Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Stages in Life of a Dean Martin Fan

You think he's adorable.
Photo Courtesy of

1. You like his music.
2. You like his movies.
3. You like some of the clips that you've seen of his show.
4. You think he's funny.
5. You think he drinks a lot.
6. You know he smokes a lot.
7. You know he loves women, and you know that women love him.


1. You love his music.
2. You love his movies.
3. You love what you have seen of his show.
4. You know he's funny.
5. You start to wonder if he really was drinking.
6. You think he was possibly the coolest man alive that looked good smoking (even though it's really bad for you).
7. You wish you were either him, or one of the women that got to be around him.

Smoking will never even look half as cool again.
Photo Courtesy of

1. You know that he was the greatest singer in the world, bar none.
2. He was a superb actor who could do it all: Comedy and Drama (he's just not given the credit he deserves).
3. He was the greatest host in all showbiz history.
4. You know that he had a fantastic sense of humor that still resonates today.
5. You become very offensive when they accuse him of being nothing more than a drunk. IT WAS AN ACT! APPLE JUICE WAS IN THAT DAMN GLASS!
6. You know that no one else in the world could make smoking look nearly as cool as he could.
7. You know that every man and woman that was in his presence were amongst the luckiest of people in the whole universe.
Apple juice, apple juice, apple juice!
Photo Courtesy of
      If you hadn't already noticed that this post is extremely biased, then I'm telling you now: it is extremely biased. If you don't like it, get outta my blogspot (I'm just kidding, but if you don't feel even  half the way that I feel, then why are you even here?)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Film Review: Some Came Running (1959)

The film version of the massive novel of the same
name by James Jones.
Photo Courtesy of
TCMDb: A veteran returns home to deal with family secrets and small-town scandals.

