Has Anybody Seen My Gal Blu-ray Review: Keep Looking, the Old Man Is in the Way

This 1952 charmer masquerades as a Rock Hudson/Piper Laurie rom-com, but pay close attention to that waving man behind the title. The story actually revolves around a geriatric millionaire bachelor determined to leave some of his considerable estate to the family of his lost love. He’s not just being generous; he’s actually grateful his love declined his marriage proposal in his youth because it freed him to focus solely on becoming a wealthy titan of industry.

Buy Has Anybody Seen My Gal

Working from a snappy script by Joseph Hoffman, noted director Douglas Sirk efficiently unspools this tale of mistaken identity with plenty of laughs along the way. Charles Coburn stars as the rotund retiree named Samuel Fulton, having a ball with his character pulling the wool over the eyes of his ex-girlfriend’s family. Fulton quickly concocts a scheme to become a poor boarder in the home of his ex’s middle-aged daughter, ingratiating himself to her and her husband, as well as their two daughters (Piper Laurie and Gigi Perreau) and the older daughter’s boyfriend (Hudson) before he secretly arranges for $100K to be delivered to them.

The movie takes a bit of a sour turn here, as the family proves to be terrible with money. The wife quickly takes on airs and makes extravagant purchases while the husband tries in vain to parlay their windfall into greater investment riches. Meanwhile, Hudson’s soda jerk character is deemed to be too low-class for the suddenly wealthy family, making the wife force the heartbroken daughter to break up with him. Fulton nonchalantly jokes his way through the chaos he unleashed in his adopted home, blithely soldiering on as his plans fail to work out as he envisioned. 

Coburn is amusing as the spunky old man, largely due to the funny lines Hoffman’s script assigns him. Hudson and Laurie are well matched, with Laurie looking remarkably like Debbie Reynolds with her short haircut. Eagle-eyed viewers should be on the lookout for a brief James Dean cameo as a customer in Hudson’s diner, just one line and he disappears for good.

The Blu-ray originates from a new 2K scan of the 35mm interpositive, resulting in clean and bright 1.37:1 fullscreen Technicolor video. A commentary track is provided by Piper Laurie, with moderation by a film historian. Laurie and Perreau also appear in a brief video feature discussing their fun times shooting the film. 

If you’re looking for a typical Rock Hudson romance, this isn’t your film. It’s fun seeing him before he really struck it big, and he has great chemistry with Laurie in their limited scenes together, especially a spirited dance number, but the marketing is a bait-and-switch for a movie that’s more about an old man’s dying dream than the birth of young love.

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Steve Geise

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