Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Once Upon a Time Dance Stance
Year: 1944
Director: Alexander Hall
Stars: Cary Grant, Janet Blair, James Gleason, Ted Donaldson, William Demarest, Pedro de Cordoba, Howard Freeman, Vaughan Glaser, Gabriel Heater, Lloyd Bridges
Genre: Comedy, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Broadway producer Jerry Flynn (Cary Grant) is down on his luck after his last three shows have flopped, and flopped badly. Tonight's performance over, he tries to look on the bright side, but while he is backstage in his office he is paid a visit from his banker, Mackenzie (Howard Freeman), who tells him his theatre will now have to be sold. This is the last thing Jerry wants to happen, so he makes big claims to him about his next show being bigger and better than anything before - and he almost believes him. And so, out on the street on his way home, Jerry tosses his lucky nickel over his shoulder - and fate intervenes...

Yes, this film was actually made, and as if the producers were nervous about how it would be received there's a little caption that tells us that this is the best form of escapism while there's a war on, as it's a modern fairytale and please don't hate us for bringing you this ridiculous story. Well, it doesn't entirely say all of that, but there is the gist of it. And right enough, the film flopped as badly as one of Jerry's shows, as if audiences said, yes, we need escapism, but there's only so much whimsy you can take and this is a film about a dancing caterpillar for the love of God.

It's a terpsichoreanly talented creature that Jerry pins his hopes on to be the next big thing, because that nickel is picked up by two little boys, one of whom, Pinky (Ted Donaldson, briefly popular in the the Rusty the Dog series), plays the harmonica while Curly the caterpillar prances about in time with the music. Now, crucially the film seems to be attempting to teach the audience about using their imaginations, as we never actually witness the caterpillar's gyrations - in fact, we never see the beast at all and have to take it as read that it really is as spectacular as the characters say it is.

Although, like Jerry's best friend Moke (James Gleason), what we cannot imagine is exactly how tremendous a dancing caterpillar could possibly be. Indeed, Jerry finds that the media take a lot of persuading as well, and it's only when a radio presenter (Gabriel Heater, playing himself - he was a now-forgotten rival to Walter Winchell) picks up the story that Pinky's pet becomes a sensation. If it sounds like something that should have been a cartoon, then that is not lost on the script which brings drama to the situation by having Walt Disney trying to buy Curly to put him in a film.

Interestingly, Disney are presented as a rather coldhearted corporation who just want to make money, something mirrored in the personality of Jerry who has made a deal with them without the permission of Pinky. To complicate matters, Pinky's sister Jeannie (Janet Blair) is involved as she is the one who looks after him; this is because he is an orphan, to play on our sympathies even more, significant due to the amount of sentimentality that arises from the plot. How can Jerry be so callous as to exploit a little boy? Why, he's as bad as the scientists who wanted to dissect Curly. Any themes of faith are confused by the overriding and far too simplistic ones of decency, although Once Upon a Time does manage to spin out a flimsy idea with quite some confidence. But it's just too silly, and too schmaltzy, to bear the weight of the vital suspension of disbelief. Music by Friedrich Hollander.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3305 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: