I am velvety-smoothReview is BELOWI am veltely smooth, too
DVD: Belles on Their Toes (1952)
Review Rating:   Standard  
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20th Century Fox   
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1 (NTSC)

March 16, 2004



Genre: Drama / Comedy  
As the last granddaughter graduates from college, the Gilbreth matriarch recalls her struggles to keep the family together after the loss of her husband.



Directed by:

Henry Levin
Screenplay by: Henry Ephron,  Phoebe Ephron
Music by: Lionel Newman
Produced by: Samuel G. Engel

Jeanne Crain,  Myrna Loy,  Debra Paget,  Jeffrey Hunter,  Edward Arnold,  Hoagy Carmichael,  Barbara Bates,  Robert Arthur,  Verna Felton,  Martin Milner,  Robert Easton

Film Length: 86 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.33:1
Anamorphic DVD: No
Languages:   English Mono & Pseudo-stereo, Spanish (Mono) / English, Spanish Subtitles
Special Features :  

Theatrical trailers for "Cheaper By The Dozen" (2004), "Cheaper By The Dozen" (1950), and "Belles On Their Toes"

Comments :

The sequel to the original "Cheaper By the Dozen," “Belles On Their Toes” is a more bittersweet comedy/drama, with flashback core of film spanning the flapper years, as Myrna Loy struggles to assert her status as a female engineer, while family members grow older, and find new loves.

It's a rather curious hybrid of the melodramatic “Father Knows Best” template, wherein the key plot points involve fresh-faced locals banding together to raise money for personal and municipal causes, while the story is peppered with obvious nods to the Twenties. Mixed between the family struggle episodes are some odd musical numbers in the film's first half, gleaming with a kind of nostalgia - perhaps directed at older moviegoers for the film's original release period.

The most interesting aspects remain the cast, with Loy, Jeanne Crain, Barbara Bates (Anne Baxter's usurping understudy, at the end of “All About Eve”) and Jimmy Hunt (“Invaders From Mars”) reprising their roles from “Cheaper By The Dozen.” Added to the family is Fox starlet Debra Paget (pretty much stealing scenes with her evanescence and quirky dance sequence), and Crain's suitor, Jefrrey Hunter. Unbilled are future linguistics whiz Robert Easton, and Martin Milner (“Adam-12”) as a fast-talking brat, with eyes for Bates.

20th Century Fox's transfer is made from an okay Technicolor print, though the colour registration (mainly the red hues) is a bit off in spots, particularly in the graduation scenes that bookend the film. Both mono and pseudo-stereo mixes have limited dynamic range, affecting some music cues with minor distortion.

Veteran fluff director Henry Levin maintains a buoyant pace, and the screenplay (by the parents of sisters Nora and Delia Ephron) offers some very witty lines.

© 2004 Mark R. Hasan

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