946 film The Postman Always Rings Twice was such a smashing success, MGM opted to feature her in the picture, surrounding her with a top-notch cast of supporting actors.

Turner, in movies from 1937 on, had made a strong impression in Ziegfeld Girl (1941), but was not a real superstar until Postman. She and Heflin had worked together in Johnny Eager (1941) and would reunite the year after Dolphin for The Three Musketeers (1948), in which she may well have been her most beautiful ever as the devious Milady de Winter.

Turner had unsuccessfully auditioned to be Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), but was altogether too young and inexperienced for that role at the time (maybe at any time!) This is her “Scarlett.” (Costumer Walter Plunkett even did both movies.) She runs the gamut from pert, but plucky, young girl to headstrong businesswoman to nearly-demolished victim to devastated heroine. Many folks don't care for Turner, but if you love her as I do, this is a can't miss film of hers. Her only Oscar nomination came for Peyton Place (1957), but she lost to Joanne Woodward for The Three Faces of Eve. Turner retired in the mid-'80s and passed away of cancer in 1995 at age seventy-four.
Heflin parlayed a not conventionally handsome face, but a wealth of screen charisma into a considerable movie career. He first appeared on screen in 1936 and by 1941 had won a Supporting Actor Oscar for Johnny Eager (the film which starred Turner and Robert Taylor.) I always find myself watching Heflin's hands in his movies because he reportedly studied the Delsarte technique in which inner emotions were revealed in specific gestures and movements. He is, of course, a member of the “Disaster Club” for his role of the despondent bomber in Airport (1970), his final feature film. He'd previously scored an Emmy nomination in 1968 for the TV film A Case of Libel, but lost to Melvyn Douglas in Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. He died in 1971 at only age sixty from a heart attack suffered while swimming.

Reed, who'd been in movies since 1941, did not want to play this part, feeling it was unlikely that a man would pine for her while married to Lana Turner. She failed to realize that many men prefer the more delicate and demure type over overt beauty (though plenty don't!) In any case, she was a far more believable choice than June Allyson, who was first offered the role and turned it down for the same reasons, though she would appear opposite Turner (in color!) in 1948's The Three Musketeers and prove that she was right all along.

Reed was practically legendary as the perfect housewife on The Donna Reed Show (1958-1966) even though she'd won an Oscar for playing a prostitute in 1953's From Here to Eternity. She was unsuccessfully nominated for four consecutive Emmys for her work on the sitcom, losing to Jane Wyatt in Father Knows Best (twice), Barbara Stanwyck in The Barbara Stanwyck Show and Shirley Booth in Hazel, but she did score a Golden Globe in 1963 for it. She was taken from us by pancreatic cancer in 1986 at only age sixty-four, soon after having suffered a humiliating experience as Barbara Bel Geddes' replacement on Dallas (1984-1985.)
Hart was a Broadway actor making his screen debut here. The following year, he reteamed with Heflin for B.F.'s Daughter as a rival for Barbara Stanwyck's affections. He remained faithful to the stage and departed Hollywood in 1949 after having made only four films. He also took the title role in the TV series The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1950), but died early in 1951 of a heart attack at only age thirty-five! As busy off-stage as on, he'd been married twice in that time and fathered at least three children, only two of whom were “legitimate.”

Morgan is known to millions for his iconic title role in The Wizard of Oz (1939), though he'd been in films since 1916 and would work until his death in 1949, always giving zest to every part. His character here, by the way, is named Dr. Ozanne, which tends to tickle his Oz fans. Nominated twice for Oscars, he lost for The Affairs of Cellini (1934) to Clark Gable in It Happened One Night and for Tortilla Flat (1942) to Van Heflin in the aforementioned Johnny Eager. After that, it's a wonder his character helped Heflin with that knife wound! Morgan also went on with Heflin and Turner to the following year's The Three Musketeers. Like most of the men in Green Dolphin Street, he was felled by a heart attack at age fifty-nine. (Somehow I managed to momentarily forget that I have previously given Mr. Morgan his own profile right here!) 

Like Morgan, Gwenn got his cinematic start in 1916 and also had an iconic role for the ages under his belt. He played Kris Kringle in (and won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for) Miracle on 34th Street, released the same year as Dolphin. He was Oscar-nominated again for Mister 880 (1950), but lost that time to George Sanders in All About Eve (though Gwenn again won the Golden Globe for the role.) His death in 1959 of stroke complications led to a bit of turmoil for he had left a third of his estate to a wife he'd married for one day only back in 1901 (!) and a third to his sister, but the remaining third was disputed between his longtime live-in butler and a more recent roommate, the British Olympian bobsledder Rodney Soher! He was eighty-one at the time of his death.

