Red, Hot and Blue (1949)
Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Betty Hutton, Victor Mature, William Demarest, June Havoc, Jane Nigh
Director: John Farrow
Release Date: 5 September 1949
Length: 84 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: TV
My Rating: 4/5 stars
This movie is a series of madcap adventures by a publicity-hungry starlet named Eleanor “Yum-Yum” Collier (Betty Hutton) who is ready to hit the big time – right now! Her boyfriend, director Danny James (Victor Mature), tries to reason with Eleanor and persuade her that not all publicity is good publicity, but wide-eyed, Ohio-born Eleanor chooses to believe whoever she is around. So she is torn between Danny, who preaches patience, and her publicist, Charlie Baxter (William Demarest), who has never met a gossip column entry that he didn’t love. Of course, Eleanor’s naivety and relentless pursuit of fame gets her into all kinds of trouble, which Danny usually bails her out of, but when she is present during a mob hit, has Eleanor finally gotten herself into a bind that even Danny cannot rescue her from?
I had never even heard of this movie and I really have no idea who Betty Hutton is, but I really had a fun time watching this film! It is all in black and white, but was able to capture my interest pretty quickly and hold it through Eleanor’s crazy adventures. The movie starts out with a big, blasting number called “I Wake Up in the Morning Feeling Fine,” which really captured Eleanor’s (Betty Hutton) personality in this movie. She is loud, upbeat, disgustingly cheerful, happy, full of sunshine and has way too much energy! So, of course, I loved her and thought she was hilarious! I really enjoyed the other musical numbers in this movie, too. There are only a total of 4 songs that are sung in this movie, but they were all very enjoyable and elevated the movie to something better than average. “That’s Loyalty” is a crazy audition piece that Eleanor performs that is all about how her boyfriend criticizes her all the time, but whenever anyone else criticizes her, he defends her and claims that she is the most beautiful girl, the best dancer, etc. The lyrics are really cute and clever so try to pay attention instead of watching Betty Hutton’s antics as she performs. “Hamlet” is a musical, abridged version of the classic Shakespeare tragedy. They somehow manage to make the tragedy appear comedic and this was a really entertaining number in the movie. The standout song in the movie is Betty Hutton’s ballad, “(Where Are You) Now That I Need You?,” which is a beautiful, heartfelt song that Betty performs seriously the first time and then comically the second time.
Betty Hutton was a riot as Eleanor and she got herself into all kinds of scrapes. She ends up dating a married man, believes a mobster is a famous producer, argues with her boyfriend (Victor Mature) about publicity, changes her name to Yum-Yum, thinks that a job modeling girdles could lead to the big time and all kinds of other adventures. She was really funny to watch as she tried to pursue fame. Danny ((Victor Mature), her long-suffering boyfriend, stuck with her because he was madly in love with her, even though she keeps ditching him to pursue fame. The supporting cast were very able in their roles and are usually used as a foil for Betty‘s energetic, hilarious performance. Of course, the plot is completely unbelievable and way out there, but it was funny and I found myself smiling a lot during the movie.
If you enjoy musical comedy, I think you should give this movie a chance. Unfortunately, I was not able to find this movie available on DVD or video so you have to try and catch it on TV. This is too bad as I really had a fun time with this film and thought the music was wonderful. Betty Hutton is big, brassy and bigger than life so she really swallows up the screen and is definitely the star of the film. I would love to see a collection of her movies come out so that I could rent that and see some other movies that she is in. If you catch this movie on TV, I recommend that you take the time to watch it as it is pretty short and really funny.
This movie has a mob hit in it and they show the gun, the gunshot and the mobster falling over (no blood and no shots of the body after he dies). Eleanor is also kidnapped by a mobster and threatened with torture to make her reveal the details of the mob hit. There really is no peril involved and Eleanor races through the “danger” in a grand, hilarious fashion. This movie also shows Eleanor getting drunk, accidentally dating a married man, and other men smoking and drinking. Recommended for ages 7 and up (as they might have a chance at following the relatively convoluted plot).