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Kathryn Grayson Movies: Show Boat + Kiss Me Kate

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Kathryn Grayson, who died at the age of 88 last February, is Turner Classic Movies’ Tuesday, Aug. 10, star. Kathryn Grayson Day is part of TCM’s “Summer Under the Stars” August series.

Grayson’s vehicles are frequently shown on TCM, so there’s nothing unusual scheduled for her day, which includes twelve of her movies. (See Kathryn Grayson movie’s schedule below.)

Those who’ve watched Anchors Aweigh (1945) 78 times will have the chance to sit through it for the 79th time. Those who’ve watched Show Boat (1951) 84 times will be able to catch it for the 85th time. Both are Grayson’s most famous movies; they’re also two of her best vehicles as well.

Kathryn GraysonShow Boat, directed by George Sidney, and co-starring Howard Keel and Ava Gardner 4, features (in my view) Grayson’s best performance.

Critics, however, generally prefer her fiery stage actress in Kiss Me Kate (1953), also directed by George Sidney and co-starring Howard Keel. That’s a lively comedy/musical inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. As the second lead, Ann Miller nearly steals the show.

That Midnight Kiss (1949), in which the soprano-voiced Grayson is paired with baritone Mario Lanza, is a major bore, but Two Sisters from Boston (1946), which I haven’t seen, yet, may be enjoyable. June Allyson is always fun to watch, and the director is the (at times) capable Henry Koster.

Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941), with Grayson in the title role, is one of the endless entries in the horror series starring Mickey Rooney that MGM cranked out way back when. I still haven’t found the nerve to watch it, so I can’t tell you how disturbing it is.

Note: Kathryn Grayson can be seen in this montage featuring about two dozen actresses from the studio era.

Kathryn Grayson film schedule and synopses via the TCM website:

3:00 AM Seven Sweethearts (1942)
A father insists that his seven daughters marry in order, from eldest to youngest. Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Van Heflin, S.Z. Sakall. Director: Frank Borzage. Black and white. 98 min.

4:48 AM Short Film: We Must Have Music (1941)
BW-11 min.

5:00 AM Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941)
On the verge of graduation, a high-school boy decides he needs a social secretary. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Kathryn Grayson. Director: George B. Seitz. Black and white. 101 min.

7:00 AM Two Sisters From Boston (1946)
Two girls with Broadway aspirations find work in a Bowery saloon. Cast: June Allyson, Kathryn Grayson, Jimmy Durante. Director: Henry Koster. Black and white. 112 min.

9:00 AM Anchors Aweigh (1945)
A pair of sailors on leave try to help a movie extra become a singing star. Cast: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson. Director: George Sidney. Color. 139 min.

11:30 AM It Happened In Brooklyn (1947)
A returning GI and his friends try to make it in the music business. Cast: Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Kathryn Grayson. Director: Richard Whorf. Black and white. 103 min.

1:15 PM Grounds For Marriage (1950)
An opera singer and her ex-husband find that their romance refuses to die with their marriage. Cast: Van Johnson, Kathryn Grayson, Barry Sullivan. Director: Robert Z. Leonard. Color. 90 min.

3:00 PM Desert Song, The (1953)
A French professor secretly leads a band of desert freedom fighters. Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Gordon MacRae, Steve Cochran. Director: H. Bruce Humberstone. Color. 111 min.

5:00 PM Show Boat (1951)
Riverboat entertainers find love, laughs and hardships as they sail along “Old Man River.” Cast: Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson. Director: George Sidney. Color. 108 min.

7:00 PM So This Is Love (1953)
Opera singer Grace Moore turns to popular music when her dreams of a classical career fail to materialize. Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Merv Griffin, Joan Weldon. Director: Gordon Douglas. Color. 101 min.

9:00 PM That Midnight Kiss (1949)
A singing truck driver battles snobbery to become a star. Cast: Mario Lanza, Kathryn Grayson, Ethel Barrymore. Director: Norman Taurog. Color. 98 min.

11:00 PM Kiss Me Kate (1953)
Feuding co-stars reunite for a musical version of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Ann Miller. Director: George Sidney. Color. 110 min.

1:00 AM Lovely To Look At (1952)
All-star remake of Roberta, with three Broadway producers inheriting a Parisian fashion house. Cast: Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, Ann Miller. Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Color. 102 min.

2:47 AM Short Film: Grand Bounce, The (1937)
BW-11 min.

Turner Classic Movies website.

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1 comment

David Fiore -

I really love Kathryn Grayson–she did the peevish ingenue better than anyone else, and also projected a wonderful sense of competence, no matter what the role…

One of my favourites–It Happened in Brooklyn– doesn’t seem to be on the menu… it is on DVD, however, so I’m happy to see them programming things like Two Girls From Boston (which does indeed promise to be interesting) and Lovely To Look At (an excellent remake of Roberta–and Grayson’s performance is the best thing in it, by far… she’s always fantastic as a career woman and does justice to the amazing Kern score)


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