Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jane Russell's assets in 3D

Today's selection is the frothy little musical comedy The French Line, airing at 4:00 PM ET on TCM.

Jane Russell stars as Mary Carson, heiress to a Texas oil fortune. Inexplicably, her wealth seems to have the effect of ultimately driving men away from her, as she's just had another fiancé break off an engagement. To get away from it all, she decids to take a boat trip to France, hoping that perhaps people there won't know who she is. Waiting for the boat in New York, she meets old friend Annie (Mary McCarty), a fashion designer going to France for a show. Mary gets the idea that she and anothe of Annie's designer friends also on the trip should switch identities for the duration of the trip, so that anybody on board who does know that Mary's fabulously wealthy won't fall in love with the real Mary; and, if anybody does fall in love with the real Mary, they'll be doing it for who she is, and not her money. Sure enough, along the way the real Mary falls for Pierre (Gilbert Roland), a playboy with little money. The typical romantic and comedic complications ensue....

There really isn't that much to the plot of The French Line; it's all been done quite a few times before. What makes it interesting is that it came in the early 1950s, at a time when one of the gimmicks that Hollywood was using to try to draw people away from their TV screens and back into the theaters was 3D. Here, the producers had just the thing to have protrude from the screen: Jane Russell's bust! Russell had burst onto the scene a decade earlier when her bust line was used to create scandal in The Outlaw, and for The French Line, the producers have Jane singing several numbers dressed either in swimsuits or the dresses designed by the fashion designer characters, with certain camera shots strategically arranged to show off Russell's chest. It must be quite the sight in 3D, but alas, TCM is only showing a 2D print (understandably, they wouldn't want to spring for all those glasses for the viewers). The outfits are quite tame by 2010 standards, but back in the 1950s, the outfits, combined with the 3D, created quite a stir, with the Catholic League being aghast.

To be honest, The French Line is one of those movies that's not particularly good, but a heck of a lot of fun. Sadly, it hasn't made its way to DVD.

No comments: