Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Best Actor 1948: Dan Dailey in When My Baby Smiles At Me

Dan Dailey received his only Oscar nomination for portraying 'Skid' Johnson in When My Baby Smiles At Me.

When My Baby Smiles At Me is a not very special musical about two vaudevillians Dailey and Betty Grable who start having problems due to one of them being an alcoholic.

Dan Dailey is an actor I can't say I have seen very much of but apparently he made a whole lot of film with Betty Grable, and this one only seems to have any special distinction among their collaborations other than the fact than Dailey was nominated for this performance. Dan Dailey plays a comic who also has a drinking problem, and is married to his partner Bonny. Together Grable and Dailey, really never seem all that special, I guess they are fine technically but nothing to make see why they made so many films together.

Dailey for about half of a film give a pretty light weight slightly comedic, musical and romantic performance. He has a little bit of a charm, but not overwhelming so. He is never that funny, that romantic, or that charismatic in this performance. He is not bad, but just not really special. About half way through though his character's self destructive behavior comes to the forefront. He loses his wife because he goes out with other women and his alcoholism. Dailey is required to make a rather extreme change from happy go lucky fellow to on his last line one.

I really can't say he makes this transition as he would need to. In fact his big breakdown scene where he goes crazy over the fact that his wife is getting remarried. It is just overacted by Dailey, and it is the type of drunken breakdown one might find in a bad melodrama. Dailey is better in his later scenes involving the alcohols toll, because he really does not overact so much, showing rather a slightly more subtly the change drinking has on him. He still is not particularly good, just better. This is not an entirely bad performance, but it certainly has one really bad scene, and never one great scene to make up for it either.

1 comment:

Sage Slowdive said...

I haven't seen this one either :/