Whitty was a wondrously captivating character actress, seen in films from 1914 on, who was twice nominated for an Oscar. Once was for 1937's Night Must Fall (losing to Alice Brady for In Old Chicago) and the other for 1942's Mrs. Miniver (losing to her own costar Teresa Wright.)

She's perhaps best remembered for playing the title role in Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 thriller The Lady Vanishes (as shown here), though she also appeared in his 1941 film Suspicion and had a role in George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) among many other parts. She died of cancer in 1948 at age eighty-two (having made four films after this one the year before!)

The crusty, but caring, captain of the Green Dolphin was portrayed by Reginald Owen, yet another esteemed, longtime character actor whose career stretched from 1911 to 1973! Still another of the veteran actors in this movie to own an iconic part, he played Ebenezer Scrooge (as seen at left) in 1938's A Christmas Carol. Decades later, he was still working in movies like Mary Poppins (1964) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) before his death of a – you guessed it – heart attack in 1972 at age eighty-five.

There is a tribute here already to the dazzlingly craggy and fascinating Ms. Cooper. Despite often portraying gorgon mothers to Bette Davis and others, she could also be called upon to display great sensitivity and caring in roles like this one. Though pushing sixty at the time of filming Dolphin, she is occasionally lit in such a way that one can see remnants of the face that was once dubbed the most beautiful in all England. Cooper had been Oscar nominated for 1942's Now, Voyager (losing to Teresa Wright in Mrs. Miniver), 1943's The Song of Bernadette (losing to Katina Paxinou in For Whom the Bell Tolls) and 1964's My Fair Lady (losing to Lila Kedrova in Zorba the Greek.) She died of pneumonia in 1971 at the age of eighty-two.

The lady playing Morgan's (and later Gwenn and Cooper's) maid, Moyna MacGill was also in My Fair Lady, in a bit role that was her general domain since the early 1920s. It was her last on-screen part, though she lived until 1975 when cancer claimed her at age seventy-nine. Her greatest legacy is probably the fact that she got her daughter started in the acting business as well. Her daughter's name? Angela Lansbury.

As Turner's servant girl, Christian eventually turns on her and helps lead to her capture by the other Maoris. In real life, Christian also pulled a fast one. Turner had been enjoying a passionate affair with married Tyrone Power at the time and Christian liked him, too. When he went off to Mexico to film Captain from Castille (1947), the Mexican-born Christian (whose name was created for her by her ex-lover Errol Flynn, who'd once played Fletcher Christian in an Australian version of Mutiny on the Bounty) hot-footed it there herself.

She made her presence known to him and by 1949 was married to Power, eventually bearing him two children. Ironically, while they were married, he was offered the Montgomery Clift role in From Here to Eternity and she, as a result, was going to play the Oscar-winning Donna Reed part, but this didn't come to fruition. They divorced in 1956 and later she married Edmund Purdom for about a year. She died in 2011 of colon cancer at age eighty-seven, having long abandoned Hollywood, but still working in Italian films from time to time.

One final notable cast member is the Eurasian girl who drugs and robs Hart. She was portrayed in heavy makeup by Lila Leeds, a starlet then at the dawn of her career, a career which would soon be cut short by scandal. The year after Green Dolphin Street, Leeds was arrested, along with cinematic bad boy Robert Mitchum, for possession of marijuana. She served 60 days in jail as a result. Mitchum's career continued to soar while Leeds' was all washed up by 1949. She died in 1999 at age seventy-one. In still another coincidence, Leeds, in real-life a Turner-esque blonde, was engaged at the time of the arrest to Lana Turner's ex-husband Stephen Crane!
Green Dolphin Street was the studio's second-best box office hit that year, though its $4 million price tag kept it from being profoundly profitable. The earthquake sequence alone cost $500,000, a considerable sum in 1947. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, Best Sound Recording (lost to The Bishop's Wife), Best Film Editing (lost to Body and Soul), Best Cinematography (lost to Great Expectations) and Best Special Effects, which it won.

There is a sort of Little Women meets Gone with the Wind vibe to the story, with the young sisters falling for the cute new neighbor boy followed by the quadrangle of main characters who begin to take on the characteristics of Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and Melanie, albeit not in not exactly the same way. By the end, it is almost set in the same U.S. Civil War era as those two works, adding even more of such a feel.
It most likely feel into obscurity because it was black and white and in the mid-1960s, when color TV was the rage, many black and white movies ceased to be rerun with any frequency as the viewing audience began to clamor for color programming.

