Once Rashomon became a worldwide phenomenon, it shouldn’t have been surprising that other filmmakers would use its underlying motif of a single story told from multiple viewpoints to tell their own stories. The problem with using it with Lloyd Bacon’s The I Don’t Care Girl is that we aren’t allowed to ever get a clear picture of who the real-life subject of this biographical movie about Eva Tanguay is. With each teller offering his own view, we’re left in a muddle with only the song and dance numbers (many rather mediocre) as compensation.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 480I/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 18 Min.
Package Includes: DVDAmray
Disc Type: DVD-R
Release Date: 04/16/2013
Three different men in the life of vaudeville entertainer Eva Tanguay (Mitzi Gaynor) offer their own views of her as a person and as a performer to movie producer George Jessel (playing himself) who is planning a film about her. To her one-time partner Eddie McCoy (David Wayne), she was an innocent girl who learned everything she needed to know about show business from him. To quirky pianist Charles Bennett (Oscar Levant), she was a madcap imp with little self-control. To the love of her life Larry Woods (Bob Graham), she was a jealous woman but one filled with joy and much talent.
The Production Rating: 2.5/5
Walter Bullock’s script is a really trite exercise in backstage clichés (in the pre-credit sequence, Ziegfeld rings the curtain down on a faltering Tanguay in mid-song, a plot point to which we never return) and one that doesn’t let the facts of Tanguay’s rather unconventional life obscure the conventional story he wants to tell (not that movie biographies were or are ever very concerned with telling the true story of any show business celebrity). Truth be known, her life wouldn’t have passed muster with the MPAA Production Code in the early 1950s, but this Fox production basically goes its own way for much of the time reusing songs already owned by the company (including “This Is My Favorite City,” “Hello, Frisco, Hello,” and “Pretty Baby”) to round out a score of barely adequate tunes for the principals to perform. Though Mitzi Gaynor gets two attempts to sock across “I Don’t Care,” the song for which Tanguay was best known, neither version is very successful since Gaynor utilizes a braying kind of singing voice that’s most unattractive. In any case, the film emphasizes Gaynor’s dancing talent (a skill Tanguay herself was not particularly known for) in a series of elaborate, sexy costumes that are anything but period looking (most of the action is pre-World War I) rather than her singing (for which Tanguay was renowned), and offers her three male co-stars as much time in the spotlight as her. Oscar Levant in particular is given two lengthy turns at the piano pounding out hard-driving Liszt and Bach pieces while baritone Bob Graham gets the film’s lone love ballad “As Long as You Care” for himself. Choreographer Jack Cole staged the jazz-infused (and again non-period) finale “Beale Street Blues” impressively (look closely and you’ll see Gwen Verdon and Julie Newmar as part of the dance ensemble), but for good old-fashioned musical comedy know-how, David Wayne (who was the first actor to win a Tony Award for a musical performance in Finian’s Rainbow) takes the prize in a couple of early numbers, one a solo and the other a duet with Gaynor.
Mitzi Gaynor is miscast as Eva Tanguay. Though she might boast a passing facial resemblance to the star of turn of the century vaudeville, her style and musical comedy assets are on a completely different page from the raucous singing sensation of that era. Bob Graham offers a creamy baritone voice but little else for so large a role as a typical backstage lothario whom Eva can’t trust . Oscar Levant as usual repeats his patented movie persona seen in so many previous films while David Wayne as the song and dance man and Hazel Brooks as a musical rival for Eva offer solid if stereotypical support.
The film is framed at its theatrical 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Once again, Fox has color timed the transfer too darkly which sometimes affects color saturation levels and makes facial features especially look overbaked and disconcerting. There are dust specks throughout and reel change markers are evident in the second half of the film. The film has been divided into chapters every ten minutes so there are 8 chapters present on this disc.
Video Rating: 3/5 3D Rating: NA
The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound mix is decoded by Dolby Prologic into the center channel. Hiss is ever-present and is sometimes loud enough to be distracting in quieter moments of the movie. Dialogue has been nicely recorded although ADR is often noticeable when it occurs. As has been the case with almost all of the Fox MOD releases, the encode has been recorded at excessive volume levels which must be adjusted by the user to avoid distortion.
Audio Rating: 2.5/5
The Fox MOD releases offer no bonus material, not even trailers.
Special Features Rating: 0/5
A very average musical biography which wastes the talents of its star in a role she’s not really suited for, The I Don’t Care Girl has some fine dancing and a genial performance by pro David Wayne in its favor. As for the rest, it’s not up to the heights of other musical biographies from Fox made around the same time (especially With a Song in My Heart and Stars and Stripes Forever).
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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