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Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)

Du Barry was a Lady, starring Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly, Red Skelton, Virginia O'BrienDu Barry Was A Lady – co-starring Red SkeltonLucille Ball, Gene Kelly

Buy from Amazon.com The basic plot of Du Barry Was A Lady is as follows: Hat check man Louis Blore (Red Skelton) is in love with nightclub star May Daly. (Lucille Ball) May, however, is love with a poor dancer (Gene Kelly), but wants to marry for money. When Louis wins the Irish Sweepstakes, he asks May to marry him and she accepts even though she doesn’t love him. Soon after, Louis has an accident and gets knocked on the head, where he dreams that he’s King Louis XV pursuing the infamous Madame Du Barry (Lucille Ball).In short, it’s an MGM musical comedy, with some wonderfully funny moments with two of the screens great clowns, Red Skelton and Lucille Ball.  Gene Kelly is also very good, as are Zero Mostel and Virginia O’Brien in comedic roles.  Many highlights to the film include Red Skelton doing a variation on his “Guzzler’s Gin” routine, when he drinks a ‘mickey finn” meant for Gene Kelly, which segues into a dream sequence set in old France, with Red Skelton as King Louis XV, Lucille Ball as Madame Du Barry, and Gene Kelly as Black Arrow.  Some wonderful Cole Porter songs including the classic “Friendship” , Madam, I Love your Crepes Suzette, Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra (is is a musical, after all) and the comic interplay between the 3 main characters.

Editorial review of Du Barry was a Lady starring Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Gene Kelly courtesy of Amazon.com

Presented in glorious Technicolor, Du Barry Was a Lady is an all-singing, all-dancing musical extravaganza with enough star power to light a major city. Freely adapted from the Cole Porter musical that was a Broadway smash in 1939, this was Lucille Ball’s first color film, and after several years of lower-profile movies at RKO, Lucy jumped at the chance to star in an MGM musical, assuming the role that Ethel Merman had played on Broadway.

And while Lucy gets plenty of screen time to strut her stuff as the sassy and lovelorn nightclub singer May Daly, the real star of the show is Red Skelton as hat-check boy Louis Blore (played by Bert Lahr on Broadway), whose affection for May is matched by Alec Howe (Gene Kelly), a struggling songwriter with whom May–against her gold-digger instincts–has reluctantly fallen in love. But when newly-rich sweepstakes winner Louis accidentally drinks a ‘Mickey Finn’ intended for Alec, he passes out and dreams of being France’s King Louis XV, living in royal splendor and running after the lovely Madame Du Barry (Ball) in the palace at Versailles. It’s a comedic spin on The Wizard of Oz, with the contemporary characters (including Zero Mostel in a wacky supporting role) playing their 18th-century counterparts.

Movie Poster for Du Barry Was A Lady, starring Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Red SkeltonThis free-form premise is merely a clever excuse for an eye-candy feast of musical comedy, and Du Barry Was a Lady works best as a smorgasbord of all-star entertainment, from the jazzy swing of Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra (with Buddy Rich on drums) to the grand-scale production numbers featuring the splendidly costumed Vargas girls (made famous in the pages of Esquire magazine) and Gene Kelly at his fancy-footed best. It’s a veritable explosion of Technicolor fun (this DVD transfer is nothing short of spectacular), and in addition to some fine singing by Virginia O’Brien, vigilant movie buffs can spot Lana Turner in a small, uncredited role. Also included in The Lucille Ball Film Collection, this delightful DVD includes two short subjects from 1943: Seeing Hands is an Oscar-nominated “Pete Smith Specialty” short about Ben Helwig, who overcame blindness to become a gifted machinist; the film’s progressive message encourages industry to hire persons with disabilities who can make a valuable contribution to wartime industry. Also included is the MGM ‘Barney Bear’ cartoon ‘Bah, Wilderness,’ and a faded print of the original theatrical trailer for Du Barry Was a Lady, which really makes you appreciate the dazzling Technicolor of the full-length feature. —Jeff Shannon

Funny movie quotes from Du Barry was a Lady co-starring Red Skelton and Lucille Ball,

King Louis XV (Red Skelton): [singing] Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la you’ve come to wash my face!
Maids: [singing in return] Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la we’ve come to wash your face!

Alec Howe (Gene Kelly): You’re human aren’t you?
May Daly (Lucille Ball): I hope not!

Ginny (Virginia Mayo): Can’t you see I love you and want you for the father of my children?
Louis Blore (Red Skelton): I didn’t know you had any!

Louis Blore (Red Skelton): Money ain’t changed me, I’m still lovable!

May Daly (Lucille Ball): I see you want to buy me.
Louis Blore (Red Skelton): Gosh no, Miss Daly, I want to marry you!

King Louis XV (Red Skelton): What’s this?
Duc de Rigor: Your breakfast, Sire.
King Louis XV (Red Skelton): Well, who eats who?

King Louis XV (Red Skelton): Don’t you know that kings can do no wrong?
Madame Du Barry (Lucille Ball): That’s my plan!

Madame Du Barry (Lucille Ball): He’s mad about me!
Ginny: They’re all mad, about you!

Duc de Rigor: Who dares to interfere?
King Louis XV (Red Skelton): Me! My Majesty!

Black Arrow (Gene Kelly): Be brave, my friend, you’re dying for your country.
Taliostra: (Zero Mostel): Yeah, but I was born in the city!
Dauphin: Get your Daily Chopping Guide! You can’t tell which head is which without a program!

Charlie: That’s OK, he’s snapping back to abnormal now.

Ginny (Virginia Mayo): You never look at me like that.
Louis Blore (Red Skelton): You never look like that.

Louis Blore (Red Skelton): She’s just excited. She’s never married me before.

Charlie: We’ll slip him a Rooney.
Louis Blore (Red Skelton): A Rooney? What’s that?
Charlie: It’s a high-powered Mickey.

Alec Howe (Gene Kelly): You know, it’s too bad May couldn’t marry for love and money.
Louis Blore (Red Skelton): You mean sort of a double wedding?

Black Arrow (Gene Kelly): Du Barry! That jay! That jezebel! That spoiler of kings!
Madame Du Barry (Lucille Ball): Isn’t he wonderful?
Black Arrow (Gene Kelly): Does she love the king? No! She loves rubies! So your children go hungry! She loves silks! So your wives go naked!
Madame Du Barry (Lucille Ball): [dreamily] Look at his eyes.

King Louis XV (Red Skelton): We’ll give him a fair trial. Then we’ll hang him.

King Louis XV (Red Skelton): For parading without a license each of you gets thirty days. For planning to knock me off, you get the guillotine.


Tom Raymond has been a professional clown and children's entertain for nearly 20 years - in addition to his personal website Raynbow Clown he also runs several clown-related websites, including Famous Clowns and Free Clown Skits, Best Clean Funny Jokes

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