HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL? (1952) C 89m dir: Douglas Sirk

w/Charles Coburn, Piper Laurie, Rock Hudson, Gigi Perreau, Lynn Bari, Larry Gates, William Reynolds, Frank Ferguson, Skip Homeier, Natalie Schafer, Paul Harvey, Forrest Lewis, James Dean

The wealthy Samuel Fulton (Coburn), posing as an eccentric artist, takes a room with the Blaisdell family, the head of which is the son of the woman Mr. Fulton almost married before he became a multi-millionaire. He now wants to see if they will be good folks to leave his money to. When they receive a taste of the money, through an "anonymous" donation, the effects are disastrous.

This social comedy was Sirk's first film in color. There are plenty of songs ("Red, Red Robin," Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue," etc.), all of which were in the public domain at the time, thereby saving Universal Studios a bundle. And, yes, that's THE James Dean, playing a small but vivid part sitting at the counter in the ice cream parlor. This was also Sirk's first film with Rock Hudson, whom he would later turn into a star in such films as MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS.

Sirk talked about Hudson in Jon Halliday's book Sirk on Sirk : "...there had emerged a kind of B-picture creation at Universal against the trend of the time, as I thought, and I was proven right later. This was partly caused by the lack of house-owned stars. The only thing to do in these circumstances was to manufacture a star, because getting more money depended on having a name in your picture. So I looked around, and I saw a picture Rock was playing in, with [Jeff] Chandler in the lead (Iron Man ). He had a small part, and he was far inferior to Chandler, but I thought I saw something. So I arranged to meet him, and he seemed to be not too much to the eye, except very handsome. But the camera sees with its own eye. It sees things the human eye does not detect. And ultimately you learn to trust your camera. I gave him an extensive test, and then I put him into Has Anybody Seen My Gal? The only thing which never let me down in Hollywood was my camera. And it was not wrong about Hudson. Within a very few years he became a number one box-office star in America."

In the same interview, Sirk also commented on the place this film has in his oeuvre : "I had the idea of doing a little trilogy of American stories, which was supposed to be Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, Meet Me at the Fair , and Take Me to Town ."