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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remains to be Seen (1953) - Star of the month... Angela Lansbury

'Remains to be Seen' is a 1953 semi-musical comedy thriller murder mystery (or post-murder mystery) directed by Don Weis and starring June Allyson, Van Johnson, Louis Calhern, Angela Lansbury and Dorothy Dandridge. The film's screenplay by Sidney Sheldon was based on the play by Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay.

Waldo Williams (played by Johnson) is the manager of an apartment building who finds one of the residents Travis Revercombe (played by Stuart Holmes) dead on his couch. The death is put to natural causes, however things are complicated after a carving knife is later put into the already dead corpse. Among the chaos Williams finds himself smitten with Revercombe's estranged niece Jody Revere (played by Allyson).

The film becomes a post-murder mystery of "who stabbed the dead body with a carving knife".

Musical program

The film's musical program includes:

  • "Toot Toot Tootsie (Goo'Bye!)" - June Allyson
  • "Too Marvellous for Words" - Van Johnson
  • "Taking a Chance on Love" - Dorothy Dandridge
  • "Too Marvellous for Words" - June Allyson

Sadly, I was unable to find any musical clips on YouTube to share :(

Did you know...

  • This was the last of 5 movies June Allyson and Van Johnson made together (last of 6 movies if you include 'Till the Clouds Roll By' (1946), where both stars appeared but not together)

Closing remarks

A very funny black comedy, far exceeding the expectations I originally had. The genres of comedy and thriller does not always tend to work, but in this film it does. A memorable and amusing scene shows June Allyson, who making dinner plans with both Van Johnson and Louis Calhern at the same restaurant switches from table to table much to the waiter's confusion.

June Allyson and Van Johnson have amazing chemistry in this film. Dorothy Dandridge has a memorable Lena Horne-style cameo, where she walks on, sings a song and leaves.  As much as I love Angela Lansbury, I feel her (as an already established star) her talent is wasted in this film, as she has a rather small appearance with very minimal dialogue. On a positive note, there is lovely polynesian decor featured in the deceased's apartment as well as a rousing swing soundtrack that will keep your toes tapping for the duration of the film.

My 3 reasons to watch this film:

  • a very unique murder mystery situation
  • June Allyson and Van Johnson's chemistry
  • Dorothy Dandridge singing "Taking a Chance on Love"

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