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    Meet Miss Jones

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    Have You Met Miss Jones? is a bouncy romantic ditty written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for their 1937 musical I’d Rather Be Right. This fall at the New Theatre in Kansas City, KS, it takes on new, full-circular luster as the title of a cabaret show based on the life of Rodgers’ protégé Shirley Jones, a family affair that will star the Academy Award®-winning actress/singer and her son Patrick Cassidy, and be written by her other son Shaun Cassidy. We have all met Miss Jones, who celebrates her 82nd birthday today, in one or another of her many guises, whether in classic movie musicals (Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Music Man), on Broadway (Maggie Flynn, 42nd Street), television (The Partridge Family, Raising Hope) or concert stages. Twilight Time hi-def Blu-rays provide three prime opportunities. Who else could tame recording star/teen heartthrob/juvenile delinquent (?) Pat Boone so efficiently and sexily in the hokey but cheery Cinemascope musical April Love (1957) – without even one on-screen kiss? The kiss – or the sidestepping of it due to Boone’s religious convictions – fueled the film’s publicity machine, and Jones’s flirty Give Me a Gentle Girl teasing pre-shower scene didn’t hurt either. She and Boone and audiences enjoyed each other’s company. Three months after she won her Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for Elmer Gantry (1960), Jones opened as the romantic interest of cavalryman Richard Widmark in director John Ford’s Two Rode Together (1961), also starring James Stewart. As she did portraying a Kentucky racehorse breeder in April Love, she’s back in jeans as an 1880s frontier woman hoping for the recovery of her younger brother kidnapped by Comanches, and her hard-charging feistiness covers a vulnerable heart. The end of her search is bittersweet and double-edged, much in keeping with the tone of this alternately raucous and revisionist Western. What a difference nine years makes. Returning to work for her Elmer Gantry writer/director Richard Brooks, Jones plays the sexually adventurous friend of unhappy housewife Jean Simmons in The Happy Ending (1969), who sets out to coach her fugitive-from-suburbia pal in the glories of casual relationships and is surprised to discover that beneath the bravado, she really envies and desires the stability of marriage. Jones and Lloyd Bridges as her married lover share moments of devastating honesty and charged emotion that contribute substantially to the film’s power. Indeed, meeting Miss Jones in these three distinctly different movie roles in terrific 1080p is altogether special, with April Love boasting an extra edge because the lady herself is present on an enjoyable Audio Commentary with TT’s Nick Redman. April Love and The Happy Ending are available here at www.twilighttimemovies.com; order Two Rode Together here: http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/27063/TWO-RODE-TOGETHER-1961/.