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Guys and Dolls

A movie directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

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Guys & Dolls 1955 - Luck Be A Lady Tonight

  • Jul 29, 2004
  • by
Pros: singin & dancin

Cons: Vivian Blaine's voice - speaking and singing

The Bottom Line: _______________

What a great celebration of sound in this great old movie starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and good old Stubby Kaye. Based on the dealings of roaming and mostly unsuccessful gambler, Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra), he makes a deal with his nemesis Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) to bed a certain young lady. This lady, prim and proper Salvation Army Sergeant Sarah Brown, played by Jean Simmons, is hardly one miss that Masterson will be able to fool with his sweet nothings.

Throughout the movie are a slew of great songs, including Guys & Dolls, A Woman In Love, Adelaide, I’ll Know, If I Were A Bell, Take Back Your Mink, Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat and naturally Luck Be A Lady Tonight. Several of the songs were performed by the nasal and irritating voice of Vivian Blaine and a couple by Marlon Brando, which weren’t really that bad. Of course, Sinatra and Simmons performed with their usual silky voices and animated characterizations. Stubby Kaye belted out a few songs as well. Those chubby little cheeks just cry to be pinched.

For a movie of this era it was highly acceptable. A lot of rowdy dancing, choreographed in the tunnels of New York, although the scenery in this viewing made you scratch your head and say, sure - right. I’m not thinking the boiler rooms of most places are as shiny clean and nifty as the one in the crap game sequence.

But this movie wasn’t about boiler rooms or bars, it was about love and the ends one will go to consummate that love. For Nathan Detroit, it is finally bowing down to his mistress of - geez at least 20 years - Vivian Blaine and agreeing to marriage. For Masterson it was turning his back on his erring ways and accepting the love of a pure woman.

It is also a movie about celebration and there is a lot of celebrating going on. I think this is one reason I prefer older movies, the people, even the evil ones, aren’t all that evil and the end result is generally fun and happiness. Too little of that in the movies today. I also enjoy the moving songs and the outlandish dance numbers and even the cheesey scenery.

It won the Golden Globe for Best Picture/Comedy and for Best Actress, Jean Simmons. It was nominated for several other awards, including the Academy Award for several categories.

Nothing great on the DVD except a collectible booklet. It was written by Abe Burrows and Damon Runyon, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

I always think of West Side Story when I see this movie but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. Maybe the songs and dance, maybe the love. It’s a fun movie and one that even the youngest might be able to watch, not that it would interest them.



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More Guys and Dolls reviews
review by . August 01, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Sinatra; Great sets; wonderful costumes; Awesome songs; Great score     Cons: The way Adelaide sneezes     Guys and Dolls tells the stories of two couples during the 1940s: Sarah Brown (a mission doll) and Sky Masterson (a gambler), and Miss Adelaide (a Hot Box girl) and Nathan Detroit (another gambler). Set in New York City, Guys and Dolls recounts the times where "underground" gambling ran wild, and people were still trying to save the souls …
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About this movie


Based on the Broadway show from the Damon Runyon short story and filled to the brim with Frank Loesser tunes such as "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat," this outrageously comic film featuring Marlon Brando's bold musical debut is a colorful tale about gamblers, a feisty Salvation Army lass, and a dance-hall girl with a pining heart. Veteran gambler Sky Masterson (Brando) takes a bet from Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) that he can win the affection of a "soldier" (Jean Simmons) in the Salvation Army, setting himself up to lose both his money and his heart. Romance is the last thing the gambler and the missionary expect, and they fight against their attraction for all they're worth in glowing singing and dancing numbers. Love proves to be contagious as spicy dancer Miss Adelaide, in a role re-created for the screen from Broadway by showstopper Vivian Blaine, is determined to get her fianci, Nathan, to the altar one way or another. Stubby Kaye and B.S. Pully also reprise their stage ro...
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Cast: Robert Keith
Release Date: 1955
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (April 18, 2000)
Runtime: 2hr 30min
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