Belles On Their Toes 1952
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Myrna Loy, Edward Arnold, Hoagy Carmichael. The delightful sequel to the 1950 hit Cheaper by the Dozen finds the widowed mother of 12 having a hard time trying to find work, but it's easier than taking care of a dozen kids! 1952/b&w/88 min/NR/fullscreen.
Myrna Loy charms as the Gilbreth family matriarch in this enjoyable 1952 sequel to Walter Lang's comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, based on the autobiographical novel by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Picking up from the somber ending of Cheaper, in which Frank Sr. (Clifton Webb) dies, leaving behind his wife, Lillian (Loy), and 12 children, Belles focuses on the family's slow recovery and aspirations for a future. Lillian's qualifications as an engineer are dismissed--sometimes humiliatingly--by sexist men, though she finally receives a training position with the plain-speaking Sam Harper (Edward Arnold) and the respect of a major university. Meanwhile, eldest daughter Ann (Jeanne Crain) is wooed by a young doctor (Jeffrey Hunter), and the other Gilbreth kids weed out unsuitable suitors for their dating-age sisters. Several pleasant musical numbers punctuate the comically unpredictable action, including a few by Hoagy Carmichael as the Gilbreth's wry cook. --Tom Keogh
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Extras are minimal on this DVD. Like most Fox DVDs, there are English stereo, English mono, and Spanish audio tracks, English and Spanish subtitles, and theatrical trailers for both this film and two versions of CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN; the aforementioned 1950 original (the trailer is in B&W, even though the film is in Technicolor) and the 2003 remake with Steve Martin. (A sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, was made in 2005). A comparison of the trailers is a strong indictment of Hollywood's decline; the kids are much more ill-mannered in 2003 than in 1950 or 1952. What a shame. Three and a half to four stars.