ON THE RIVIERA (1951) Directed by Walter Lang.
Third remake of "Folies Bergere" (35) with Maurice Chevalier and Merle Oberon (plus a silmultaneous French version of it) . Second was "That Night In Rio" (1941) with Don Ameche, Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda. The third version stars an impressively energetic Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, Corinne Calvet, Marcel Dalio, Jean Murat, Sig Ruman. Music and lyrics,Sylvia Fine (Mrs. Danny Kaye). Musical direction, Alfred Newman. Photography,Leo Shamroy. Producer, Sol Siegel.

All those films deal with performers, impersonators who replace a husband so look-alike that even the wife gets confused. Here, Jack Martin (Kaye), playing the Riviera, does a number on returning Capitaine Duran (Kaye again), pilot and plane-maker, who has just broken the record for an around-the-world flight. Duran is a philanderer married to Lili (Tierney) and even flirts with Jack's partner and lover (Calvet). With his associates Louis and Philippe (Dalio), he plans a huge sale of their planes, run into major trouble from competitor Periton (Murat) who at the last minute reneges on the purchase, thus trying to bankrupt them. Duran leaves for London to get finances just before a reception he and his wife are giving. As Periton is among the guests, and as Duran's absence would confirm that the plane-makers are in dire straits, Duran's partners hire Jack Martin to impersonate Duran. The real Duran returns disheartned, not even having made it to London.Now there are two Durans (they meet in two scenes). Eventually, the properly coached Jack gets an unexpected offer from Periton while Duran, who has slept with his wife, fools her into thinking that it was with Jack--until things get straightened out.

The city of Cannes is subsumed through cutaway shots (including the famous Carlton Hotel) but the actors are not really placed in the setting, as in "To Catch a Thief" for example. Amusing movie has nice double-entendres and gags, plus fine songs by Fine. Danny Kaye does three excellent routines: he starts by singing , very cleverly, a la Maurice Chevalier; then the multi-national number "Dance to the Rhythm of a New Romance", satirizing Duran's amours ; there is also a TV special appearance as Popo the Puppet ("Didn't I?"). The finale is just OK . It's a toss-up as to which version, No.1 or No. 3, is the best. Though not among the top Kaye vehicles this film still deserves *** (Edwin Jahiel)

[Published 19 October 1990]