Cinema: A Biddle as Boor

If 1) everybody loves a lovable eccentric, especially if he is a millionaire, then 2) everybody will love a comedy about a lovable eccentric millionaire.

This reasoning proved fallacious for Playwright Kyle Crichton, who had a 1956 Broadway flop with The Happiest Millionaire, which was based on the Philadelphia childhood reminiscences of Cordelia Drexel Biddle. The formula fails again in Walt Disney's movie musical. The main trouble this time is that Fred MacMurray's impersonation of Colonel Anthony J. Drexel Biddle is eccentric but not lovable. He is, in fact, a boor.

And so the movie is a bore. MacMurray dashes around his vast...

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