While I do love Technicolor, this movie's cinematography is luminous and also helps keep it from becoming too garish or “pretty” during some of the more harrowing scenes like the earthquake, native capture and Reed's climb through the tunnel. These lobby cards demonstrate what could have occurred in the case of color being present.

It's occasionally ridiculous, but more often fascinating, thanks to that regal assemblage of character performers, the stirring action scenes and the luminous beauty of a young Lana Turner. (And I successfully resisted the urge to call this post "Dolphin Safe Lana!")


joel65913 said...

Another post so soon! How good you are to us Poseidon.

I just saw this all the way through for the first time about two weeks ago when TCM had a Lana Turner day in their Summer Under the Stars marathon.

At times drawn out it was still involving and it did really put Lana through the mill! I agree that while the brunette hair was a flattering shade it still proved to be a bit distracting. Blonde hair brought Lana's looks into focus, in that she was like Marilyn Monroe, a natural blonde that genetics had somehow mistakenly given brown hair.

The effects really were impressive and I can see audiences of the day being carried away by them.

Hart was a washout in the lead and except for that scene you referenced and the climb that followed poor Donna Reed was stuck with a simp of a character. The mind reels though at June Allyson in the part. I like June but talk about miscasting! Thank goodness she had the sense to refuse.

What really sold me on this besides Lana was that great quintet of supporting players. Heflin, Gwenn, Dame May, Frank Morgan and Gladys Cooper by their skill keep this behemoth on a steady course when the spectacle threatened to overwhelm it.

It was a fun watch but I can't see it as something to return to again and again like Imitation of Life or Ziegfeld Girl.

NotFelixUnger said...

Thank you for such a great and detailed post! And, greetings from North Carolina. Myself, I love Lana but have always preferred Donna. As to Gladys, "Now Voyager" is probably my favorite movie of all time. Because of it I became a fan of Gladys [as well as Mary Wick] and enjoy everything I catch them in.

I will be looking for this movie very soon. The work you put into the writing and selecting the pictures is amazing and very much appreciated. Nice to see you are all systems go again!

Poseidon3 said...

Joel, I love your reflections on Lana (and Marilyn) as a blonde. Very true indeed! I remember the first time I saw her legendary appearance in "They Won't Forget" as the bouncing, busty murder victim and I thought, "ewww!" when it came to her natural hair color. Looking back, she was surely pretty then, but blondeness really did her a huge favor. As for Hart, I think I chose a few great shots of him that show his handsomeness, but he was also quite nondescript and rather ordinary in this, aside from the drippy character. I had trouble seeing what she found so great about him! He was easily outshone by Lana and Van, imho.

NotFelix, thanks so much for your compliments. I can't deny I do put a ton of work into my photos and it can be quite exhausting, but also rewarding when I see that people like them and the finished post is the way I want it to be.

Narciso Duran said...

I have always loved this film, and it is worth noting that the theme song, "On Green Dolphin Street," by Bronislau Kaper became a jazz standard. Like "Body and Soul," and "I Can't Get Started," it ended up being one of those tunes that musicians latched on to as some sort of touchstone... Also interesting is that Kaper had previously composed the popular standard "San Francisco" for that other MGM disaster film, and would go on to score the 1962 version of "Mutiny on the Bounty," that other MGM Polynesian seafaring epic. And wasn't that the original 1936 "Bounty" decked out as the "Green Dolphin" for this film? Was it used as the "Mayflower" for "Mayflower Adventure" a few years later? I love watching MGM movies just to have this sort of fun; the circus sets for 1962's "Jumbo" ended up in that year's "Ride the High Country." As a two-bit community theater set designer myself, I adore such set recycling. Frugality and resourcefulness are a virtue.

Poseidon3 said...

Great to see you back wading through The Underworld again Narciso! Interesting about Kaper. I love "San Francisco," too! Large-scale, old-fashioned, but still-gripping disaster.

The ship from the 1930s "Bounty" was reportedly destroyed in a storm in 1945, prior to the filming of "Dolphin." The ship in "Dolphin" is a miniature mixed with close-up rear projection shots of the miniature and then some sets for the deck. (See here a very compelling run-down of "Dolphin's" effects work: )

I, too, love catching bits of movie recycling, though I'm not that good at it. I did find one staggering one (which is posted here somewhere) - costumes from "Valley of the Dolls" wound up on an episode of "Starsky & Hutch!" Egads!

NotFelixUnger said...

I just got my copy of the movie in the mail today. As soon as I am off work and have cocktail in hand I will be sitting in front of the TV. I will report back!

Poseidon3 said...

Please do! I'll be eagerly awaiting your take on it.