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HomeMovieLucille Ball-istic in ‘The Massive Avenue’ 1942

Lucille Ball-istic in ‘The Massive Avenue’ 1942


 

Lucille Ball was greater than prepared for a close-up in her final RKO movie “The Massive Avenue.”

The phrase on The Massive Avenue was that this movie ought to
have put Lucille Ball over as a star, after years as “Queen of the B’s.” Nicely,
I used to be actually shocked once I lately watched this ’42 RKO flick for the primary
time.

Ball bats it out of
the park as Gloria Lyons, the powerful as nails nightclub singer, introduced low by
her thug boyfriend. Lucy doesn’t maintain again a bit because the unapologetic gold
digger who’s decided to beat private obstacles and a land a wealthy
husband. Woe to anybody who will get in Gloria’s method!

The look on Lucy’s face as Gloria says all of it as she elbows her method via “The Massive Avenue!”


The large drawback with The Massive Avenue is the way in which Lucy’s character
is written. This in any other case sentimental Damon Runyon fairytale appears to have
been hijacked by Of Human Bondage’s Mildred
Rogers. To be particular, Lucy’s Gloria is paying homage to Bette Davis’ shrewish
Mildred. Ball completely performs the function as written and with none winking asides
for viewers sympathy, as Joan Crawford did in her bitch roles. However Ball’s
singer bosses worshipful busboy Henry Fonda round like he is her rented mule.

Henry Fonda is endearing, even when his character is inexplicable, in “The Massive Avenue.”


Early on in The Massive Avenue, Ball’s songbird will get
smacked by her gangster boyfriend, falls down a small flight of stairs, and is
left paralyzed. Guess who picks up the items? Bitter about her plight, Gloria is
not in the slightest degree grateful. Busboy “Little Pinks” and his cronies attempt their
damndest to elevate her spirits, however all “Her Highness” provides is hurling abuse. The Massive Avenue appears like two totally different
films: colourful Damon Runyon characters and long-suffering duo of
wheelchair-bound witch Gloria and soft-spoken slave Little Pinks. Lucy’s
character and the remainder of this film simply don’t mesh. This could be the fault
of the director and screenwriter, for not offering steadiness. One take a look at the
every day rushes with Gloria barking insults at everybody ought to alerted them to do
an emergency rewrite, stat.

Fonda’s busboy brings Ball’s wheelchair-bound singer residence in “The Massive Avenue.”


So, I can completely see
why The Massive Avenue was not successful or a
breakthrough for Lucille Ball. I am positive that when I Love Lucy was a smash a decade later, later audiences of The Massive Avenue have been most likely shocked that
this was not their Lucy.

Henry Fonda is
terrific as Little Pinks, quiet and delicate. Hank nonetheless possesses his inherent
power right here, however his character is mindless, agog by this shrew. He’s simply as
lovesick Leslie Howard’s Phillip was in Of
Human Bondage
, and will get dished the identical sort of therapy. There’s a scene
when Gloria will get caught in her wheelchair by a flashy millionaire that she’s
making an attempt to land. The smoothie is shocked to see her situation and Gloria takes
it out on Little Pinks, belittling all the pieces he has carried out for her. Ball lays
into Fonda the way in which Bette Davis did to Leslie Howard in Bondage and does all the pieces however wipe her mouth like Davis!

When Gloria will get caught in her wheelchair, she takes it out on her busboy admirer.


The 2 disparate
sides are most obvious when everybody tries to assist or weep over Ball’s powerful
cookie. Gloria’s maid Violet adores her, although she does nothing however snap
insults at her. Louise Beavers virtually makes Violet’s devotion plausible. Little
Pink’s mates preserve making an attempt to elevate her spirits, however she’s brusque at greatest. The
scene the place the busboy brings the crippled singer to his basement condo for
a homecoming occasion is brutal. It’s an enormous comedown for the glitzy showgirl,
however Ball’s character reveals not one iota of appreciation, on condition that she has
nowhere else to go.

Louise Beavers brings heat Violet, the maid who takes care of Lucy’s shrewish singer.


The remainder of the solid
is quirky enjoyable and has a good time. Agnes Moorehead as Violette “with two t’s!”
and Eugene Pallette as Properly Properly make an uncommon and beautiful couple; Ray
Collins, so usually critical or villainous, is a hoot as ringleader Professor B.
These three actors are extra usually fantastic as baddies, so it’s enjoyable to look at
them play eccentric, good-hearted characters.

Agnes Moorehead & Eugene Pallette are a pair who love meals and one another!


The ultimate scene is
the place Lucy’s Gloria Lyons reveals some vulnerability, for what’s actually her
final dance. Little Pinks finagles an enormous occasion in her honor, the place she dies and
will get carried up the staircase, a reverse deadly finale model of Lana Turner’s showgirl in Ziegfeld Lady. However Ball’s Cinderella will get her closing want, even when
she’s acted like one of many depraved stepsisters all through The Massive Avenue. And this closing romantic scene is superbly
carried out by each Ball and Fonda.

Lucille Ball’s Gloria lastly reveals some humanity on the finale of “The Massive Avenue.”


To take pleasure in The Massive Avenue, you have to droop ALL
disbelief. After which maybe you’ll be able to benefit from the nice supporting solid, and Ball
and Fonda’s dramatic performances, too.

Right here’s my private look
at the true Lucy, as a child boomer who grew up with Lucille Ball :

https://ricksrealreel.blogspot.com/2021/12/id-rather-love-real-lucy.html

FYI: I put my film overflow on my public FB film
web page. Test it out!
  

https://www.fb.com/teams/178488909366865/

Lucille Ball & Henry Fonda make a rattling good-looking couple in “The Massive Avenue!”

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