Let’s Do It Again (1953)

Gary Stuart (Ray Milland) is a Broadway composer… and somewhat of a habitual liar. He frequently tells his wife, Connie (Jane Wyman), that he’s going out of town. Really, he remains in New York, hanging out and performing at various clubs throughout the city.

(Image via jane-wyman.com)
(Image via jane-wyman.com)

Mrs. Stuart, described by Gary’s brother as “the perfect wife,” isn’t exactly devoid of talent in the music department. She’s been known to break into a song-and-dance number now and then. But her talent doesn’t capture her husband’s attention, which she realizes when she learns he never went out of town. So she hatches a plan to make him jealous.

Let’s Do It Again was directed by Alexander Hall. The screenplay was penned by Mary Loos and Richard Sale from a play by Arthur Richman. The play was also used as the basis for the Cary Grant/Irene Dunne-starring screwball classic, The Awful Truth.

My DVR taped this film as a suggestion from TCM and I decided to watch it because I’m a fan of Jane Wyman. I was excited to see her in a musical film, as I’ve mostly seen her more dramatic work and sweeter characters (Miracle in the Rain, Johnny Belinda).  She does well in her role here. Connie is a much more scheming, outspoken, over-the-top woman than I’m used to seeing Wyman play, but she pulls it off!

As stated above, Let’s Do It Again is a musical, and its songs are generally nice, enjoyable pop tunes. A notable exception is “The Call of the Wild.” The lyrics to that number are kind of saucy for the ’50s, which is amusing, but Karin Booth’s accompanying dance number is not the best. (I do love Wyman’s snarky reprise of the song later in the film, where she hams it up while singing the song at a dinner party.)

(Image via jane-wyman.com)
(Image via jane-wyman.com)

On the positive, the costumes are stunning. The gowns, especially, are beautiful, but I also enjoyed the few trendy, casual outfits and sleepwear pieces worn by Wyman. Even the swim cap she wears in the shower is an enviable wardrobe item! The outfits are very fashionable and perfectly on-trend for a ’50s technicolor musical, which of course means I want them in my closet immediately.

Though this film is based on the same play as The Awful Truth, you’d be better off going into it with moderate expectations for laughter. There’s plenty of snark and bickering to be enjoyed, but the film isn’t as witty as it could be (or as the other film version of this story). The outcome, too, is predictable, but I wasn’t bothered by it since I love a corny rom-com ending.

Let’s Do It Again won’t be joining the esteemed ranks of Judy Garland’s musicals or the Astaire and Rogers collaborations any time soon, but it’s a decent little time-passer. Recommended in particular for fans of Wyman. The score: 3/5


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