Once in a Blue Moon (1936)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Satire, Showbiz Comedy  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Hecht and MacArthur's Once in a Blue Moon was an unsuccessful attempt to fashion a film vehicle for legendary Broadway comedian Jimmy Savo. The pixieish star is cast as Gabbo the Great, a circus performer in pre-Revolutionary Russia. A sensitive soul, Gabbo is afforded an opportunity to prove his loyalty to the Motherland by delivering an urgent message to a Russian general (Nikita Balieff, who died just after completing his role). Savo's great appeal lies in his whimsical pantomime, not his handling of dialogue; alas, he is saddled with reams and reams of satirical dialogue, very little of which was genuinely amusing. Though co-scripters Ben Hecht and Charlie McArthur are credited with the direction, it was an open secret in 1936 that most of Once in a Blue Moon was directed by cinematographer Lee Garmes.

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Keywords

aristocracy, carnival, on-the-run, refuge, revolution, war