For Reel

Bells Are Ringing (1960)
October 4, 2016, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Vincente Minnelli
2.5 Stars
bells-are-ringingJudy Holliday’s star persona was as unique as any of her peers in the 1950s—with her breakout role in Born Yesterday, she showed both a fieriness and a palpable sense of vulnerability, thanks in large part to her extraordinary control of her vocal inflections. Bells Are Ringing gives her the role that brought her her most lasting success (she played the role on the stage in over 900 performances), but ironically the film version stifles her talents as a star, with both the stagebound direction and the uninspired performance by Dean Martin transforming Holliday’s energy into something more resembling desperation. Vincente Minnelli stages the material largely in wide or two shots, and the sets neither convince nor delight in the way that the typical MGM musical would in its blatant affectations. Holliday is fun to watch, but her best moments only make one mourn for what could have been.