This will no doubt be one of the big sellers in TCM’s “Greatest Classic Films Collection”, a series designed to bring classic movies to the masses in budget-friendly double disc sets. However it’s a bit of a shame that this Lucille Ball-themed collection doubles up on films already covered in the series.
THE LONG, LONG TRAILER is in the TCM Comedy set, and ROOM SERVICE can also be found in the Marx Brothers set. LONG, LONG TRAILER is undoubtedly Lucy’s best film comedy, and operates almost like a feature-length “I Love Lucy” episode (it was filmed at the height of “Lucy” mania). ROOM SERVICE is a Marx Brothers film first and foremost, with young Lucy in one of her first major supporting roles.
Of the two remaining films, FOREVER DARLING is one of Lucy’s most disappointing, downright dreary comedies (and her co-star James Mason always regarded it as one of his worst films). The story sees Lucy and Desi Arnaz playing a married couple on the verge of a messy divorce, until a Guardian Angel – played by James Mason – intervenes. DU BARRY WAS A LADY is a big splashy Technicolor musical, based on the hit Broadway show, in which Ball shares the screen with an up-and-coming Gene Kelly, and Red Skelton.
Why TCM has decided to recycle ROOM SERVICE is anybody’s guess (though I can rationalise why LONG, LONG TRAILER is here once more). Instead of ROOM SERVICE, I would have preferred perhaps “The Big Street” (one of Lucy’s best dramatic performances); or maybe even the delicious “Dance, Girl, Dance”.
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