Monday, June 10, 2013

It's a Great Feeling

I've mentioned the movie It's a Great Feeling briefly on a couple of occasions in the past. It's getting an airing tomorrow morning at 11:30 AM on TCM as part of Eleanor Parker's turn as Star of the Momth.

There's not much of a plot here. Well, actually there is, but it's a plot we've seen a dozen times before. Jack Carson plays the same personality type he's played many times before. This time, the character is named... Jack Carson! Carson is an actor/director at a studio that looks suspiciously like Warner Bros, wanting to make anothe rmovie wiht his singing star Dennis Morgan, who, surprise of surprises, is played by Dennis Morgan. (They should have blown the viewers' minds by hainv Carson's character named Dennis Morgan and Morgan's character named Jack Carson.) The problem is, if you've seen enough Jack Carson characters, he plays smarmy, manipulative users. His character here has done enough of that manipulation that nobody at the studio wants to work with him. So he's got a brilliant idea: find a new star!

They're about to find that star in the place you'd look in any Hollywood movie: the studio commissary. There, they meet the young Judy Adams, working in the commissary, having come fresh from Wisconsin. Adams is played not by any actress named Judy Adams, but by Doris Day. (They should have named her character "Kappelhoff".) It takes a bit of convincing, but eventually Carson and Morgan decide to try to win the producers over. Complications ensue. One is that every scheme Carson uses to try to get his producer (played by Bill Goodwin but named Arthur Trent) to notice Judy goes badly wrong. The other is that Judy has a boyfriend back in Wisconsin, and is perfectly willing to marry him if Hollywood doesn't work out.

So why is TCM showing this to honor Star of the Month Eleanor Parker? That's the good part of the movie. The makers of It's a Great Feeling (not the makers of the movie-within-the-movie) decided to make the movie as a partial in-joke, using many of the people on the Warner Bros. lot for cameo perforamces, often parodying themselves along the way. Parker is just one of them; you'll find Warner stars like Joan Crawford, Ronald Reagan, Sydney Greenstreet and Edward G. Robinson; and, a few actors like Gary Cooper and Danny Kaye who may have made some films at WB but aren't necessarily connected to any one studio at the time. Just as nice are the cameos from the directors: Michael Curtiz, Raoul Walsh, and King Vidor are listed on IMDb as uncredited cameos, as is the film's actual director, David Butler. Also listed is composer Ray Heindorf, a man whose name I've seen in credits but whose work I frankly wouldn't remember. The plot of It's a Great Feeling may not be great, but the cameos are more than worth seeing.

Surprisingly, TCM claims It's a Great Feeling isn't available for purchase from the TCM Shop. I say that's surprising because it was released as part of a TCM Spotlight box set. Apparently, that must have been a limited release, and now that all the copies have been sold, it's out of print.

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