Guys and Dolls

1955

Comedy / Crime / Musical / Romance

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Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 15140

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Cast

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson
Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit
Jean Simmons as Sarah Brown
Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by LouE15 8 / 10

It's chemistry! Enduring and quirky musical

I'm intrigued by the strong sense of favour towards (or sympathy for!) Sinatra in the other reviews here. I've read elsewhere that Sinatra never seems to have forgiven anyone for *not* being cast as Sky Masterson.

OK, so who wouldn't want to be cast as Sky Masterson? – it's a great part: the charismatic successful gambler who makes a grave mistake when he allows himself to be suckered into a bet, in which he must take Salvation Army Sargeant Sarah Brown on a date to Cuba, or lose. It's not the money – it's the pride, but he and she meet their match. Meanwhile Nathan Detroit must juggle his long-suffering fiancée Adelaide with trying to find a spot for a craps game which will make him rich if it doesn't alienate his fiancée forever first.

The film started life as a series of short stories by Damon Runyon: that's his unique dialogue you hear, and those are his great character names, and that's his horse-racing/nightclub/late night gambling world. Then it became a musical, and you can't help but feel that in film form it never really left the stage. The camera is unusually static and the sets remarkably – and not pleasingly – flat and childlike. Fortunately the music is so great, I don't care that much.

My absolute favourite thing about this film, though, is the singing and acting of the two non-singers, Brando (as Sky) and Jean Simmons (as Sargeant Sarah Brown). Of course, putting pro singers into these roles would have produced better music; but what surely gets forgotten is that two such excellent actors brought something else to the party instead: what they lacked in vocal talent they more than made up for in gusto, acting ability, and pathos, pathos, pathos. You're with Sky as he argues with Sarah against reason, steadiness, pipes and safety. You enjoy Sarah's loosening up under the influence of Cuban "milk". You feel completely the suddenness and passion of their scene in the courtyard with bells ringing and an hour to go before the plane takes them home. As Sky rightly says, it's "chemistry". Pro singers – be they Broadway belters or smooth crooners – can't necessarily be relied on to make this happen. (And they certainly didn't.) I read somewhere that Brando criticised Sinatra for not putting all of himself into his role of Nathan Detroit. Sinatra in turn was infuriated by Brando's four-take acting method. As a Brando fan (does it show?!) I'm bound to take the other side, but I can't imagine that this film would have been the much-adored classic it is today if Brando and Simmons hadn't been in it with their wonderful chemistry; Brando's unpredictability; Simmons' face, all pink cheeks and brown hair, drunk and ashamed in a Cuban bar. Beautiful. I'll always want a copy of this film lying around in case I need to feel good again. You'll forgive me if give some of the Nathan (sleep)talking parts the 100% brush-off though, won't you? You won't? Oh, be quiet and have some more of Mindy's cheesecake!

Reviewed by jotix100 8 / 10

Times Square according to Damon Runyon

Damon Runyon's world of Times Square, in New York, prior to its Disneyfication, is the basis for this musical. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, a man who knew about movies, directed this nostalgic tribute to the "crossroads of the world" that show us that underside of New York of the past. Frank Loesser's music sounds great. We watch a magnificent cast of characters that were typical of the area. People at the edges of society tended to gravitate toward that area because of the lights, the action, the possibilities in that part of town. This underbelly of the city made a living out of the street life that was so intense.

Some of the songs from the original production were not included in the film. We don't know whether this makes sense, but this is not unusual for a Hollywood musical to change and alter what worked on the stage. That original cast included the wonderful Vivian Blaine and Stubby Kaye, and we wonder about the decision of not letting Robert Alda, Sam Levene, Isabel Bigley repeat their original roles. These were distinguished actors that could have made an amazing contribution.

The film, visually, is amazing. The look follows closely the fashions of the times. As far as the casting of Marlon Brando, otherwise not known for his singing abilities, Frank Sinatra and Jean Simmons, seem to work in the film. Sky Masterson is, after all, a man's man, who would look otherwise sissy if he presented a different 'look'. Frank Sinatra is good as Nathan Detroit. Jean Simmons, as Sarah Brown, does a nice job portraying the woman from the Salvation Army who suddenly finds fulfillment with the same kind of man she is trying to save.

Vivian Blaine is a delight. She never ceases to amaze as Miss Adelaide, a woman with a heart of gold who's Nathan Detroit's love interest. Ms. Blaine makes a fantastic impression as the show girl who is wiser than she lets out to be. Stubby Kaye makes a wonderful job out of reprising his Nicely Nicely Johnson.

The wonderful production owes a lot to the talented Abe Burrows, who made the adaptation to the screen. The costumes by Irene Sharaff set the right tone.

Reviewed by intelearts 8 / 10

Of its own time, and still memorable

Along with South Pacific, Guys and Dolls is for grown-ups - - it is sassy, sexy, and full of men being men and women being strung along.

There is an energy and drive that makes this stand out from the pack - the strength of Jean Simmond's performance, and the charm of a young Brando, and an already masterful Sinatra add much to the overall feel and look of the piece.

Guys and Dolls wins as it is unashamedly what it is: an MGM musical.

Still good to look at and listen too with great tunes and dance numbers - it will remain one of the classics of 20th Century cinema and be watched with pleasure for years to come.

Warmly recommended.

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