Sam Goldwyn

Sam Goldwyn is remembered both as a Producer of some of Hollywood’s most distinguished pictures and a purveyor of malapropisms probably better known and better described as ‘Goldwynisms’

Sam Goldwyn

 

He famously came out with ‘Verbal Contracts are not worth the paper they are written on’ and another one ‘ I had a monumental idea this morning but I didn’t like it’  or ‘Our Comedies are not to be laughed at’

Sam Goldwyn 2

 

Above: Sam Goldwyn with his son Sam Goldwyn Jnr and Robert Mitchum on the set of ‘Man with a Gun’ in 1956.

They look to be having a good time sharing a joke.

Sam Goldwyn receives an Award

Above:  Sam Goldwyn receiving the Oscar he won for The Best Years of Our Lives with Harold Russell and William Wyler.

Below: Guys and Dolls – one of the last films he produced.

Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls.

For whatever reason I cannot remember but I recall as a boy being in a Cinema in HULL I think – and seeing this poster in the Foyer. It sticks with me to this day although I never did see the film and I can’t remember why we had gone there on a journey including a ferry crossing. It must have been to something special. However more about the film itself :

Sam Goldwyn produced and cast Marlon Brando in a role that had him sing and dance – which he did not do normally and had not done before BUT it proved inspired casting. He also managed to acquire the services of Frank Sinatra and a young Jean Simmons in  the film.

 GUYS AND DOLLS

Dir: Joseph L Manliewicz. Starring: Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye

Anyone who saw Richard Eyre’s triumphant National Theatre revivals of the classic Broadway musical Guys and Dolls in 1982 and 1996 might be forgiven some trepidation in revisiting the 1955 film. Will it still feel as vibrant as ever, or has age dimmed its lustre?

Perhaps surprisingly, it holds up rather well. For one thing, it boasts stellar casting: Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra in one film – as the rival New York gamblers (and gangsters) Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit, who place a bet on compromising the virtue of a pious Salvation Army woman, Sarah Brown (played by Jean Simmons).

It’s a feature of real interest in the movie that Brando, neither a singer nor a dancer, does both, having trained himself assiduously to perform Frank Loesser’s songs, while being assisted by the great Michael Kidd’s choreography. Brando wasn’t producer Sam Goldwyn’s first choice as Sky (that was Gene Kelly) but he acquits himself outstandingly.

Of course, the musical numbers in Guys and Dolls are pretty well indestructible. Loesser’s classics come thick and fast: A Bushel and a Peck, performed by scene-stealing Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide, followed by the great Miss Adelaide’s Lament, about a young woman with a cold; the lovely If I were a Bell, sung by Simmons; More I Cannot Wish You, Luck Be a Lady and the joyous, gospel-influenced Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat. And these are just the standouts: the secondary songs in Guys and Dolls would grace most other musicals.Some of the pizzazz of the original 1950 Broadway show remains intact in the casting: the splendid Blaine was the first Miss Adelaide, while amiable, rotund Stubby Kaye also played the small-time gambler Nicely-Nicely Johnson on stage.

The other undeniable charm of the film is its dialogue. Its story was adapted largely from two short stories by Damon Runyon, who had a remarkable ear for the speech patterns of the hustlers and faintly disreputable types who hung around Broadway in the Prohibition era. Guys and Dolls may seem wordy for a musical – but what words they are, in gorgeous juxtapositions. All in all, it’s a treat and delight.

 

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