     It took a James Jones novel to bring Frank Sinatra out of a dump and return him back to the top, that novel, just in case you are unaware, was From Here to Eternity. Fighting tooth and nail to get the part of Maggio, Frank went on to give everyone of his doubters (and there were plenty) a sucker punch in the stomach and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
     Well, once Frank was back on top, there was a smart man who thought that maybe another film adaptation of another James Jones novel with Frank in it again would lead to serious cash (this fella obviously had his thinking cap on). And so, they decided upon Some Came Running to be it.
     As I like to do if at all possible, I started to read the novel that the film was based on . . . for the first time in my life, I was unable to finish a book, not because I didn't want to, but simply because I couldn't because it was so--so ENORMOUS! From Here to Eternity at 864 pages is a baby compared to the whopper of 1266 pages in Some Came Running; it's even bigger than Gone with the Wind which tops off at 960 pages. I have not given up on it yet. One day . . . I will finish Some Came Running . . . it just won't be any time soon.
Bama Dillert
Photo Courtesy of
     As Dean put it in an interview, when they were trying to find someone to play the part of a man who "liked women, to gamble, and to drink. Frank said, 'Stop right there. Look no further then my pal Dean Martin.'" And Frank was right. The character of Bama Dillert fit Dean like a smooth glass of J&B whiskey.
     The character of Bama Dillert doesn't deserve to be liked. He doesn't think highly of women, thinking that they are all pigs, he gambles, and he drinks, but nonetheless, I couldn't help myself from liking him. The magic of Dean as Bama Dillert is undeniable.
     While this is technically Frank's movie, the two that really stand out to me are, of course Dean, and Shirley MacLaine. Shirley's character, Ginny, who follows Dave back to his hometown, is really a sweet, not so bright "floozie" who has it hard for Frank's character, Dave Hirsh, even when he's made it quite clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Her desire to do anything to make Dave happy, except leave, is made especially heartbreaking because we, as the viewers, and Ginny, knows that he doesn't really care. He treats her as though she's an idiot, but does so subtly, as those she's a child, and then adding salt to the wound, he feels sorry for her being an idiot.
Ginny, a sweet kid who's in love with the wrong man.
Photo Courtesy of
     This film marks the first between Dean and Frank, and that alone makes this film worth watching. Another point making this film worth a viewing is the fact that if you watch very closely, everybody is kind of awed by Dean's performance. Everybody knew that Frank could act, especially after his award winning portrayal as Maggio in From Here to Eternity (again, this is basically while this whole film was made), but people were still surprised that Dean could act, even after The Young Lions. In a way, I think, besides the fact that Frank thought Dean would be perfect as Bama Dillert, the reason why the producers gave the go-ahead for Dean being in the film was because everybody wanted to see if he could do it again, or if The Young Lions had just been a fluke.
Dave and Bama playin' in a little ol' poker game.
Photo Courtesy of
     Well, it wasn't. If you watch closely during the scene in which Frank Sinatra's character, Dave Hirsch, meets Dean's character, Bama Dillert, you can see Frank watching Dean closely. He likes what he sees. He's impressed. And it's not just during that one scene that you catch Frank watching Dean. I think Frank knew Dean could act, but not nearly as well as he did.
Get 'em Bama!
Photo Courtesy of
     A big surprise to me when I first viewed this film was seeing the credit for director of this film: Vincente Minnelli. I mean, up to the point in which I first watched Some Came Running, which was a couple of years back, the only thing I knew Minnelli of doing were musicals: bright, fun, charming musicals. Some Came Running is as about as far as you can get from a musical. Nonetheless, the are a lot of Minnelli aspects to Some Came Running which made him well-known for in his musicals, and the main one in this picture is: color. And the best scene to demonstrate this is the next to last scene in which (hoping not to give too much away to the film) Bama is chasing after a guy named Raymond who wants Dave dead because the Raymond is heavy for Ginny, whom Dave just married (I hope I didn't get you too confused while you were reading that). The chase occurs during the town fair. It is night. The lights are wild and colorful, and with Elmer Bernstein's musical score going on in the background (which is absolutely superb), it makes for an exciting climax.
He finally took off his hat.
Photo Courtesy of
     The final scenes of Some Came Running are truly amazing. I'm not going to give the finals scenes away, but I will say this: Throughout the whole film, Bama has this idea about his hat: It's lucky, and because it's lucky, he ain't gonna take it off. And he doesn't . . . until the final scene which tells you something about his character, and the character in which he took it off for.
     Despite the top notch stars and director, and for the fact that it awarded Shirley MacLaine with her first Oscar nomination as Best Actress, Some Came Running is kind of forgotten. I guess it's because the film isn't all about action too much, but rather a study of it's characters. Nonetheless, I would highly suggest that you watch it because the film really is amazing. So amazing that I give it a 3.5/4 stars.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tin Pan Alley: Dean Martin

     I've thought about having this as a new (and hopefully regular) attraction on my blog. I like doing film reviews, but I want something different, and I think this is a pretty good idea if I do say so myself, especially since I'm a music fanatic, and simply go crazy without it. So, with that, I give to you my first Tin Pan Alley . . . (I would like to say though just because the name of the series of posts will be Tin Pan Alley, that doesn't mean that the music will stay in that era of time. I like music from the 30s to the 60s generally, and so you'll have a lot Rock n' Roll mixed in here, too)
Photo Courtesy of 
     We all have out favorite songs by our favorite singers that we can have on replay in our iTunes for what seems like forever and never get tired of the song (or at least I know I do). We all have our favorite singers, our favorite songs from them (be it big hits or not), we know the lyrics (at least we think we do), and no matter if we can carry a tune or not, we always find ourselves singing along. It's just a matter of fact.
     Due to the suggestion of a nice follower (azw596), I now give you my ten top favorite songs of Dean's:
The warmest (and one of the most underrated) pair of pipes
the world was ever lucky to have.
Photo Courtesy of

1. The Tip of My Fingers . . . (Bill Anderson; Record/CD: My Woman, My Woman, My Wife)
  • This is my all time favorite Dean Martin song. The first time I heard it, I got goosebumps. Every time I hear it now, my heart simply melts and I get all warm and gooey and sad inside. I just love it.

