Harmon Jones – As Young As You Feel (1951)

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Based on a story by Paddy Chayefsky, this is the tale of a man, John Hodges, who is being forced to retire from his job, at the age of 65, and decides to fight back. His family can barely stand having him at home, and the traditional pursuits of the aged do not appeal. Impersonating the head of his former company, Hodges sets out to convince them to get rid of their outmoded retirement policy. He arrives at his old plant on an inspection tour where complications ensue. This movie features good performances, but it will probably be remembered more for the bit part played by a young Marilyn Monroe as the boss’ secretary Continue reading

F. Hugh Herbert – Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948)

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Plot:

Though the title sounds like something from a Big Band era tune, it actually refers to commands used during the training of mules. Young Snug Dominy has just purchased a pair of strapping mules. With no available cash, he must work for their previous owner to pay them off. Snug lives with his callous stepmother Judith, who spends all her time and attention with his stepbrother Stretch. This creates an escalating tension between the two youths that their father is unable to stop. Meanwhile, Snug toils long and hard to keep possession of his muleteam, as the farmer who owned them tries to get them back. Things get really sticky when Snug falls in love with the farmer’s lovely daughter. Look very closely and see a young Marilyn Monroe paddling a canoe in one sequence. Continue reading

Richard Sale – Let’s Make It Legal (1951)

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Brief Synopsis
The divorce of Hugh and Miriam Halsworth becomes final at midnight. Hugh wouldn’t dream of calling it off, but can’t abandon his rose garden. Things change that afternoon, though, when Miriam’s old suitor Victor Macfarland checks into the hotel where Hugh is publicity man. With Miriam’s daughter Barbara rooting for Hugh and son-in-law Jerry rooting for Victor, things are unlikely to be resolved by midnight… Continue reading

Phil Karlson – Ladies of the Chorus (1949)

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Andrea Passafiume wrote:
Ladies of the Chorus
Marilyn Monroe makes an early big screen appearance in director Phil Karlson’s 1949 entertaining B musical Ladies of the Chorus. In her first starring role, Monroe plays Peggy Martin, a young chorus girl in a burlesque show who works alongside her mother, Mae (Adele Jergens). When Peggy is pursued by wealthy society man Randy Carroll (Rand Brooks), Mae worries that class differences will doom the relationship and tries to protect her daughter from heartbreak.

When she made Ladies of the Chorus, Marilyn Monroe was a fresh new face in Hollywood still a few years away from megastardom. Monroe gives a solid self-assured performance without the breathy sexpot affectations that eventually became her signature style. The only film she ever made with Columbia Pictures, Ladies of the Chorus marked the first time Monroe sang and danced in a film, performing the enjoyable numbers “Anyone Can Tell I Love You” and “Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy.” Continue reading

Tay Garnett – The Fireball (1950)

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Plot: Johnny runs away from Father O’Hara’s orphanage and becomes a roller skating star with the help of Mary Reeves. He becomes involved with women, including Polly, who only love him because he is a champion, not, as with Mary, out of love for him. Then he gets polio. Written by Ed Stephan Continue reading

Arthur Pierson – Home Town Story (1951)

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AMG: Home Town Story was commissioned as a pro-Big Business tract by General Motors. The story revolves around Blake Washburn, a mildly leftist newspaperman, played by Jeffrey Lynn. Returning to his home town, Washburn turns his journalistic vitriol upon the local business interests. Only after his kid sister Katie (Melinda Plowman), trapped in a cave-in, is rescued by locally produced technology, does Washburn realize the value of the capitalistic system. Home Town Story was fitfully distributed by MGM, then lapsed into obscurity. It might have remained there had it not been for the presence of a young Marilyn Monroe in a supporting part. Continue reading

Louis King – Green Grass of Wyoming (1948)

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In this sequel to MY FRIEND FLICKA and THUNDERHEAD, young Ken McLaughlin buys a trotting horse named Crown Jewel, intending to train and race her. However, Thunderhead, the stallion he released to the wild, returns and steals Jewel to add to his herd. Ken gets Jewel back and also succeeds in bringing Thunderhead home before competing in a trotting race. His chief opponent is Beaver Greenway, a washed-up former champion driver whose granddaughter Ken is in love with. Continue reading