Sunday, April 15, 2012

Love Is Better Than Ever(1952).

Love Is Better Than Ever(1952). A romantic comedy film directed by Stanley Donen from a screenplay by Ruth Brooks Flippen. Cast: Larry Parks and Elizabeth Taylor.

The story begins when Broadway agent Jud Parker, who travels to New Haven, to represent the dancing team, The Dean Brothers. While in New Haven Jud meets, Anastasia Macaboy and her mother, who own a dancing school, come to inquire about buying one of the Deans's brothers dance routines.

Later, Staci travels alone to New York, to attend a dance instructors conference. Staci, also wants to keep a close eye on Mrs. Levoy and her daughter, Pattie Marie, who are planning to start a competing dancing school of their own.

When, Staci runs into Jud in the elevator of the Astor, he invites her to lunch, and she then agrees to miss the convention to watch her first baseball game.

After a wonderful dinner at 21 and a night of dancing, Staci spends the rest of the week spending time with Jud, instead of attending the convention.  During Staci's last night in New York, she confesses to Jud that she is in love with him and tries to convince him to keep seeing her. Things seem to be going along well until.. her mother Mrs. Macaboy, is waiting in Staci's room and sends Jud on his way.

Back home in New Haven, Staci cannot stop thinking about Jud and her father tells her that she needs to find his weakness, to win him over.

Later, Jud's reads in the New Haven newspaper that he is engaged to Staci. Wanting to put a stop to the story, Jud travels to New Haven to confront her, along with his friend, Hamlet, who pretends to be his lawyer. Staci, admits she only wanted to stop the gossip being spread about her by the Levoys by announcing her engagement. She then would tell people that she broke the engagement because Jud did not want her to continue working. Having been charmed by Staci, he promises to help with the plan.

That evening, while Staci massages his shoulders, they start to kiss, Jud says that she is trying to trap him and spoils the mood. Staci, angrily calls him a "flesh peddler," and he walks out.

After a New York columnist makes claims that the broken engagement was faked,  many of the parents take their children out of her dance school.

Not knowing what to do to save her school, Staci goes to see Jud at Smittie's bar, where he has been drinking alone. Jud,  tells her that he is now "stuck" on her and wants to get "unstuck". Staci, then wants to make a bet.. that if Giants, lose the game, he will come with her to the school's recital and stage their breakup fight.. if the Giants win, she will never see him again. They watch the game on television, and the Giants win in the ninth inning. Staci then quietly goes home. On the day of the recital, will Jud shows up to help Staci save her dance school?

I'm writing this review as I'm watching it. In this film Elizabeth Taylor, is young, talented, funny and was better than I thought it would be. I hope that Turner Classic Movies to show it once in a while. If you get a chance to watch it, you will not be disappointed.

Ann Doran, performed in hundreds of silent films under assumed names to keep her father's family from finding out about her work.

Rarely in a featured role (with the exceptions of Jean Andrews in Rio Grande (1938) and James Dean's dominating mother in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

Doran performed in more than 500 films and 1,000 episodes of television shows, including the American Civil War drama Gray Ghost.

By 1938 she was under contract to Columbia Pictures, where the company policy was to use the members of its stock company as often as possible.

Doran appears in Columbia's serials (such as The Spider's Web and Flying G-Men), short subjects (including those of The Three Stooges, Charley Chase, Andy Clyde, and Harry Langdon), B features (including the Blondie, Five Little Peppers, and Ellery Queen series), and major feature films.

She became a favorite of Columbia director Frank Capra and appears in many of his productions. Most of these appearances were supporting roles, although she did play leads in Columbia's Charley Chase comedies of 1938-40.

When Columbia launched the boy-and-his-dog Rusty series in 1945, Doran was cast and prominently featured. Although the actor playing the boy's father changed several times, Doran continued constant as the boy's mother.

Her steady, sensible maternal roles led to her being cast as James Dean's mother in Rebel Without a Cause.

Doran also guest starred on many television programs, including three appearances in the role of Bonnie Landis in the CBS legal drama The Public Defender, starring with fellow Texan Reed Hadley.

She performed in the western My Friend Flicka, the story of a boy and his horse on a Wyoming ranch.

She also guest-starred in Ray Milland's sitcom Meet Mr. McNutley.

In 1960, she was cast as Martha Brown, the mother of horse rider Velvet Brown (played by Lori Martin) in the family drama National Velvet.

She also made one appearance on McHale's Navy as Mrs. Martha "Pumpkin" Binghampton, wife of Captain Binghampton (Joe Flynn).

Three years later, she appeared in the 1965-66 season of the 34-episode western series, The Legend of Jesse James as Zerelda James Samuel, the mother of Jesse and Frank James.


  1. Dawn, your review of LOVE IS BETTER THAN EVER makes it sound absolutely adorable! Besides, I'm a sucker for Stanley Donen's movies. I'll keep my eyes open for future showings on TCM!

    Thanks so much for kindly posting your ad for the BEST HITCHCOCK MOVIES (THAT HITCHCOCK NEVER MADE) Blogathon that Becky and I are having from July 7th through July 12th! Will you be joining the neo-Hitchcockian fun with us? Here's more info, if you need it:

    Thanks again, Dawn, and have a great week!

  2. Can't imagine Elizabeth Taylor doing comedy--sans Father of the Bride. I haven't seen this one, Dawn, but it might be worth a look to see Taylor in a comedy.

  3. DorianTB, I have signed up to participate in yours and Becky's Hitchcock Blogathon. I'm having a little trouble with thinking up a subject for a post, because.. I have already covered everything I know about Hitch.. Please check side bar..

    I have come up with idea.. but, I'm still doing a little research...

    Kim, it maybe not her best, but.. still worth at a least one viewing..

  4. Dawn, I know I speak for Becky and myself when I say I'm thrilled that you're interestedin joining our BEST HITCHCOCK MOVIES (THAT HITCHCOCK NEVER MADE! Keep in mind that the idea isn't to write about an actual Hitchcock movie, but to write about a suspense movie that has many Hitchcock-like elements. Since you were talking about Stanley Donen earlier in this post, if you're stuck for a movie you'd like to blog about, you might consider one of Stanley Donen's witty, sparkling, Hitchcock-like thrillers, like CHARADE -- which is already being written by both Jill from SITTIN' ON A BACKYARD FENCE and Clara from VIA MARGUTTA 51. Another of Donen's Hitchcockian comedy-thrillers is ARABESQUE starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. Another possibility: how about FOUL PLAY with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase? They're chock-full of witty Hitchcockian tropes! Anyway, you get the idea, and you've seen my static page about the blogathon over at TALES OF THE EASILY DISTRACTED. I hope those suggestions help. Anyway, I know whatever you pick will be a winner!

  5. Dorian, Thank you, for the Awesome idea..

    I will write about the wonderful film, FOUL PLAY with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. That would be perfect choice for me..

  6. Dawn, I'm delighted that you'll be writing about FOUL PLAY for our BEST HITCHCOCK MOVIES (THAT HITCHCOCK NEVER MADE) Blogathon! It's a wonderful choice, and I'm already all excited about getting to read your FOUL PLAY post when the Blogathon is underway in July! :-) Thanks again, my friend!

  7. I have not hear of this film! But it sounds interesting so I may seek it out.

    Thanks for bringing it to our attention


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