2. Let Me Love You Tonight . . . (Rene Touzet/Mitchell Parish; Record/CD: Cha Cha de Amor)
  • So very romantic. It makes me feel very dreamy and light.
3. Let Me Go, Lover! . . . (Jenny Lou Carson/Al Hill; Record/CD: Dino-The Essential Dean Martin)
  • Based on the song Let Me Go, Devil (which was about alcoholism), there have been many versions, the first being by Joan Weber, but no one can sing a slow, sad song like Dean. His voice was made for those sort of songs, and it really shines here.
4. The Birds and the Bees . . . (Barry Stuart; Record/CD: (Remember Me) I'm the One Who Loves You)

  • This song just makes me very happy, and I'm always singing along to it.

5. Misty in the Moonlight . . . (Cindy Walker; Record/CD: Dino-The Essential Dean Martin)
  • This song is just magical to me. Dean's rich baritone is very prominent and put to good use (and I just love the way he says "firelight"). Dean made it go to number 1 on the easy listening charts, making his version the most successful.

6. Honey . . . (Bobby Russell; Record/CD: Gentle on My Mind)
  • Needless to say, this is probably one of the most saddest songs that has ever been written. Dean and sad songs? A beautiful combination. I always thought that this was Dean's song, and then I happened to hear Bobby Goldsboro, the originator, sing it on the radio one day. I had a fit. This is Dean's song from start to finish to me. I don't hear and, most importantly, I don't feel the emotion in Goldsboro's version. Anytime I hear Dean singing it, it feels like my heart is being slowly torn in two.

7. Gentle on My Mind . . . (John Hartford; Record/CD: Gentle on My Mind)
  • Though he's technically a Yankee, Dean could really sing some country . . .

8. Change of Heart . . . (N/A; Record/CD: 100 Hits Legend)
  • Fun to listen and sing along to.

9. Sway . . . (Pablo Patran Ruiz/Norman Gimbel; Record/CD: Dino-The Essential Dean Martin)
  • This is the song that started my love for Dean. I've never gone back.

10. King of the Road . . . (Roger Miller; Record/CD: (Remember Me) I'm the One Who Loves You)
  • Yes, technically this is Roger Miller's song, I know, but have you ever noticed how if the song was someone else's Dean always made it his own when he got his hands on it? 

     Well, there's my top ten favorite songs that Dean recorded. I would like to point out that this list is always changing, except for a few for they shall always be on my list. Dean is by far my favorite singer, and so basically anything that this man ever sang, I love. 
     Dean had a way with a song that no one else had; of course, that's the same with everybody, I guess in a way. I once read a quote somewhere by someone (clearly this man is a genius) who said, "Some have come very close to sounding like Sinatra, but none has ever come close to sounding like Dean Martin." Amen, brother!

(All videos courtesy of

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Film Review: The Young Lions (1958)

Dean with two of the top dogs in the
 business. Photo Courtesy of
IMDb: The destiny of three soldiers during World War II. The German officer Christian Diestl approves less and less of the war. Jewish-American Noah Ackerman deals with anti-Semitism at home and in the army while entertainer Michael Whiteacre transforms from playboy to hero.

