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June 22, 2008

DVD Journal: "The Seven Little Foys"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --


A squaresville musical drama (spiced up with many bitter wisecracks) about the real-life Irish-American vaudevillian Eddie Foy, and how -- despite being a tough-guy, driven loner -- he came to head an act consisting of him and his seven kids.

It's material that seems to want to be something like "Gypsy" -- a horrified, semi-satirical homage. Given what we're told about him, Eddie Foy was almost certainly a self-centered bastard. But the film presents its story in a mostly heartwarming way, as the tale of a performer who, despite his failings, finally comes to embrace his fate as a family man. Disconcerting.

All that said, I still had a pretty good time watching the movie. I love Bob Hope (odd choice though he is to play a tough, ever-embattled Irishman); Jimmy Cagney has a sensational scene playing (and dancing!) George M. Cohan, and sharing jokey insults and a duet with Hope; and the snapshots and glimpses of vaudeville -- one of the greatest American entertainment forms, IMHO -- are a treat. The more that Americans are aware of the richness of their vaudeville tradition, the better.

Fast-Forwarding Score: Nothing.



posted by Michael at June 22, 2008


Where is Squaresville?

Now that Hipsterville is racked with Stuff White People Like guilt and enforced conformity, how does it differ from Squaresville? Flip side of the same coin?

Is the appearance of children the issue?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on June 22, 2008 8:25 AM

"The more that Americans are aware of the richness of their vaudeville tradition, the better." Not just vaudeville.

Once I was sitting at a British tea-break, discussing our mutual interest in jazz with a British colleague. An American colleague joined us: "what are you talking about?" "Jazz." "Jazz, huh. Where'd that come from?" "Many tributaries, but probably mainly dance music." "Who'd dance to that, huh? Spastics?" And yet he was what passes for an educated man nowadays.

Posted by: dearieme on June 22, 2008 10:23 AM

ST -- The way that the mainstream has become so up to date and irony-ridden is bewildering, isn't it? Back when "Seven Little Foys" was made there was a clear-cut distinction between the hipper neighborhoods and the squarer ones ...

Dearieme -- Oh dear. So much for basic cultural literacy. It's especially weird when that happens where *popular* culture is concerned, isn't it?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 22, 2008 12:33 PM

Oh my, I see that Jerry Mathers was in this movie! I think I actually saw this movie, but I've blocked it from my memory. Probably because of my abiding hatred of Bob Hope.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on June 22, 2008 11:09 PM

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