| Run Time: 83 min. | b/w
Director: Claude Binyon
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Clifton Webb, Anne Francis, Jeffrey Hunter
Webb, once a silent screen star but now a dignified professor, is horrified when his old movies pop up on television, thanks to ex-co-star Ginger. The satirizing of silent movies and television add lots of laughs to this very entertaining picture.
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When it first appeared, Dreamboat hit the mark with Sid Caesar-like precision. The old old movies were still floating around the smaller channels, and it was not unusual to find the TV screen filled with the histrionics of Valentino, Pola Negri, among others. Today, their existing work can be found, occasionally on TCM. Dreamboat was an absolute 'hoot' in its initial release, and Webb and Rogers were every bit as wacked-out funny as Caesar and Coca in a TV sketch about silent movies. Today, Deamboat may seem a little obscure, perhaps, but its broad and zany humor will still be there. One hopes that someone somewhere decides it is time to produce that elusive DVD release of this film (which includes an adorable Anne Francis, one of those underrated stars who deserves special attention).
Imagine the surprise when the faculty and students of a small college discover that a prim and proper English professor was in fact a silent screen star. It's discovered when Clifton Webb's old co-star, Ginger Rogers is hosting a program showing some of their old films. The man she calls her Dreamboat.
I suppose it's hard to imagine for today's audience a television in its infancy. But in 1952 it still was and a good way to fill up a lot of programming time was to broadcast old films. Even the silent ones. In my youth WOR TV in New York City was an RKO station and had the entire RKO library available to it. In the infant days of that station their programming was mostly old films as I remember.
Anyway Clifton Webb is quite content to be out of the Hollywood scene and he's quite annoyed that his past has been resurrected. He and daughter Anne Francis have law suit on their minds.
It's a dated story, but the script is quite good with some nice witty lines for Webb and Rogers to toss back and forth at each other. Among the supporting cast, the biggest kudos should go to Elsa Lanchester the prim and proper college president who discovers she's got a genuine sex object on her faculty and wants to do something about it.
Clifton Webb is in top form here as a college professor who starred in old silent films. His past resurfaces when the old movies are shown on TV and he becomes the "Dreamboat."
This is a deftly amusing film in which Hollywood is poking fun at the silliness of its arch-rival of the 1950s, TV. It also pokes fun at its own early days of silent melodrama.
The film is an enjoyable experience overall, but especially delicious is Webb as the prim professor who is also the soap-opera film star of old Hollywood.
This delightful spoof is pure joy, elevated by a spanking story (by John D. Weaver) deft direction and scripting (by Claude Binon) and cracking cast (headed by Clifton Webb and Ginger Rogers).
What’s great is that this comedy doesn’t pretend to be anything more than what it is: an amusing trifle with nifty observations about the film, television and radio industries.
One of our favorites, it’s also to date (2004) not available on vhs, dvd, or shown on tv. Production Studio Twentieth Century Fox must know something we don’t.