     When Martin and Lewis split up after ten successful years of partnership, many were distressed about the break-up, though not too many--if any at all--were worried about the Lewis half, but everyone worried about the Martin half. They just didn't think he was going to make it, after all Jerry was the funny one; he had all the talent.
     Dean's first film after the break-up, Ten Thousand Bedrooms, seemed to spell out the end of his career when it failed to capture the attention of both the audience and the critics. It's a weak film with an overused and worn premise, that gives one the feeling that Jerry Lewis is going to pop out of nowhere, and exclaim in that "Idiot" voice of his, "Sorry, I'm late!" And the fact that the film shows off no one's talent, it's quite obvious as to why the picture failed. (I nonetheless enjoyed it because, well, hello, it's Dean; and if you truly love someone, anyone, you love everything they did--even the duds.)
     Through the grace of God, Dean got a call one day as he was laying in his bed from his manager, Mort Viner, who asked: "Would you mind working with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift?" Dean's classic reply? "Are you drunk? Would I mind? I'd love it!" His manager went onto inform him that he'd have to take a big cut whereas he got $250,000 for Ten Thousand Bedrooms, he'd only get $20,000 for a film called the Young Lions. Dean assured his manager that he'd do it for nothing.
     Anyone that has seen the film would tell you, as Dean himself did, it was well worth it. The role which had at first been promised to Tony Randall, showed and proved to everybody that Dean could act. It cemented his stature as an actor--and also that he could, and would, make it without Jerry Lewis.
Michael Whiteacre talking about two of his most favoritest of things:
booze and broads.
Photo Courtesy of
     Even before he landed the role as carefree entertainer, Michael Whiteacre, Dean still had to jump over one last hurdle; the producer of The Young Lions didn't want him; after all, he had failed to hold up a picture of his own, who's to say that it wouldn't happen again? I guess, to be objective about the whole thing, it's understandable as to why they didn't want him. Luckily, Dean had two people on his side that I'm sure surprised everybody, including Dean: Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando. Amazingly, they refused to begin the film without him, and not wanting to hold up production, the head honchos finally relented, and Dean was officially a part of the cast of The Young Lions which was based off the novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw.
Dean and Marlon between scenes of The Young Lions.
Photo Courtesy of
     That wasn't the only thing that they did for Dean either. Until this point, Dean had never done anything heavy; nothing that had really required him to do anything more than parrot something back that someone (namely Jerry Lewis) had said. And so, Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift helped Dean. I don't know exactly what they taught him, but if anything I don't think they taught him so much as how to act because Dean, deep down already knew how to do that; no, I think they taught him how to react. Dean had impeccable comedic timing, and I think they just honed that into a different sort of timing that Dean would use for the rest of his career. And so with Dean's talent (the largest part of it) and Marlon's and Montgomery's kindness and consideration, Dean went on to knock the socks of all his doubters, and show them all that he really could act.
On and off-screen, Dean and Montgomery become
good friends.
Photo Courtesy of
         In Michael Whiteacre, Dean found one of his most complex roles. Mike, to be blunt, is a coward. He knows it and everyone else does, too. His reason for being a coward is a plain one. It is an honest one. He doesn't want to get shot, and he doesn't want to die. No one wants to get shot or die, so can he really be blamed for being a coward? I don't think so, and I'm not saying that just because it's Dean. It takes a very courageous man (or woman) to go fight in any war in any type of position, and, in my book, it takes a courageous man (or woman) to admit that he doesn't want to get shot and that he's a "coward". For those that believe that you can't be brave while also being a coward, Michael does go onto redeem himself in not only everybody else's eyes, but his own, too.
The expression on Michael's face while he watches Noah
get the tar beat out of him.
Photo Courtesy of
     When anyone ever asks me what film they should watch if they are just being introduced to Dean, this film is ALWAYS on my list. The film is just that good, and Dean is just that amazing in it. Though he's not really known for his dramatic works, it should be noted that he was absolutely magnificent in them. If The Young Lions should be remembered for anything, it should be remembered for Dean's performance (not that Montgomery and Marlon weren't excellent in it because--uh, well, hello--they were). When I got this film, I expected him to be good; after all, I had read a lot of reviews on the film that said he was, but I didn't expect him to be as good in it as he really was.
Simply amazing.
Photo Courtesy of
     Though I recommend this film to all, I will warn you that it does get slightly slow and maybe a tad boring in a few spots, but believe me, it doesn't stay that way. It's a terrific film to watch even if you're not a fan of Dean's, Montgomery's, or Marlon's. I give this picture a 3.5/4 stars.

