Phil Karlson – Ladies of the Chorus (1949)


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

Phil Karlson – The Phenix City Story (1955)



Based on actual events, The Phenix City Story tells the tale of a wide-open “Sin City” in Alabama (across a bridge from Columbus, GA, and just a stone’s throw from the Ft. Benning Army base) where gambling, prostitution, and any number of other vices were tolerated openly by the law, most of it centered on the main downtown drag, 14th Street, thanks to the 50-year influence of organized crime on the local government. Reform groups, mostly in the form of vigilantes, had tried to clean up “the wickedest city in the United States” before, even taking the law into their own hands and wrecking some of the establishments, only to be stymied by the courts (which were otherwise indifferent to activities on 14th Street). Continue reading