Last week we discussed Kirk Douglas slapping Jan Sterling in Ace in the Hole and how it was the inspiration for a hit song.
The week before that in our Joan Crawford quiz we asked which actors had been slapped by the star in her various movies. It reminded us of one of our favorite scenes in one of those hokey all star films which were popular in the 1940s.
Warner Brothers’ It’s a Great Feeling(1949) was a spoof of Hollywood written by Mel Shavelson and Jack Rose. The story was credited to I.A.L. Diamond, the guy who later collaborated with Billy Wilder over at Paramount. David Butler directed and Warners had several of its stars do cameos.
It was Doris Day‘s third film and to show how popular she’d already become she received second billing, over co-star Jack Carson. Dennis Morgan was top billed.
Carson had starred with Day in her first two films, and they were dating, so apparently his drop in billing wasn’t a big deal. Day credits Carson with helping her with her film career and the two remained life long friends.
It’s a silly script of course, just an excuse to sing some Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn songs and showcase the studios star players. None of the songs were memorable although the title song was nominated for an Oscar.
Along the way, or course, we see Jane Wyman and Ronnie Reagan, (and even their daughter Maureen) Edward G. Robinson, Gary Cooper and Sidney Greenstreet. And isn’t that Errol Flynn playing Doris hometown boyfriend?
Danny Kaye, Eleanor Parker, Patricia Neal and even Bugs Bunny make an appearance. And a real treat for film buffs is that some famous directors are also featured. Michael Curtiz, Ray Heindorf, King Vidor and Raoul Walsh do bits.
But the best bit in the film is when our principals encounter Joan Crawford in an elegant dress shop. Joan overhears Carson and Morgan discussing Judy, the waitress character Doris is portraying. She thinks they are taking advantage of Judy so she launches into a melodramatic monologue modeled after the ones she’d become famous for in films such as Mildred Pierce and Humoresque.
When she ends the speech she’s furious and she slaps both Carson and Morgan. Jack asks “What’s that for?” and Joan just shrugs and says: “I do that in all my pictures!”