Guys and Dolls
Bouncy MGM musical set during the late 1940s detailing the activities of petty criminals and professional gamblers in New York . Nathan Detroit bets that Sky Masterson can’t take uptight, ultraconservative Sarah Brown to Havana on a date. Detroit hopes to win $1000 so he can secure a place for his crap game. As with most musicals, the plot is merely an excuse to sing a lot of songs. The enjoyable score includes such classics as “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”, “Luck Be a Lady” and “Fugue for Tinhorns”. The cinematography, costumes and Michael Kidd’s choreography are marvelous as well. However the film’s exalted reputation is overrated. Non-singers Jean Simmons and Marlon Brando are adequate, as is the rest of the cast, but no one is particularly exceptional. Even Frank Sinatra, who was reportedly unhappy with not playing Sky Masterson, gives a rather cheerless performance. The studio bound production is stagy and artificial, unbefitting a story set within the streets of New York City. And the film’s bloated 150 minutes will test even the most ardent theater fan. A good adaptation, just not a great one.