On the Riviera Walter Lang

There are two kinds of people: people who like frothy musicals about mistaken identity on the French Riviera and the walking dead. If you are the walking dead, let me be the first to warn you: On the Riviera will not be to your liking. But if you’re the other persuasion, you will thrill to every frivolous moment of this super-slight but generally entertaining song-and-dance piece. Danny Kaye stars as a nightclub singer who bears a strong resemblance to a famous aviator/industrialist (also Danny Kaye). Kaye one does an impression of Kaye two in his act; Kaye two then realises that Kaye one could impersonate him as Kaye two looks elsewhere for funds to save his company. By the way, both Kayes have ladyloves (Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvet) who do not appreciate being snowed. I suppose there’s nothing remarkable about this film, which is a remake of a Maurice Chevalier vehicle (and would be remade again with Don Ameche). However, Kaye is in fine form in his double role and the musical numbers have colour and zest even if Walter Lang’s direction does little with them. Highlights include a bizarre Commedia dell’Arte puppet dance and a big production number on a staircase; as well, future Bob Fosse muse Gwen Verdon appears amongst the dancers. This is certainly no Singin’ in the Rain or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes but it’s light, sweet and thoroughly enjoyable. Extras include a featurette on the many remakes of the source play, a lengthy and heartfelt tribute to Danny Kaye, a somewhat shorter salute to choreographer Jack Cole, a restoration comparison and some picture galleries. (Fox)