Review: Enchanted Island (1958)

With bright blue eyes and a soprano singing voice, Jane Powell won over audiences with her first screen appearance in 1944.

She became one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s top musical starts from 1946 to 1955 — every one of her movies was filmed in Technicolor. Her co-stars were other bright new stars from “Holiday in Mexico” (1946) with Roddy McDowall to “Two Weeks with Love” (1950) with Riccardo Montalban.

But as the studio system declined and musicals failed to reign supreme, Powell’s career declined too. The last time movie audiences saw her in a starring role in a feature film was in 1958 in “Enchanted Island.”

But rather than a singing sweetheart, Powell dons a long black wig, a sarong and a tan as she plays a Typee woman who lives on a South Sea Island.

Set in 1842, a ship stops at a South Sea Island. Sailor Abner Bedford (Dana Andrews) is belligerent with the captain (Ted de Corsia), because the sailors are refused shore leave. The captain eventually relents, but Abner argues with the captain when he disapproves of drinking and carrying on with the native women; warning Abner and the crew that anything beyond the shore is dangerous.

After a fight, Abner jumps ship and sailor Tom (Don Dubbins) tags along. Abner’s intentions all along were to escape the ship, because he wants to be a free man.

Abner and Tom travel deeper into the island jungle and come across a tribe, the Typees, who are rumored to be cannibals. Abner falls in love with one of the Typees, Fayway (Jane Powell). The two are going to marry and Tom disapproves, believing that Abner needs to return to Western Civilization.

Tom runs away to return to civilization, and Abner and Fayaway live happily together. However, their happiness fades when Abner believes the Typees are watching him — making him feel less free — and he also has suspicions about what happened to Tom.

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Musical Monday: Music in My Heart (1940)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Music in My Heart (1940) – Musical #261

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Director: Joseph Santley

Starring:
Rita Hayworth, Tony Martin, Edith Fellows, Alan Mowbray, Eric Blore, George Tobias, Joseph Crehan, Marten Lamont, Joey Ray, Julieta Novis
Themselves: Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra, The Brian Sisters

Plot:
Hopeful musical understudy Robert Gregory (Martin) is going to be deported. He’s given a chance to be the lead in a show as long as he gets on a boat at 12 a.m. His taxi wrecks with another taxi with passenger Patricia O’Malley (Hayworth) who is racing to meet the same boat to marry a millionaire (Mowbray). When they both miss the boat, Patricia takes in Robert and her younger sister (Fellows) tries to play matchmaker while Robert is avoiding being deported.

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Musical Monday: Three Sailors and a Girl (1953)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Three Sailors & A Girl (1953) – Musical #405

Studio: Warner Bros.

Director: Roy Del Ruth

Starring:
Jane Powell, Gordon MacRae, Gene Nelson, Sam Levene, Jack E. Leonard, Veda Ann Borg, George Givot, Archer MacDonald, Raymond Greenleaf, Merv Griffin (uncredited)

Plot:
When three sailors (Nelson, MacCrea, Leonard) collect $50,000 to invest on behalf of their shipmates. Instead, they get suckered by producer Joe Woods (Levene) into investing the money in his new show. The sailors relent when they fall for Penny Weston (Powell), who worries the show will flop and they will lose their money.

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Watching 1939: The Hardys Ride High (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

THE HARDYS RIDE HIGH, Mickey Rooney, Ann Rutherford, Cecilia Parker, Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Sara Haden, 1939

1939 film: The Hardys Ride High (1939)

Release date:  April 21, 1939

Cast: 
Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker, Fay Holden, Ann Rutherford, Sara Haden, Virginia Grey, Minor Watson, John ‘Dusty’ King, Marsha Hunt, Donald Briggs, William T. Orr, John T. Murray, Halliwell Hobbes, George Irving

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:  George B. Seitz

Plot:
Judge Hardy (Stone) learns he is the heir to 2 million dollars. The Hardy family travels to Detroit to prove and claim the inheritance. The disinherited Philip ‘Phil’ Westcott (King) puts up a fight for the money, especially because he has to leave the family mansion.

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Musical Monday: Royal Wedding (1951)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Royal Wedding – Musical #55

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: Stanley Donen

Starring:
Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Sarah Churchill, Keenan Wynn, Albert Sharpe, John R. Reilly (uncredited), Mae Clarke (uncredited), William Cabanne (uncredited), John Hedloe (uncredited), Viola Roache (uncredited)
Himself: Les Baxter

Plot:
Brother and sister Tom (Astaire) and Ellen (Powell) Bowen are a dance team and travel to England to perform for the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. On the way, the two both fall in love which threatens to break up the act.

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Watching 1939: No Place to Go (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film:  No Place to Go (1939)

Release date:  Sept. 23, 1939

Cast:  Dennis Morgan, Gloria Dickson, Fred Stone, Sonny Bupp, Aldrich Bowker, Charles Halton, Georgia Caine, Frank Faylen, Dennie Moore, Bernice Pilot, Greta Meyer (uncredited), Tommy Bupp (uncredited),

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Director:  Terry O. Morse

Plot: Joe Plummer (Morgan) worries about his father Andrew (Stone) who lives in an old soldier’s home. Joe worries about his father and invites him to live with him and his wife. However, Joe’s wife, Trudy (Dickson) isn’t as keen on the idea.

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Musical Monday: Three Daring Daughters (1948)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Three Daring Daughters (1948) – Musical No. 64

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: Fred M. Wilcox

Starring:
Jane Powell, Jeanette MacDonald, Edward Arnold, Elinor Donahue, Ann E. Todd, Harry Davenport, Moyna MacGill, Tom Helmore, Dick Simmons, Thurston Hall (uncredited), Ian Wolfe (uncredited)
Themselves: José Iturbi, Larry Adler, Amparo Iturbi

Plot:
Three sisters (Powell, Todd, Donahue) want their divorced parents to get back together. After an illness, their mother Louise Morgan (MacDonald) goes on a cruise to Cuba without her daughters for a rest. While Louise is gone, the sisters work with businessman Robert Nelson (Arnold) to get their father back home. Unbeknownst to her daughters, Louise falls in love with pianist José Iturbi (as himself).

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