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COCHRAN HOLDS THE MAYO AGAIN IN 'SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY'

Year: 1953 Rating: ***1/2

This is more than a review of the 1952 feel-good comedy loaded with as many hardships and frowns as smiles, taking place mostly indoors without much sunshine: Except for the opening scene as a poolside Virginia Mayo, playing a has-been actress, is taking business with her faithful but weary producer friend, trying to find her a leading role and suggesting she go back on... Refer to the title...

In the first two of three films, Virginia Mayo was snatched from Cult Film Freak's two all-time favorite actors by tall, dark and viciously handsome b-actor Steve Cochran: First in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, finishing Dana Andrews (not so happy) marriage so the perky dame can enjoy the nightlife... And her most famous role as a reluctant gun-moll for ultra-violent James Cagney... 

Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY

He can only trust his tough old mom since his temperamental, discontented moll-wife is, once again, cheating with handsomely swarthy Cochran — and now it's his turn to sweat and stress over the pretty gal as bitter stage director Rick Sommers.,,

While looking more like a famous director's chain-smoking, cool and smooth, womanizing, multi-faceted and downright lethal bodyguard, it's the heated chemistry... or perhaps, in this case, the bitter and hardened anti-chemistry... between Cochran and Mayo that makes SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY a better picture than an idyllic and breezy title begging for second placement on a marquee...

Steve Cochran and Frank Lovejoy  in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY

Despite the boatload of music, it's not a musical since most of the film is the actual musical's cast and crew getting prepared for a show called 'Breakfast In Bed' that Mayo is nervous about initially but then Cochran... in scenes where she's a natural with one of the greatest all-time dancers, Gene Nelson... 

He's the only person with second thoughts, basically playing a coldhearted jerk, seeming like an inspiration for Michael Douglas in A CHORUS LINE and best yet, Alan Rachins in SHOWGIRLS...

Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY with Larry Keating

Some of the most humorous scenes take place during a prolonged audition showing the rejected bad and chosen great dancers, leaving little time for a few more rehearsals as a somewhat uninspired melodrama's unveiled as Cochran and Mayo bicker in front of everyone...

And then, alone, the pair becomes more interesting since they'd shared a past together, and only she benefited from it... He was her first stage director before she shot to stardom, and she took Hollywood's big picture bait, leaving the show that went bust because of it, and so he remained grounded because...

Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY

Well that's part of the dialogue as involving as the songs are semi-catchy, and it's fun to watch the musical being ignited by the talents of Mayo and Nelson, followed by Frank Lovejoy as the stressful producer...Which makes Cochran fourth in the credits, rather misleading since the movie's really about his refusal to let our pretty star shine bright...

Big Steve with his wild dame from the greatest post-war and gangster-prison flick make an edgy couple, yet there's little urgency from Mayo, and for a little while it's tough to buy that Cochran is anything but brute meant to cut in on other guy's women. But BACK is a smooth nightcap, and Virginia looks better than ever wearing less than usual: Many bravos.

Steve Cochran in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY with Patrice Wymore
Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Patrice Wymore in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Gene Nelson and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY with Patrice Wymore
Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY

Gene Nelson and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY with Patrice Wymore
Steve Cochran in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Steve Cochran and Virginia Mayo in The Best Years of Our Lives with Dana Andrews
Beverly Hills from SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Warner Archive DVD for SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY
Larry Keating and Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY

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