Musical Monday: Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (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.

paintingThis week’s musical:
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)– Musical #409

Studio:
Warner Brothers

Director:
David Butler

Starring:
Dennis Morgan, Virginia Mayo, Gene Nelson, Lucille Norman, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Virginia Gibson, Tom Conway, Wallace Ford

Plot:
Vince (Morgan) has a gambling problem and his girlfriend Abby (Norman) has had enough and leaves for Las Vegas with her two singing partners, Carol (Mayo) and June (Gibson). The three are in search for millionaires, but one follows him there: millionaire dancer Ted Lansing (Nelson). However, Ted’s family isn’t keen on him marrying a performer.

Trivia:
-Dennis Morgan’s final musical under contract with Warner Brothers.
-According to a January 3, 1951 news brief “Filmdom Chatter Box,” this film was director David Butler’s 12th Technicolor movie musical in his nine years of directing
-Virginia Mayo was dubbed by Bonnie Lou Williams
-A version of the 1929 film “Gold Diggers of Broadway

Notable Songs:
-“Painting the Clouds with Sunshine” performed by Dennis Morgan and Lucille Norman
-“A Man Is a Necessary Evil” performed by Lucille Norman, Virginia Mayo, Virginia Gibson
-“Tip-Toe thru’ the Tulips with Me” performed by Gene Nelson, Virginia Mayo, Lucille Norman and Virginia Gibson
-“Vienna Dreams” performed by Dennis Morgan and Lucille Norman
-“The Birth of Blues” performed by Virginia Mayo and Gene Nelson

My review:
It was a Sunday afternoon and I had already watched some real downers. Rounding out the weekend Dennis Morgan in a Technicolor musical seemed like a top-notch idea.

The only problem is…Dennis Morgan has first billing and has less screen time than any of the other stars. That really was my main issue with this movie. The film begins with immediately singing on-screen in Technicolor; cue major swooning.

The movie revolves around him in love with Abby, played by Lucille Norman. But Dennis has a gambling problem and she isn’t having it. So Abby and her singing trio, which is made up of Virginia Gibson and Virginia Mayo, travel to Las Vegas to perform. They are followed by dancer Gene Nelson, who is secretly rich.

Dennis Morgan is the first 10 or 15 minutes of the film and then we don’t see him for at least another 45 minutes.

“Painting the Clouds with Sunshine” is a fun, colorful musical. The songs are fairly forgettable but the characters are fun. Wallace Ford is in a non-singing role of a rough and tumble western cowboy. S.Z. Cuddles Sakall runs a hotel and is equally hilarious and adorable. Then there is Tom Conway —brother of George Sanders — who brings some comedy and also a third romantic partner for our female singing trio.

Lucille Norman is probably a name you aren’t familiar with. Norman was a professional singer and only appeared in a few films. You may not recognize the name Virginia Gibson either, but you know her as one of the seven brides in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” Gibson is a trained dancer and Norman apparently could not dance, because when the two Virginia’s started dancing, Lucille Norman disappeared until she had to reappear for singing.

Virginia Mayo was delightful as always in this film. I liked her character because she’s a little brassy and upfront with everyone, including the men who are trying to woo her friends.

I’ll admit, I was stumped up until the end of this film with which leading lady was going to end up with which leading man by the end of the film. I had some hunches, which ended up correct, but the romantic bingo was confusing enough to keep me guessing.

“Painting the Clouds with Sunshine” is by no means a must see, but if you are looking for some light, happy fair, this will do the trick.

Lucille Norman, Virginia Gibson, Virginia Mayo

Lucille Norman, Virginia Gibson, Virginia Mayo

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2 thoughts on “Musical Monday: Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)

  1. Haven’t seen this in an age. Loved the Birth of the Blues number though I don’t think it is as well done as in Best Things in Life are Free.
    I only know Lucille Norman from one of my favorite westerns,Carson City. Wish she had done more films.

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  2. I’m a movie musical lover, myself. I remember the untold hours of magical escapism they afforded me, an average kid growing up in Brooklyn. I was lucky to have three movie houses in my neighborhood that allowed me to buy a ticket, unaccompanied by an adult. Yes, I did have to sit in the children’s section, but so what? Sure, the Kids were unruly at times, but in those days, we had stern matrons, as they were called, who patrolled the aisles with flashlights to keep the noise down. Haven’t thought about this in years, until I read your “Musical Mondays.” Thank you so much. Just loved those innocent, beautiful, musical days. Just look at what we have today?

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