(As a side note, I would like to point out if this film compels you to read the massive novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw, there are key differences between the two medias. I read the book before I watched the film, and the differences are noticeable, though a majority of them are minor; except two major ones, but I'm not going to tell them to you because I wouldn't want to ruin the picture for you, or the book. In the end, you'll probably hate one and love the other.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Film Review: Rio Bravo (1959)

Duke, Dino, and Ricky: Only in the movies.
Photo Courtesy of
TCMDb: A sheriff enlists a drunk, a kid and an old man to help fight off a ruthless cattle baron.

     Alright, I'm gonna put it straight out there for you: John's name may come first, but Dean steals the picture away from him, and makes the whole film his. There's no denying it. It is just a plain and simple fact that Dean knocks the socks right off your feet with his portrayal as the deputy who was once a long time ago done wrong by a woman, and over the past few years, turned to the drink to dull his pain and his memories of a soft, warm-bodied, no-good woman (and a woman that could do Dean wrong is something else entirely, but that certain four letter word isn't allowed on this here blog).
     His performance as Dude is solid; awing; and truthful.
Dean grabs your attention from the very beginning.
Photo Courtesy of
     For some reason that I've never been able to fathom, people never took Dean seriously. Was it because of his persona as the good-time-easy-going-broad-lovin'-chimney-smokin'-drunk? That's the only thing that seems to make sense to me. He pretended that he didn't have a care in the world, or if he did, he could could care less about it, and the people took him seriously--so seriously that when he gave a performance such as Dude in Rio Bravo, people could hardly believe that it was Dean Martin.
The look on his face . . . and people say he couldn't act. Why I oughta . . .
Photo Courtesy of
     That statement isn't one based off of me being slightly biased alone. It's true, no one could hardly believe it was Dean. According to a TCM article, Dean showed up "looking like a musical comedy cowboy", and after Hawks telling him just what he wanted, "I want a drunk. I want a guy in an old dirty sweatshirt and an old hat." Dean went and got just what he wanted, and pulled the role off so well, Jack Warner said to Howard Hawks, "We hired Dean Martin. When's he going to be in the picture?" To which Hawks replied, "He's the funny-looking guy in the old hat." And Warner's reaction? "Holy smoke, is that Dean Martin?" . . . So, you see, it's not just me, it was the head honcho, too.
     Seriously, though, Dean is marvelous in Rio Bravo. I grew up on John Wayne, he being my father's favorite film actor, and because of that, I must have seen this picture . . . eh, way too many times to even think about. Even as a kid, though, while I had no idea who Dean Martin was (the Dark Ages), I still thought he stole the picture from John. He's just too damn good. And throughout the whole film--all two hours and twenty minutes of it--you'll never catch him acting. He is Dude, he did experience heartbreak, and he is an alcoholic. You feel for him the moment he's introduced to the screen, so desperate for a drink that he's willing to get down on his knees and reach his hand inside a spittoon to retrieve a gold coin that's been thrown into to humiliate him . . .
About the first eight minutes of Rio Bravo.
Video Courtesy of

. . . you start to feel hope for him when he's made it the first day without a drink . . .
First day on the job . . . and sober . . .
Photo Courtesy of
. . . you rejoice with him when he finds himself back on top, showing everybody that he's still got it . . .
    Now that's what I'm talking about.
 Video Courtesy of

