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 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
“Two Weeks With Love” (1950)-Musical #71
Jane Powell, Ricardo Montalban, Ann Harding, Louis Calhern, Debbie Reynolds, Carleton Carpenter, Phyllis Kirk, Tommy Retting, Gary Gray
In the early 1900s, the Robinson family takes their annual summer vacation to Kissimee in the Catskills. It’s a coming of age story as 17-year-old Patti (Powell) is ready to grow up and wear corsets and date men but her mother (Harding) and father (Calhern) still thinks she is too young. That summer a handsome young Cuban named Demi (Montalban) visits the resort. While Patti swoons, her older friend Valerie (Kirk) works to keep Demi’s attention on her. In the background, Patti’s younger teenage sister Melba (Reynolds) has a crush on Billy (Carpenter) who is chasing Patti.
-Debbie Reynolds wrote in her memoir “Unsinkable,” that her mother packed her lunch of ground up bologna and pickle juice sandwiches every day. Louis Calhern’s lunches were prepared for him by the studio, but he usually traded with Debbie for her sandwiches.
-Jane Powell says this is one of her favorite movies, according to her autobiography “The Girl Next Door and How She Grew.”
“I loved making ‘Two Weeks with Love’ because it was a very special experience,” Powell wrote in her book. “The cast was so wonderful, I feel happy even now when I think about the film.”
-Debbie Reynolds plays the French horn during the song “That’s How I Love You.” Whether she is really playing the horn in the film or not, Reynolds played the French horn in high school.
-Louis Calhern once said he was miscast as playing the father of Debbie Reynolds and Jane Powell. “Me, with my long nose, and being as tall as I am, playing the father of two little button noses like Janie and Debbie,” Powell quoted in her book.
-Phyllis Kirk’s third movie.
-Debbie Reynolds fourth movie.
-The hotel where the family is staying in “Two Weeks with Love” is the same hotel in the first scene of “Annie Get Your Gun” (1951).
-The dances in the film were choreographed by Busby Berkeley, who was known for his kaleidoscope shots in 1930s films such as “42nd Street.”
-The two youngest boys hide hundreds of firecrackers under their bed. They accidentally get lit when their father unknowingly lights it with his cigar. Chaos ensues.
-Powell has a few dream sequences where she imagines Montalban is fawning over her. Both are hilarious and adorable. One is when she is alone in a canoe. She imagines he proposes to her and he tells her that she is full of “latent fire” and then is outraged that she doesn’t wear a corset.
-The second dream sequence is Powell glamorously dressed in only a corset, hat and umbrella. Everyone at the hotel is admiring her. Then, everyone’s outfits turn to royal wear and Montalban and Carpenter have a sword fight over Powell. Powell sings “My Hero” as she waltzes with Montalban.
-Calhern tries to help Powell and buys her a corset in the film, not knowing what he’s buying, he gets a surgical corset. During a dance with Montalban, it locks.
-“Abba Dabba Honeymoon” sung by Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter. This is the most notable song in the movie. Carpenter and Reynolds fast, energetic singing style is what makes it memorable. The song made the Hit Parade and Reynolds and Carleton went on tour to promote the song and the film.
-“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” sung by Ann Harding and Louis Calhern. They don’t have great voices but it’s a very sweet moment.
-“My Hero” sung by Jane Powell during the corset dream sequence.
“Two Weeks With Love” is a joy to watch. It has an excellent cast, is fun and colorful with it’s Technicolor. But not only is it lighthearted, it’s hilarious. There are so many jokes in the movie that keep me laughing, keeping it charming and witty. It’s wonderful to see Ann Harding and Louis Calhern later in their career if you know them more from their 1930s role. In the 1930s, Harding usually played intellectual women with lose morals and Calhern played cads with gun. But later in their career, they fill the role of loving parents perfectly. Jane Powell was an established star by now and is 21 in the film, and is delightful as always. In her first major role, Debbie Reynolds energy and enthusiasm that made her famous is already shining. If you haven’t seen “Two Weeks with Love,” I highly suggest it. It may not be as famous as other 1950s MGM films, but you will remember it once you watch it.