The Unsinkable Molly Brown

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Overview

Meredith Willson's second Broadway hit the first and biggest was The Music Man proved a lucrative vehicle for the equally unsinkable Debbie Reynolds. Based on a true story, the film casts Debbie as hoydenish Molly Brown, who wangles her way into Denver High Society when she marries "overnight millionaire" Johnny Brown Harve Presnell. When the local social arbiters give Molly the brush-off, she pulls off a coup by bringing a representative of European royalty, Prince Louis de Laniere Vassili Lambrinos into the ...
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Overview

Meredith Willson's second Broadway hit the first and biggest was The Music Man proved a lucrative vehicle for the equally unsinkable Debbie Reynolds. Based on a true story, the film casts Debbie as hoydenish Molly Brown, who wangles her way into Denver High Society when she marries "overnight millionaire" Johnny Brown Harve Presnell. When the local social arbiters give Molly the brush-off, she pulls off a coup by bringing a representative of European royalty, Prince Louis de Laniere Vassili Lambrinos into the Colorado community. Her admiration for the prince causes a rift in her marriage; it takes the sinking of the Titanic--wherein Molly heroically commandeers one of the lifeboats and is responsible for rescuing several of the passengers--to bring Molly and Johnny together again. While the energetic performances of such songs as "I Ain't Down Yet" and "Belly Up to the Bar Boys" are to be cherished, the real highlight of The Unsinkable Molly Brown is a society ball which ends up in a pie fight between the Denver "elite" and Molly's rambunctious mining-town cronies. Treated condescendingly by the critics, the film struck a responsive chord with audiences to the tune of a $7.5 million gross.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A career highpoint for Debbie Reynolds, The Unsinkable Molly Brown is essentially a showcase for the diminutive star's singing, dancing and acting. Not that she's the only thing in the movie. Harve Presnell is very definitely a big presence -- and his luscious, booming baritone with its sweet, light upper register is very definitely a tremendous asset. Presnell shows his voice off to good advantage in "Colorado, My Home" and "I'll Never Say No," two of the more attractive offerings from Meredith Willson's good-but-not-great score. The leading man is also a decent actor, much looser and more engaging than other such singers in the Howard Keel mode, and he partners Reynolds well. Reynolds gives the part her energetic all, plunging into the raucous aspects of her character with wild abandon, and making the transformation to elegant swan believable. At times she does try too hard, and the push is evident in vocal strain in her two big numbers, the anthemic "I Ain't Down Yet" and the boisterous "Belly up to the Bar, Boys." And even with all her commitment and enthusiasm, Reynolds can disguise neither the fact that Molly's singleminded social climbing has an unpleasant aspect to it nor that the plot is often thin and unconvincing. Charles Walters has shot the film beautifully, and the physical production is impressive. While Peter Gennaro's choreography is of variable quality, the ensemble -- including stellar dance talents such as Grover Dale and Maria Karnilova -- is first rate.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/1/1998
  • UPC: 027616057839
  • Original Release: 1964
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Debbie Reynolds Molly Brown
Harve Presnell Johnny Brown
Ed Begley Sr. Shamus Tobin
Jack Kruschen Christmas Morgan
Hermione Baddeley Mrs. Grogan
Martita Hunt Grand Duchess Elise Lupovinova
Vassili Lambrinos Prince Louis de Laniere
Fred Essler Baron Karl Ludwig von Ettenburg
Harvey Lembeck Polak
Lauren Gilbert Mr. Fitzgerald
Kathryn Card Mrs. Wadlington
Hayden Rorke Broderick
Harry Holcombe Mr. Wadlington
Amy Douglass Mrs. Fitzgerald
George Mitchell Monsignor Ryan
Vaughn Taylor Mr. Cartwright
Anthony Eustrel Roberts
Audrey Christie Mrs. McGraw
Grover Dale Jam
Brendan Dillon Murphy
Maria Karnilova Daphne
Gus Trikonis Joe
Eleanor Audley Mrs. Cartwright
Minta Durfee
Ramsay Hill Lord Simon Primdale
Anna Lee Passenger
Moyna MacGill Lady Primdale
Pat Moran Vicar
George Jay Nicholson Hotchkiss
Herb Vigran Spieler
Technical Credits
Charles Walters Director
Preston Ames Art Director
Robert Armbruster Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Leo Arnaud Score Composer
George W. Davis Art Director
Helen Deutsch Screenwriter
Roger Edens Associate Producer
Jack Elliott Score Composer
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Henry W. Grace Set Decoration/Design
Morton Haack Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack Hayes Score Composer
Robert R. Hoag Special Effects
Hugh Hunt Set Decoration/Design
Calvin Jackson Score Composer
J. McMillan Johnson Special Effects
Hank Moonjean Asst. Director
Leo Shuken Score Composer
Franz Steininger Editor
Frederic Steinkamp Editor
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Lawrence Weingarten Producer
Meredith Willson Score Composer
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Customer Reviews

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