Monday, May 08, 2006

Bells Are Ringing (1960) ****

Judy Holliday’s last movie role, five years before her death (which was two weeks shy of her 44th birthday, from throat cancer), showcased her singing ability and talent for creating different voices. Her character is an operator, at Susanswerphone - a telephone answering service company, who can't keep from meddling in the affairs of her clients. Vincente Minnelli directed her on-screen performance of this Betty Comden-Adolph Green play. AndrĂ© Previn’s Score was Oscar nominated. Holliday’s co-stars were Dean Martin, a blocked writer who's a client of the service that becomes her love interest.

In its lighthearted way, Bells Are Ringing shows what a far-reaching influence one generous person can have, and that makes it fitting that it should be the film to mark the close of its leading lady's film career—a career that had brought delight to so many. It's also surprisingly timely in its subject. Even though answering services like Susanswerphone have been supplanted by answering machines and voicemail, the message that human contact is irreplaceable in an increasingly impersonal society is more applicable than ever due to the depersonalizing impact of technological advances like the internet. There's nothing, as this charming musical reminds us, quite like the human touch.

Did You Know ??
Except for two uncredited parts in her first two films, this was the only color film Judy Holliday made.

Watch " Bells are Ringing Trailer HERE

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