This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The movie has a particular long and drawn out beginning. It takes a while to get things rolling. The exposition was handled in the form of narration by the parents/theater couple and personally, I would have not gone about it in such a way.
The Teenage girl has some good eye acting and speaks at a good tempo. The actor who plays Tim Donahue is good at actively acting.
All the cast were particularly good at their job. Though, it…
Does drag a bit, mainly the dramatic parts which are a little heavy in execution, and see jarring narrative shortcuts increasingly taken in the last act to bring the ambitiously extended arc in under two hours.
Musical numbers mainly sparkle, though. Gaudy but tremendous fun. All five Donahues and Marilyn charm, and Mitzi Gaynor in particular is a wonder.
Average melodrama about the Show Business family The Donahue's will everything work out in the end, of course it will
Songs were fun though
Man, does this ever lumber. Takes forever to get going and then seems to go on forever; only Donald O’Connor keeps it from flatlining, and even he’s somewhat miscast as a lothario capable of seducing Marilyn. (Maybe I’m underestimating the appeal of funny + agile.) If for some reason you wanted to ensure that someone who's never seen a classic Hollywood musical will never ever watch one again, this is what you'd show them. And yet it's still intermittently fun, because razzmatazz.
The first 30 minutes of this movie drag. Then Marilyn Monroe shows up and makes everything better. He relationship with Donald O'Connor makes this film and her performance sells every minute. The production design is classic Hollywood and the script is shockingly better than it had any right to be.
There are more songs than plot in this film.
A dreadful musical with no story and no closeups (thanks to early Cinemascope). It's just a parade of empty, overly-lavish musical numbers. It's a half-hour of songs before the story even starts. Catchy Irving Berlin tunes and Marilyn Monroe can't keep it from being a total bore. Script by Phoebe and Henry Epheron and Lamar Trotti, all of whom have done better work.
Before I even started watching this, it already had two strikes against it:
1. I generally don't like musicals, especially the Classic Hollywood-era ones.
2. I don't like Ethel Merman. Her voice like like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I couldn't stand her in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, even though I love everything else about that film.
Anyway, I decided to sit down and watch this, since I a) needed something that required minimal attention so…
Marilyn is pure sex appeal but Mitzi Gaynor outclassed Marilyn in the movie. Mitzi had a perpetual smile and that girl next door look and attitude that everyone wants to be around. When Mitzi was on screen I was drawn to her even when Marilyn shared the screen with her. The dress Marilyn wore in her first number was stunning. Donald O'Connor was excellent especially in his solo with the statues. Ethel Merman was in control, you could tell this was her movie. Some great song and dance numbers are in this musical.
Review In A Nutshell:
The title song of this film was one of those tunes that I simply knew due to other films or television series paying homage or make fun of it. I recall myself singing the song in my head, particularly during moments when I pretend to be like an actor or singer of some kind. It is too bad the rest of the film couldn't match the power that titular song was able to deliver.
Though it is an undeniable treat to watch Donald O'Connor, Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, and Mitzi Gaynor sing and dance to the standards of Irving Berlin, that is about all there is to "There's No Business Like Show Business." Walter Lang's splashy, CinemaScope musical is a Berlin revue with a tiny bit of plot and comedy thrown in to connect the full-bodied musical numbers. It is all very entertaining, but it lacks the narrative stuff of Hollywood's best movie musicals.…
A razor-thin plot is the loose framework for a series of musical numbers. By this point in her career, Monroe is a star - but she's essentially third wheel for much of this film.
Ed Sullivan reportedly said Monroe's sultry performance of "Heat Wave" was "one of the most flagrant violations of good taste" he had ever witnessed. Viewed from a present perspective, it is undeniably provocative. But ol' Ed is likely rolling in his grave over Farrah Abraham.