. . . and then you feel like hitting him upside his head because he still thinks he's no good, and though he tried, tried real hard, he's just not like he use to be . . .
Those hands really do have the "shakes".
Video Courtesy of
     I ask you, how many actors can make you feel all of that for him?
     Dean's best scene comes when  Dude's given up on himself, and when he hears how Colorado, played by Ricky Nelson, helped Chance kill Burdette's men, he asks, "Was he as good as I use to be?"
     Chance looks at him, and replies: "It'd be pretty close. I'd hate to have to live on the difference."
Dean's best scene in the film.
Photo Courtesy of
     Fed up, Dude takes off his Deputy Sheriff badge, gives a nod, and says, "Then you got the best of them. Him for me."
     Confused, Stumpy asks exasperatedly, "What's he talkin' about 'him for me'? Well c'mon tell me. Nobody ever tells me nothin' around here!"
     "You heard him. He's quitting."
     Stumpy, proving his namesake, stumps up to Dude and asks softly, "What's got into you."
     "Look at 'em." He says, holding up his large, shaking hands for Stumpy to see. "Ain't that pretty? Huh? Shaking worse all the time." A slight hitch catches in his voice when he asks, "What can a man do with hands like that? Go ahead, tell me. What?"
     "Well take a drink. You said Chance told you to. Your given your chance you told 'em," he mumbles, so agitated that he mixes up his words.
     "He can take the whole bottle," Chance snaps.
     "Well go ahead!" Stumpy cackles.
     Pushed to his limit, Dude grabs hold of the whiskey bottle, pulls the cork out of the neck, and pours himself two fingers. He's just about to take that long awaited drink that his body has been craving for for days, but just then the Deguello music that Nathan Burdette has paid for someone to play as a warning to Chance of what will happen. He's caught off guard by the music, and holding the glass to his lips, listens to the music, but still has yet to take a drink of the amber liquid.
     Going to the window, Stumpy is about to pull the wooden boards shut, but Dude calls out to him softly, "Stumpy. Don't close it." Stumpy stumps back over to stand by Chance as they both watch Dude.
     The look on Dude's dirty, sweaty, and bloody face is torn. He wants that drink. Yet that music has done something to him. He realizes that he wants to prove himself to everybody, but mostly to himself, that he can be the man that he use to be, and stay that way. With one last glance at the whiskey, which he most surely can taste as though he was swirling it around his tongue already, he pours it back into the bottle.
      He looks at the glass, and says amazed, "Didn't spill a drop. Shakes are gone just because of a piece of music. Til they played that piece, I'd forgotten how I got into this thing. Keep on playin' it, I don't think I'll ever forget again." He stops twirling the glass in his hand, and looks up hopefully at John T. "Chance, give me another shot at it. Stumpy can take the bottle away."
Dude was quite easily one of Dean's greatest portrayals.
Photo Courtesy of
     Stumpy looks up at Chance, and giving Dude one last long look, he turns slightly to Stumpy and says, "You heard him."
     Now, while Dean steals the picture from everybody, John Wayne, Angie Dickinson as Feathers, Walter Brennan, the funny Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez all hold their own. Even Ricky Nelson, while on the front seems very misplaced, does well, too. If Dean should have ever been nominated for anything (which he was, though never an Academy Award), he should have most definitely been nominated for his role as Dude.
                  The Crooner and the Rocker share a delightful tune 
               together in one of the few peaceful scenes in the whole 
                        Video Courtesy of

     If you have not yet realized, I love this film. It's a true classic. Everybody is amazing in it. And it's one of those sort of films that you can watch over and over again and never get tired of it. I give Rio Bravo 4/4 stars.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mr. Wonderful: Dean Martin

     To celebrate Dean's birthday, I created this tribute video. It's the least I can do to show my affection toward this man who was never got all the accolades that I think he deserved. I tried to show that Dean really was Mr. Wonderful. Hopefully, I succeeded.

                                       Happy birthday, Dean.
                        Video Courtesy of

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Film Review: Bells Are Ringing (1960)

TCMDb: An answering service operator gets mixed up in her clients' lives.

