Musical Monday: Golden Girl (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 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

GoldenGirl_PosterThis week’s musical:
Golden Girl” –Musical #492

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Lloyd Bacon

Starring:
Mitzi Gaynor, Dale Robertson, Dennis Day, James Barton, Una Merkel, Raymond Washburn, Gene Sheldon, Carmen D’Antonio, Jimmie Dodd (uncredited)

Plot:
Set during the Civil War, the biographical film follows performer Lotta Crabtree (Gaynor) during her rise to fame. In this fictionalized biopic, Crabtree’s father (Barton) is a gambler who loses the family boarding house in a card game. Lotta, who desperately wants to become an actress, decides to earn the family money by performing. Before leaving to perform, Lotta meets Tom Richmond (Robertson) from Alabama and falls in love with him. Richmond follows her show to every venue, but may not be there just to see her.

Trivia:
-The real Lotta Crabtree, nicknamed the Nation’s Darling, was born in 1847 and died in 1924. In real life she started her career at age 6.
-Produced by George Jessell
-Mitzi Gaynor said “Golden Girl” was one of her favorite films.
-Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song for the song “Never” by Lionel Newman and Eliot Daniel.
-Jimmie Dodd who later was on the Mickey Mouse Club is in a bit role as a musician.

The real Lotta Crabtree and Mitzi Gaynor dressed as Lotta Crabtree for "Golden Girl"

The real Lotta Crabtree and Mitzi Gaynor dressed as Lotta Crabtree for “Golden Girl”

Highlights:
-Mitzi Gaynor and James Barton’s tap dance together

Notable Songs:
-“Dixie” performed by Mitzi Gaynor
-“Kiss Me Quick and Go” performed by Mitzi Gaynor
-“Oh, Them Golden Slippers” performed by Mitzi Gaynor (and a male quartet between scenes)
-“Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” performed by Mitzi Gaynor and Dennis Day
-“Sunday Morning” performed by Mitzi Gaynor and Dennis Day
-“Never” performed by Dennis Day

mitzi2

Gaynor and Robertson in “Golden Girl”

My Review:
As we have discussed in many Musical Monday posts, biographical films are generally not accurate accounts of the person’s life.
In “Golden Girl,” Lotta’s career starts as a teenager. In real life, Lotta was performing by the age of 6 and retired when she was 45. Also in the film, Lotta wants to be an actress like Lola Montez, and apparently in real life, Montez encouraged Lotta to start an acting career.
All of that being said, “Golden Girl” is a fun film and Mitzi Gaynor gives an energetic performance.
When the film started, I thought I would be annoyed with Dennis Day and his character, but I was pleasantly surprised. He gives a good performance, sings beautifully and was really likable.
Dale Robertson was also handsome and likable as Gaynor’s love interest. I think it also goes without saying that Una Merkel and James Barton who play Lotta’s parents stole the show.
I watched “Golden Girl” and another Gaynor biopic “The I Don’t Care Girl” back to back. If you remember, the latter was lackluster, but “Golden Girl” was a breath of fresh air and left me smiling and humming “Oh, Them Golden Slippers.”

Mitzi Gaynor dancing with James Barton.

Mitzi Gaynor dancing with James Barton.

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