‘Springtime in the Rockies’ | Sunday Observer
Retro Reviews: Cinema of Yesteryear

‘Springtime in the Rockies’

25 October, 2020

A musical comedy film from 1942, ‘Springtime in the Rockies’ brings a lively mosaic of song and dance choreographed in the style of the golden Hollywood era with a touch of the theatrical that gives a good measure of comedy and visual splendour. Starring Betty Grable and John Payne in the lead roles as popular Broadway show dancers Vicky Lane and Dan Christy, the cast includes in supporting roles, the vivacious Carmen Miranda as Rosita Murphy and Cesar Romero as Victor Prince, who together with Edward Everett Horton as Christy’s valet ‘McTvish’ and Charlotte Greenwood as Phoebe Gray, Lane’s faithful confidante.

The story starts as Vicky Lane and Dan Christy being Broadway stars enjoy a popular streak with a hit show who face a breakdown in their work due to their breakup as a romantically involved couple. Vicky suspects Dan of being an incurable womaniser despite him insisting he has given up his old ways and has committed himself to her, and is at the point of proposing marriage. Disbelieving all the reasons that Dan provides to rebuke her allegations, Vicky quits the show and returns to the arms of her former dancing partner Victor Prince with whom she was romantically involved before. Since he cannot continue the show without Vicky, Dan tries to find backers for his new show with no success.

Sinking into a state of depression Dan gets tethered to bouts of hard drinking. One evening while at a bar, Dan is told by his agent that two big financiers will back his new production on the condition that Vicky performs in it. Although Dan believes it is hopeless to try to get Vicky to return, as she and Victor are now doing a show at the famous Lake Louise resort in the Canadian Rockies, Dan’s agent convinces him to use his charm and win Vicky back and to get her back to New York.

The action unfolds next as Dan wakes up in his hotel room in Lake Louise resort in Canada, where he learns that he had in his state of intoxication hired McTavish as his valet who was working as a barman only the previous evening at the bar when Dan’s agent met him. And if that’s not enough a surprise, he soon gets to know that after hiring McTavish, he had also hired himself a secretary as well, the vivacious Rosita Murphy who came along with her six brothers to perform as a sort of Mariachi band!

The stage gets set for an amusing set of strategies between these characters that turns the initial love triangle between Dan, Vicky and Victor into a love quadrangle with Rosita stepping up the pace, as twists and turns and bungling drive forward this light hearted comedy with theatrics borne with ‘swing and sway’ that is typical of the Hollywood musicals of the golden era.

Dan first makes Vicky jealous of Rosita by making her believe that Rosita as his secretary is also his new ‘catch’. Upon meeting Rosita a subtle allure towards her is seen in Victor although he is committed to winning Vicky’s heart and proposing marriage. Rosita however shows interest in the congenial and fatherly McTavish who finds such attentions and advances entirely new to his modest and sober ways. And what adds more humour to this scenario is that Phoebe, Vicky’s friend for all seasons, develops a keen interest in McTavish as well, which shows the potential for a second love triangle in the plot!

A dramatic twist of events engineered by Dan leaves Victor suspecting Vicky is two timing on him with Dan. Vicky herself eventually realises that Dan’s intentions of proposing marriage to her all along have been sincere, and the Broadway couple get together again. It all ends well as Victor himself bears no grudges and sees the outcome as ‘the better man’ having won. A new spectacular show is conceived between all of them, as they all contribute money to fund the new Broadway production and become stakeholders in the show in which they all act as performers. ‘Springtime in the Rockies’, directed by Irvin Cummings, is a light hearted musical comedy that can be enjoyed by the whole family as cinematic entertainment from the golden era of Hollywood.

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