Guys and Dolls

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

(In honor of Damon Runyon, I am not using contractions in this post.)

Amazon Prime's "Content Advisory" for this 1955 movie warns of "Drug use, foul language, sexual content".

Maybe Amazon should have a Content Advisory Advisory: "Do not take our Content Advisory seriously".

Although I was a little surprised by the big dance numbers featuring the "Goldwyn Girls". For 1955, they were pretty risqué. (I had previously only seen a production of Guys and Dolls given by a local company outside in Prescott Park (Portsmouth NH) years ago. Not quite the same as the flick.)

It is set in the seamy/glitzy world of NYC gambling, based on a couple of Damon Runyon stories from the 1930s. Frank Sinatra plays Nathan Detroit, who is looking to set up a locale for a crap game that will not be detected by the city cops. He is also trying to avoid marriage to 14-year fiancée Miss Adelaide. All he needs for the former goal is a thousand bucks to nail down a venue, which he lacks. But he spots Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando!), a known sucker for unsafe bets. Nathan wagers Sky that he will not be able to take Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) down to old Havana on a date. Sarah is the earnest missionary to the sinful at the "Save a Soul Mission" (think Salvation Army), so that is indeed a challenge.

Things proceed predictably, pretty much. The Runyonesque stilted dialog is amusing, at least for a while.

It was nice to see Marlon Brando in a comedic/musical role. But I see Gene Kelly wanted the Masterson role, and I have to think he would have been a far better choice.