Blue Eyes and Brando

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FIL REVIEWS -

GUYS AND DOLLS Di­rected by Joseph L Mankiewicz. Star­ring Mar­lon Brando, Jean Sim­mons, Frank Si­na­tra, Vi­vian Blaine. Club, se­lected cin­e­mas, 150mins In­vet­er­ate gam­bler Nathan Detroit (Si­na­tra) would like to go straight and marry his show­girl fi­ancée, Miss Ade­laide (Blaine), some 14 years into their en­gage­ment. Trou­ble is, Nathan’s only real tal­ent is for or­gan­is­ing il­le­gal crap games, much to the cha­grin of his in­tended and var­i­ous New York au­thor­i­ties.

In the hope of kick-start­ing a garage business Nathan makes a bet with his old pal and com­pul­sive gam­bler, Sky Master­son (Brando) – $1,000 says the lat­ter can’t whisk a girl of Nathan’s choos­ing off to Ha­vana for a din­ner date. Trou­ble is, Nathan names up­stand­ing Sgt Sarah Brown (Sim­mons) of the lo­cal Sal­va­tion Army res­cue mis­sion.

Guys and Dolls was not a ca­reer best for most of its il­lus­tri­ous per­son­nel. It’s not up there with Joseph L Mankiewicz’s best pic­tures. One would almost hes­i­tate to men­tion it in a roll-call that in­cludes All About Eve, Sud­denly, Last Sum­mer or Dragonwyck. Set-bound, overly talky and 150 min­utes long, Guys and Dolls rarely breezes along, de­spite Michael Kidd’s tremen­dous chore­og­ra­phy and the odd his­toric toe-tap­per ( Luck Be a Lady, Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat).

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