Belle of the Yukon [Import]
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Set in the days of the Great Alaskan Gold Rush, this dazzling musical stars Randolph Scott as Honest John Calhoun, a 'reformed con artist-turned-dance hall owner on the lam from the law in the upper reaches of the Yukon. Calhoun's former flame, Belle (Gypsy Rose Lee), sails in as part of a new show troupe and quickly falls for her ex-boyfriend's newfound honorasserting her intentions to keep Calhoun an honest man. But on her toes is a band of Calhoun's colorful old cohorts, and they ve got one thing on their conspiring minds GOLD. Can Calhoun remain an upstanding businessman as he endeavors to be the small town's banker, or will the old thief pull his greatest number yet on its unsuspecting citizens? Oscar® nominated for best original score this rousing western musical takes you on a hilarious ride through the backcountry of greed, deceit, and double-crossing for a fun-filled finale that is sure to catch you by surprise.
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot handsome Randolph Scott is a man with a past but he decides to change his ways and starts a bank. Not too memorable.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
BELLE OF THE YUKON, set during the bustling days of the Canadian goldrush, stars Randolph Scott as "Honest John" Calhoun, a con-artist on the run from the authorities who decides to establish a bank and then abscond with the profits. Legendary striptease star Gypsy Rose Lee is Belle De Valle, Calhoun's former love who makes a splash as the town's new music hall star. A subplot features the comical misadventures of saloon manager Pop Candless (Charles Winninger) and his efforts to stop daughter Lettie (Dinah Shore) from marrying a man he believes to be a bigamist.
Filled with songs by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke (including "Like Someone in Love" and "A Sleighride in July"), and filmed in blazing Technicolor, BELLE OF THE YUKON will be a welcome treat for musical fans; the early performance of Dinah Shore (costumed and wigged to resemble Judy Garland from "The Harvey Girls") is a real highlight, and seeing Gypsy Rose Lee is great too.
(Single-sided, single-layer disc).
Not to be too critical, but the director, William Seiter, gives us plodding direction even as the Technicolor photography looks like a million dollars. The dance hall costumes and Belle's dresses are so garish even Vincente Minnelli would have gawked. With one exception, the songs are no more than Hollywood professional. The acting varies from satisfying (Scott) to interesting in a kind of unformed way (Lee) to standard cliché (Charles Winninger and Guinn Williams) to pre-nostalgia (Bob Burns sounding like what Andy Griffith will) to really awful (Dinah Shore and William Marshall). The important thing to remember, while reining in the temptation for MST3K commentary, is that this is all done with good humor and good intentions. There are happy endings all over Malamute. Belle of the Yukon does no harm.
Gypsy Rose Lee with her 37-23-36 figure, her great voice and her ability to make dialogue sound like one-liners can be forgiven for being no actress. I doubt if she ever thought of herself as one except when she was stripping. She seems to be enjoying herself. She was an intelligent, honest woman with a fine, skeptical sense of humor. She even wrote a best-selling mystery, The G-string Murders. Even though she probably received some help from Craig Rice, a good friend, she did most of the heavy writing herself. Barbara Stanwyck played a bumping, grinding Gypsy Rose Lee, now named Dixie Daisy, in Lady of Burlesque: The G-String Murders, the movie made from the book. William Wellman directed. It's a movie worth seeing. I'd skip the lumbering movie made from the Broadway hit Gypsy, based on her autobiography. The television special of Gypsy starring Bette Midler isn't bad. Gypsy Rose Lee had to grow up fast.
Dinah Shore and William Marshall play the young lovers. Shore is Lettie Candless, daughter of Honest John's saloon manager. Lettie is an innocent young woman who sings at the music hall. Shore has two major romantic songs that stop the movie dead in its tracks. "Like Someone in Love" is pleasant enough, but the numbers were used only to showcase Dinah Shore. They are as out of place as...well, as romantic ballads in a Yukon music hall. The makeup department did Shore no favors. Her bright red Technicolor lipstick emphasizes how much teeth she has, Reassuringly, the older Shore got the more interesting she became. Maturity suited her. William Marshall plays Steve Atterbury, the music hall's piano player. Marshall was a big, passive guy without, as far as I can tell, any acting talent. He got by on impressively blond good looks. Close your eyes and you'd think you were listening to the high school lead in Brigadoon.
Randolph Scott is just fine as a friendly, well-dressed saloon owner you'd be wise not to trust. He's often been the best thing in the movies he's starred in. I enjoy watching his old-fashioned (by current tastes) approach to good guy Hollywood leading men.
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