The opening and closing passages of this 1954 adaptation of Lerner and Loewe rank with Vincente Minnelli's finest, most purely cinematic work—magnificent orchestrations of textures, colors, and movements. What comes between is soggy: a stiff and literal interpretation of the book, filmed on obvious sound stages with a “natural splendor” you could put your fist through. Cyd Charisse is memorably elusive as the ghost girl, but both Gene Kelly and Van Johnson, as the emissaries from reality, seem cramped, too small. With Jimmy Thompson, Elaine Stewart, and Eddie Quillan.
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