Van Johnson, one of the best light comedian/song and dance men of the 1940s-50s, died this week at age 92. His boyish, All-American good looks made him a popular choice for musicals, romantic comedies, and some dramatic roles as well. He was so well known as the ideal boy-you-wish-lived-next-door performer that Cole Porter included him in the lyrics of his song “Give me a Primitive Man.”
Johnson could play a lead but he was better as a wise-cracking wingman for Gene Kelly in Brigadoon and Henry Fonda in Yours, Mine and Ours. My favorite Van Johnson performances include In the Good Old Summertime, opposite Judy Garland in the musical pre-“You’ve Got Mail” remake of “The Shop Around the Corner,” about the two warring music store employees who don’t know that they are real sweethearts through an anonymous letter exchange. I also love the neglected gem “Wives and Lovers,” which has a wonderful scene where he watches with combined fascination and horror as his daughter makes her lunch. Johnson was not the best singer, dancer, or actor but he was fun to watch because he was so comfortable and natural on screen and always looked like he was having a good time.
And I love this little dance number from “I Love Lucy.”
Interview: Director John Goldschmidt on "Dough" John Goldschmidt is the director and co-producer of the film “Dough,” a sweet comedy about an Orthodox Jewish baker (Jonathan Pryce) whose new assistant is a Muslim teenager from Darfur who has a side business dealing weed. The marijuana ...
Janis Joplin on PBS American Masters The two most dazzling life performances I have ever seen or will ever see were both by Janis Joplin. This week, the PBS American Masters series is her story.
Here she is at the Monterey music ...
Trailer: Snowden There's a new movie coming out about Edward Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone, a master of paranoic drama with a historical focus.
If you're interested in the issue of government spying, national ...
May 2016: Movies This Month Happy May! The blockbuster movie season officially starts this week with the latest superhero movie from Marvel, and the month will end with another superhero movie as well. But we'll get some good smaller movies, too. Here's what I'm looking ...
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