Dean's first musical after his break-up
with Jerry Lewis.
Photo Courtesy of
     If I were asked to name my favorite musical, it'd be, without one single doubt, Bells Are Ringing with Dean Martin and Judy Holliday. This is just one of the best musicals ever made, in my opinion. It's fun; it's hilarious; the music is beautiful (minus the terrible "Midas Touch", but that was meant to be bad) and/or worthy of a good sing-along (no one can tell me they don't sing along sometimes with these musicals).
     Known for very colorful and bold musicals, director Vincente Minnelli does not fail here either. Bells Are Ringing is not only pleasing to the ears, but also to the eyes. The colors are bold, and they call out to you, but they are not so bold that they become obnoxious within the first ten minutes of viewing time. Instead, they keep you awake and thinking, "Ooh, what pretty colors."
     Maybe, as some critics would say, it does have a weak or rather silly plot, but I could care less what the critics think because I'm not one . . . or rather I'm not a professional critic, and as I've continued to discover, the critics aren't always right. What they pan as a terrible movie, turns out pretty gosh darn well, and then sometimes the ones they are absolutely head-over-heels for turns out to be pretty bad to me. Despite the fact that they think the plot is weak, they still think that Bells Are Ringing is a pretty good picture, Leonard Maltin giving it a 3/4 stars (I knew there was a reason why I liked him . . .).
Bells Are Ringing (1960)
Judy Holliday as Ella Peterson/Melisande Scott.
Photo Courtesy of
     Basically, the whole premise of the film is that Ella Peterson, played by the lovely Judy Holl-iday, works at her cousin's, Sue, phone operating business, and though she's not suppose to, she does more than just give and take messages for the customers. She gets to know them, and does personal favors for them such as pretending to be Santa Claus for one mother who has a hard time getting her son Timmy (who sounds a lot like a little girl) to eat his spinach. Or, in the case of Madame Grimaldi, gives her a mustard recipe to help with her laryngitis, which happens to be so pure if she has any leftovers, she can put it on a  hot dog (Mme. Grimaldi is so thankful she sends Ella a dress from La Traviata).
Ella finding out that Miss Number 63 is canceling service
because she is marrying Mr. Number 78, thanks to Ella.
Photo Courtesy of
     It's all harmless. The customers like Ella, and Ella likes the customers  . . . and in one special case, she's in love with one customer by the name of Jeffery Moss, a playboy playwright who's having a serious case of writer's block. He's afraid to try and do anything because he feels that he's sure to fail because his partner has left him . . . (Does anyone beside me see the connection? Even the first time I saw this, I caught the similarities between Jeffery Moss and Dean . . . I can't see how anybody can possibly miss it.) Jeffery doesn't think he can make it by himself, and no one really understands his problem . . . all except Ella.
     Ella understands Jeffery. She understands that he's afraid to do anything because's afraid he'll fail. She's so understanding of him that she's fallen in love with him. It doesn't matter that she's never set eyes on him; she doesn't care if "he's six foot seven or three foot two, with eyes of brown or baby blue, big and mighty or underfed"--she just doesn't care because she's in love "with a man--Plaza Oh--Double Four--Double Three." It's a perfect relationship because "I can't see him--and he can't see me!" She's even gone so far as to help him that she's created this character of a sixty-three-year old woman who listens to Jeffery when he needs to "chew the old fataroo" or "blow the breeze" to good ol' "Mom" (because he needs a mother figure).
Jeffery catching Ella in his apartment.
Photo Courtesy of
     If pretending that you are a sixty-three-year-old woman who lets a man that she knows nothing about other then the fact that he's a playwright who's afraid that his partner was the one with all the talent and that he's going to fail call her Mom isn't love, I don't know what is.
     Oh, wait, yes, I do! Love is also going to his apartment to wake him up after a night of drinking to get down some words on a play that he's promised to his agent so that the said agent doesn't drop him like a hot potato and move on somewhere else, getting caught by sleeping man that she's in love when she's trying to get back out of his apartment, and then say that her name is Melisande Scott.
     Ella/Melisande/Mom's support and belief in Jeffery gets him to writing again, and by the end of the day he's gotten an outline for a play, and his agent, Larry Hastings, played by Fred Clark, is happy with him. And though Melisande confuses him, you can tell that Jeffery is already falling in love with her. He asks her out on a date when he returns from the country so he can finish his play, and though she initially refuses, she finally agrees when he says that he won't go to the country unless she says yes.
I don't think any woman could say no to Dean . . . I know I
wouldn't have been able to.
Photo Courtesy of
     Since we know that the film couldn't continue on with her still refusing that date, we all know that she says yes. And through the course of the rest of the film, she gets into a little trouble with a couple of inspectors who thinks that Susanswersphones is a facade for something illegal (well, really only one does, the other is just a big lug of a guy who knows that Ella is really just an extremely nice person) . . . ironically, though Inspector Barnes is wrong in the beginning, Cousin Sue's beau, J. Otto Pranz, has convinced her to let him use her place of business as his place of business . . . his business just happens to be illegal gambling covered up as a classic music (classic as in Bach and Beethoven) records shipping store. If you're not careful, you can get slightly lost the fist time you view this picture because there's so many wild and crazy going ons, but hey, if that happens, that'll just give you an excuse to watch it over again.
Bells Are Ringing (1960)
I knew she couldn't say no forever.
Photo Courtesy of
     There's a lot of mixing and mashing of things that wouldn't normally go together, such as a dentist who really wants to write music, and composes his pieces on an air hose (much to the chagrin of his clients), an actor with a Marlon Brando complex (played by the hilarious Frank Gorshin), and a woman with a terribly high pitched voice that I'm sure would make dogs whimper who's after Jeffery, plus all the other forementioned characters. Yet somehow, curiously, it does go. It goes to the brilliant direction of Minelli, the superb acting and singing of both Dean and Judy (who really wasn't a singer, so when she does sing, it's impressive) and everybody else.
     Bells Are Ringing is in short, a fantastic musical; a very underrated work of Vincente Minelli. It was Dean's first musical after his breakup with Jerry (he'd go one to do only one more musical Robin and the 7 Hoods). Sadly, this was Judy's last picture . . . she died about four years later of breast cancer. The fact that the she originated the role on Broadway (Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the authors, wrote it for Judy) and was able to play the character on screen was, in a way, a beautiful send off, albeit, a sad one.
     If you haven't seen Bells Are Ringing, I highly suggest you that you do (Dean alone is worth the viewing, but of course he's not the only reason why I'm telling you that you should watch it). I give this picture a 4/4 stars.
     Now I leave you with my two favorite songs from the picture:

