Magnificent Doll

Magnificent Doll

Director: Frank Borzage

Cast: Frank Borzage, Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Burgess Meredith

     
 

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Director Frank Borzage and star Ginger Rogers both came acropper in the lavish but dull historical biopic Magnificent Doll. The usually ebullient Rogers seems encased in wax as Dolly Madison, first lady of the United States in the early 19th century. The story begins as young Washington socialite Dolly Payne, previously and unhappily wed to one John Todd

Overview

Director Frank Borzage and star Ginger Rogers both came acropper in the lavish but dull historical biopic Magnificent Doll. The usually ebullient Rogers seems encased in wax as Dolly Madison, first lady of the United States in the early 19th century. The story begins as young Washington socialite Dolly Payne, previously and unhappily wed to one John Todd (Horace McNally), can't make up her mind romantically between idealistic politician James Madison (Burgess Meredith) and firebrand Aaron Burr (David Niven). Burr solves that problem when he flees the country after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, leaving the field clear for Madison. What should have been the film's highlight, Dolly's rescue of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution during the 1812 burning of Washington, is treated as a throwaway. Told in flashback, the film ends just before Madison's ascendancy to the White House, with Dolly chastely charming the current chief executive Thomas Jefferson (Grandon Rhodes). Magnificent Doll is anything but .

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Any biography, or biographical picture for that matter, is going to rise or fall on the personality and life of the subject, which should mean that Magnificent Doll would rise to the top. After all, Dolly Madison is the epitome of a colorful character and lived during a period of time that was rife with action, much of which involved her both directly and indirectly. How, then, did Doll turn out to be a terribly dull and uninvolving film? Largely because the screenwriter stuck to tried and true Hollywood practice in making biopics and replaced the enticing, intriguing truth with a bowdlerized, fictionalized account that makes use of any cliché at hand. To make matters worse, writer Irving Stone has weighed Doll down with dialogue that is ponderous, arch and clumsy. Director Frank Borzage is quite off his form here and unable to inject any life into the story; indeed, he manages to make even the surefire sequence in which Dolly saves the nation's most cherished historic documents into something that blah and colorless. The talented Ginger Rogers is miscast in the title role, and David Niven overdoes his role. Only Burgess Meredith, in a quiet but commanding performance, brings interest to the story. The film has a fine look and some lovely costumes, but it's a bore.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/19/2014
UPC:
0887090078108
Original Release:
1946
Rating:
NR
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:36:00
Sales rank:
27,373

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ginger Rogers Dolly Payne Madison
David Niven Aaron Burr
Burgess Meredith James Madison
Stephen McNally John Todd
Peggy Wood Mrs. Payne
Francis McDonald Barber Jenks
Robert H. Barrat Mr. Payne
Erville Alderson Darcy
Joe Forte Senator Ainsworth
Grandon Rhodes Thomas Jefferson
George Barrows Jedson
Emmett Vogan Mr. Gallentine
Frances Williams Amy
Henri Letondal Count D'Arignon
Lee Phelps Hatch, a Bettor
Ruth Lee Mrs. Gallentine
Vivien Oakland Mrs. Witherspoon
Garnett Marks Justice Drake
Ethan Laidlaw Sanders, a Soldier
Harland Tucker Ralston
Ferris Taylor Mr. Phillips
Eddy Waller Arthur, the Coachman
Pierre Watkin Harper
Stanley Price Man at Platform
John Sheehan Janitor
Larry Steers Lafayette
Pietro Sosso Mr. Anthony
Arthur Space Alexander Hamilton
Louis Austin Grace Phillips
Stanley Blystone Bailiff
Tom Coleman Mr. Carroll
Grace Cunard Woman with Baby
Jack Curtis Edmond
Harry Denny Mr. Calot
Dick Dickinson Man Who Falls
Mary Emery Woman
Sam Flint Waters
Jack George Gov. Stanley
Johnny Hines Dr. Ellis
Jack Ingram Lane, the Courier
Boyd Irwin Hathaway
Jerry Jerome Thomas
Victor Zimmerman Martin
Harlan Briggs Quinn
George Carleton Howard
Joseph Crehan Williams
Byron Foulger Servant
John Hamilton Mr. Witherspoon
Brandon Hurst Brown
Olaf Hytten Blennerhassett
Joe King Jailer
Larry Blake Charles
Al Hill Man

Technical Credits
Frank Borzage Director
Alexander Golitzen Production Designer
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Ted Kent Editor
Bruce Manning Producer
Ted Offenbecker Set Decoration/Design
Jack P. Pierce Makeup
Hans J. Salter Score Composer
Jack H. Skirball Producer
Irving Stone Original Story,Screenwriter
David Tamkin Musical Direction/Supervision
Joseph A. Valentine Cinematographer
Vera West Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Magnificent Doll
1. Chapter I
2. Chapter II
3. Chapter III
4. Chapter IV
5. Chapter V
6. Chapter VI
7. Chapter VII
8. Chapter VIII

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