Still Wonderful

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 16, 2009

I suspect that most listeners will find more pluses than minuses in the added music. Inclusions sometimes help the pace rather than interrupt, providing transitions that the film could accomplish in a few quick cuts. And sometimes the momentum may awkwardly stop but you just don't give a damn, as when Olivia Rich as George's bed-ridden daughter Zuzu sweetly sings "A Special Night." And anything from the operatically trained voice of Serra's Mary is wonderful, such as "All the World to You."

Of course, the acting has to be on that level for the magic not to be broken, and the above actors all come through. Another treat is Ralph Stokes as the villain of the piece, the wheelchair-bound Mr. Potter; not many men can pull off a convincing exiting cackle. As George, Maitland gives good earnestness. (An indication that sincerity of intention is the resonant chord is that Act I ends with Irving Berlin's paen to the profundity of romance, "How Deep Is the Ocean?") Also crucial, since they are narrating throughout, are Ray Richardson as an amiable Clarence and Tammy Brown as his angelic superior.

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