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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Classic Film Review: Two Tickets to Broadway (1951)

Two Tickets to Broadway stars Tony Martin as disillusioned singer Dan Carter who wants to leave his unsuccessful career and return to Denver a failure. His decision coincides with the arrival in New York of Nancy Peterson (Janet Leigh), a small town girl who wants to try and make it on Broadway. Carter's agent, Lew Conway (Eddie Bracken) casts around for a way of keeping his star and decides to trick him into believing he has a television contract for him to appear on The Bob Crosby Show with Nancy and the other three girls on his books - Joyce (Ann Miller), Foxy (Barbara Lawrence) and Conway's fianc√©, Hannah (Gloria DeHaven). But what will happen when the 'contract' doesn't come good?

The only thing stopping this film being a success is the leading man. Tony Martin was a wonderful singer but he was not a born actor. Most of his scenes come across as bland and uninspiring and I think that's why this film is relatively unknown today. The rest of the cast is, however, brilliant. Janet Leigh is wonderful as the inexperienced Nancy and her interactions with the rest of the girls are always warm and amusing. Speaking of the girls, the first time we meet them they have just been on a job that sunk - quite literally. They were doing a show on a boat that went down, leaving them stranded when their agent didn't come through with any money for them to survive on.

There are some memorable moments in this film though, unfortunately, none of them include Martin. The dance number with Leigh, Miller, Lawrence and DeHaven - 'The Worry Bird' - is beautiful, showing off the best of Ann Miller's tap dancing and the girls do work well together. Equally, Bob Crosy's number, 'Let's Make Comparisons', is funny, having him lament alongside a statue of his brother. Watch out for Ann Miller struggle to get off an exercise bike in one piece and Eddie Bracken essentially try to take over a bus. Bracken is a massively underrated comic actor but I love him in everything I've seen him in. Working opposite Gloria DeHaven, predominately, he is at his best in this film as the devious Lew Conway. The number I enjoyed most in this film was the one he shared with DeHaven - 'Baby, You'll Never Be Sorry'. I am also a fan of Janet Leigh's voice, natural and slightly gravelly as it is.

Overall, if I take Martin out of the equation, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Put him back in and you get an unbelievable romance and lead character but, on the plus side, he does have a beautiful voice. I'd still recommend this film because it has some gorgeous moments and with Busby Berkley and Howard Hughes on board it has some excellent credentials.

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