Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Girl Who Had Everything (1953)

I really do not like remakes especially if they were of films that should have been left alone. Someone once told me the reason for remakes is because the originals were not good… if that was true than there would be no need for The Thin Man and Hitchcock’s Rebecca to be remade. The Girl Who Had Everything starring Elizabeth Taylor and William Powell is a remake of the incredible 1931 film A Free Soul starring Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Clark Gable, and Lionel Barrymore. I only sat through this remake because William Powell is in it and I adore the man to no end otherwise I never would have even bothered especially because Elizabeth Taylor is the star.
            So the plot is this girl Joan Latimer (Taylor) has been given everything she has wanted in her life. Her father Steve (Powell) is a high powered attorney who travels all over the place for rich clients. One of his clients is the gangster Victor Raimondi (Fernando Lamas). He is currently on trial for running an illegal gambling establishment in New York City. Besides that he is known to have killed people and stolen and other typical gangster activities. He is being tried in Washington DC in the Supreme Court.
            Joan goes down to see her father in DC and as soon as the gangster and the good girl lay eyes on each other it is love at first sight. At first Steve does not mind but when Victor moves down to Kentucky where they live and starts giving her expensive things he tries to get Joan away from the guy. His plan backfires when Joan runs away to marry Victor in New York City.
            Back in the city Victor says he is going to give up his racket but does not when he reads that Steve has some new evidence that can convict him. Steve comes up to the city and Victor threatens him to go down to DC. Victor punches the poor guy and screams at him. Joan is beyond upset and wants to leave Victor but he will not let her. That night at a stop light Victor is murdered in a mob hit.
            God this film was so boring! It is worse knowing that it was a remake of A Free Soul which was incredibly sexy and shocking. Elizabeth Taylor is in absolutely no way Norma Shearer! I know that The Girl Who Had Everything was made in wholesome fifties and A Free Soul was made in the scandalous pre-code era but just thinking of Taylor at a young age playing a sexy scandalous woman who pretty much wants a relationship and sex like man if there had been no production code makes my stomach turn.
            William Powell was the only good part of this film. This was his last picture for MGM and one of his last films before retiring. Powell was just his wonderful self even dramatic and older he was charming even if he was not supposed to be. It was weird not seeing him funny or acting with the leading ladies I am used to seeing him with.
            Elizabeth Taylor I am not a big fan of and never have been. When she was younger her acting was alright but her voice just gets on my nerves. She was stunning I cannot deny or say she was not gorgeous.
            The Girl Who Had Everything felt like a waste of my time. As I said I only watched it because William Powell was in the film. You are better off watching A Free Soul which I highly recommend that is an awesome film.  

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