Lovely to Look At

Lovely to Look At is a 1952 American MGM musical film adaptation of the Broadway musical Roberta, directed by Mervyn LeRoy.[2]

Lovely to Look At
Lovely to look at --- film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMervyn LeRoy
Vincente Minnelli (uncredited)
Produced byJack Cummings
Screenplay byGeorge Wells
Harry Ruby
Based onRoberta
1933 musical
by Jerome Kern
Otto Harbach
StarringKathryn Grayson
Red Skelton
Howard Keel
Ann Miller
Music byCarmen Dragon and Saul Chaplin
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byJohn McSweeney Jr.
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
4 July 1952
Running time
103 min.
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,774,000[1]


The film begins with the first of many musical numbers that showcases the three men and their desire to gain monetary appreciation and security. After being continuously denied for pitches, Al receives a letter from Paris, which he assumes is another debt collector, but is actually a letter from his aunt's attorney written in French giving him the great news that he is actually a part owner in a dress salon located in Paris, France. The three men and their "lady-friend" Bubbles, the person who funds their lengthy trip, then eagerly set on a journey to Paris in hopes of profiting from the sale of Al's share in the shop. To their dismay, the men are met with a bankrupt shop, that is in no shape to have shares sold. Here is when the film introduces the two other main characters in detail, the two other women who own the other half of the dress shop, Stephanie and Clarisse. From this point forward, the film develops in two main routes of plot: getting the shop into better shape to gain money, and the many confusing and slightly cheesy love story lines. Al, Tony, and Jerry make it their mission to talk to the creditors that have been harassing the shop to give them time to showcase a fashion show that will bring the dress shop "Roberta" more business. This ends up being successful, and Roberta's dress shop legacy lives on. As the plot progresses, Tony is torn between his growing affection for Stephanie and his desire to finance his show. Meanwhile, Jerry falls for Clarisse, and Al has a crush on Stephanie. Eventually, Al goes for Bubbles, who has followed the boys from New York City.


Source: The New York Times[3]


The film was originally announced as a vehicle for Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, who had teamed together several times previously.[4][5]

Other than keeping the musical score and retaining the idea of a dress shop being inherited by someone, it bears almost no resemblance to the show or 1935 film.[6][3][5]

The finale, a fashion show, was directed by Vincente Minnelli, with costumes by Adrian, "who had created more than 40 costumes, at a cost of $100,000."[7]


The music was written by Jerome Kern.


According to MGM records the film earned $2,571,000 in the U.S. and Canada, and $1,203,000 elsewhere, resulting in an overall loss of $735,000.[1]

The New York Times reviewer wrote: "The producers ... have used the full and wonderful complement of tunes from the sturdy score [of Roberta]. Thus, only the tone deaf can be apathetic to Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel's rendition of "You're Devastating" or "The Touch of Your Hand." The bittersweet lilt of "Yesterdays", as sung by Miss Grayson, has not lost its haunting quality and the now-classic "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" still has notes and lyrics of poetic beauty... Although all of the dance numbers choreographed by Hermes Pan are not inspired, he has inventively devised spirited turns for "I Won't Dance" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" to which Marge and Gower Champion contribute professional grace, verve and charm. And Ann Miller is permitted to exhibit both her beautiful legs and her staccato tapping in a snappy run through of "I'll be Hard to Handle. Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson, who have no need to prove their eminence as singers, again are in fine voice and make a handsome couple whose misunderstandings are inconsequential."[3]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ "Lovely To Look At (1952) – Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  3. ^ a b c " 'Lovely to Look At,' Based on Musical Comedy, 'Roberta,' Arrives at Music Hall" The New York Times, May 30, 1952
  4. ^ HEDDA HOPPER (Mar 10, 1949). Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 165909761. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b " 'Lovely to Look At' Notes", retrieved April 12, 2019
  6. ^ "Lovely to Look At". FilmAffinity. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  7. ^ Roger Fristoe. "Articles", retrieved April 12, 2019
  8. ^ Awards for Roberta (1935) at Internet Movie Database

6. "Alice Duer Miller". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 18 Aug 2019. 7. "Gowns By Roberta by Alice Duer Miller." Goodreads, Goodreads, Inc., 1 Sept. 1933, 8. Kirkus. "GOWNS BY ROBERTA by Alice Duer Miller." Kirkus Reviews, Kirkus Media LLC., 9. LEONARD MALTIN CLASSIC MOVIE GUIDE. "Lovely To Look At (1952) – Overview." Turner Classic Movies, TM & © 2019 TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES, INC. A WARNER MEDIA COMPANY, 2005, 10. "Lovely to Look At." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Aug. 2019, 11. Macculloch Hall . "Alice Duer Miller and Hollywood." Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, 12 Mar. 2017, 12. Meringue in Sugartown USA. "Lovely to Look At Starring Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel!" OK.RU, 10 Mar. 2018, 13. Motion Picture Herald. "Motion Picture Herald." Book Week Pictures, 26 Oct. 1935, pp. 52–53.

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