Looking Backward: The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)

18 May
Marilyn Hanold

“Because nobody would want to look at a steam shovel.”

Seven or eight sizeable roles. A tiny career for a star so well-remembered, and yet in that short time it seems Hollywood did its level best to typecast her in the dizzy city girl mode. And she was always in the dizzy city girl role. What’s impressive is how she managed to delineate among the charming but limited roles she was given. The role of Laura Partridge in The Solid Gold Cadillac was even a little bit of a coup – Josephine Hull played the role on Broadway, and in terms of type she’s more of a … Josephine Hull.

Let’s not pretend this is an earth-shaking (or even plausible) little comedy, this slice of 50s business light satire featuring all the usual pasty white Men of Business that were in all of these grey flannel outings.

But neither should we pretend it’s not impressive that Holliday could play this role, Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday, a wronged wife in Adam’s Rib, Ella Peterson in Bells Are Ringing (all showing again soon, and all worth a look if you’ve never taken one), all cut from the same cloth, and not make them interchangeable.

It’s a question of the way she plays ignorance in this one, for example. She’s a fish out of water, but is in no way a fool. She has plenty of good sense but no terminology. She knows what goes on as soon as she sees it; she just has the knowledge of, say, Robert’s Rules of Order you’d expect from a summer stock actor, which is to say none. Her non-traditional romance with the appealingly lumpy Paul Douglas* is also such a pleasure and something that’s still unusual today.

The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)

Liz & Dick they ain’t.

Still uncertain about George Burns, though. It’s a shame they didn’t bring him in for Blade Runner’s unnecessary narration, too.

*P.S. Keep an eye out for a Doff! during Paul Douglas’s Spartacus speech.

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One Response to “Looking Backward: The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)”

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  1. Looking Backward: Never Too Late (1965) | I Humbly Suggest... - May 19, 2013

    […] a solid hitter in his range. It’s a pleasure to see a non-traditional romantic focus, too (cf. yesterday’s post on The Solid Gold Cadillac, another community theatre staple of […]

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