                 I don't know why I love this song as much as I do,
                                                I just do.
                     Video courtesy of

                 I just love this song. And the way Dean says, "Don't
                          you like dancing?" makes my toes curl.
                      Video Courtesy of

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dean's Essentials

Here's Dean's five essentials:

1. Bells Are Ringing . . . (June 6, Wednesday)
2. Rio Bravo . . . (June 9, Saturday)
3.Young Lions . . . (June 14, Thursday)
4. Toys in the Attic . . . (June 23, Saturday)
5. Some Came Running . . . (June 27, Wednesday)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Star of the Month: Dean Martin

     I have been waiting for what seems like forever for June to roll around--and now, it's finally here. If you know me, then you really shouldn't be surprised; and if you don't know me, but have read a few select things on this here blog of mine, then you might have possibly have guessed it if you were privy to a couple of pieces of knowledge such as the month Dean was born.
     This month is going to be packed of stuff about Dean. Now, it may not be fair considering all the people I've done so far have only really gotten film reviews for their five essentials and a 7 degrees. If you are a fan of one of my past star of the months, I apologize. In my own defense, however, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has shined a little bit more of a spotlight on my favorite, and then for the others a little less (which doesn't mean I don't love them). Also, if an actor or actress has already been a star of the month, it doesn't mean that they want ever pop on this blog again.
      So, without furter ado, here's the star of the month:

The man of the month . . . and what a man.
Photo Courtesy of