Dreamboat (1952)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Comedy, Satire  |   Release Date - Jul 26, 1952 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Although it has other estimable names in its cast, Dreamboat is a vehicle for Clifton Webb, and rarely has any actor been so perfectly right to take the helm of a picture. It could have been made with another actor (perhaps William Powell) in the role, and the results might still have been entertaining, for Claude Binyon's screenplay is sharp and witty and his direction is surefooted and agile. But no one would be able to match Webb. There's not another actor whose eyebrow can arch in precisely the same way -- or even ways, for the degree to which Webb lifts an eyebrow reveals whether he has just spotted a fool, resisted temptation to make a retort, or felt a slight wound to his ego. No one else is capable of letting indignation spew forth quite so freely and comically, or of delivering a quip with the same level of archness. No one else can make primness so entirely amusing or can burst forth with so much sarcasm without alienating a viewer. Again, Binyon's contribution shouldn't be diminished, for he has created this perfect showcase. And the rest of the cast, including an hysterically funny Ginger Rogers and an equally amusing Elsa Lanchester, should be given their due. But in the end, it's Webb that elevates Dreamboat from a good comedy to a truly memorable one.