Bells Are Ringing Reviews

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jjnxn
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2009
Sweet, good natured comedy. Wonderful supporting cast but the shining light of the whole thing is Judy Holliday a truly unique talent. She glows when ever she's on screen. Sadly this was her last film. A real loss.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
I really liked Holliday in this movie, her last, it's fun and has good songs. The story is funny and romantic, and I recommend this movie.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2007
Moments of genius, moments of complete stupidity.

Judy Holliday was fantastic, but I found the film real uneven. I bet on stage it would work a lot better. The police story line was especially cringe inducing. However there was great physical comedy shtick
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2009
Judy Holliday is a an absolute delight in her final film as a telephone answering service operator who becomes romantically involved with one of her clients. Stylish musical based on the 1956 Broadway hit of the same name is heartwarming and sweet from start to finish. An undervalued gem. Songs include the popular standards "Just in Time" and "The Party's Over".
½ December 25, 2012
Minnelli's last collaboration with Arthur Freed is an old-fashioned, moderately entertaining musical that suffers from lack of chemistry between Judy Holliday and Dean Martin.
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2007
It's worth seeing for Judy Holliday's performance and for Dean singing Just in Time alone. It's a charming movie.
½ July 24, 2006
Cute in some parts, but also kind of dumb. I love Judy Holliday, though, and Dean Martin is sure dreamy in this.
½ August 3, 2014
The songs and plot are fairly cliche, but Bells Are Ringing succeeds as an entertaining movie musical thanks in large part to Judy Holiday's performance
½ August 22, 2013
Filmed at an awkward time where musicals weren't so cool anymore and the rock 'n' roll age was up-and-coming, "Bells Are Ringing" is an example of a late comedy musical. It isn't as good as one would expect, considering it's helmed by none other than Vincente Minnelli, but there are a few delights that one can wring out from the film. One of them, maybe even the only one, is Judy Holliday, a few years before her untimely death in 1965 at the age of 43. She shines brightly, even if everything around her isn't too special.
Holliday portrays Ella, a down-on-her luck, near-spinsterhood woman who's looking for love but is having a hard time finding it. Day and night, Ella works tirelessly for Susanswerphone, a revolutionary independent phone company that serves as a sort-of personalized answering machine. Ella, who takes the messages and gives them out, can't help but get emotionally involved with her customers.
One man that especially sticks out to her is handsome playwright Jeffrey Moss (Dean Martin), who has lost his writing partner and is close to becoming an alcoholic. It doesn't take long for Ella to fall for him, and before long, they meet face to face. The trouble is, is that Ella gets butterflies when she first sees him, and assumes a fake name to cover her true identity.
Though Holliday is magnificent as always, "Bells Are Ringing" doesn't leave you with that sticky, sugar-sweet feeling you get when you watch musical comedies. It's either because a) there is no beautiful Technicolor, which always gives musicals the essence of "why can't the real world be like a musical?", or b) there aren't enough show-stopping numbers to pull us into a fit of awe.
There is a plethora of pretty (but instantly forgettable) songs, all performed flawlessly by Holliday, Martin, or both, and there are plenty of charming jokes to give us an easy laugh, but there isn't that satisfying "oomph" you might feel as you're watching "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" or "The Band Wagon." Half the fun of a musical is achieving the feeling of escapism and happiness, but "Bells Are Ringing" spends more time with plot than true fun.
But none of the issues seem to fall onto the two leads, both of whom leave the project unscathed. Holliday, as usual, is wonderful, going far past her usual "dumb-blonde" routine and making us truly care about her character. She is certainly fresh in this kind of genre, as she isn't jaw-droppingly gorgeous (cough cough, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Cyd Charisse, etc.) and doesn't have a singing-voice a la Judy Garland. She has a special kind of quality in which we love her almost instantaneously. Holliday truly gives "Bells Are Ringing" the boost it needs.
The same goes for Martin, whose voice and charm makes him perfect for the role. Though he often times was more famous for his many film collaborations with Rat-Pack buddy Frank Sinatra, this film shows him at his finest. He sings a couple of tunes that most likely made the female crowd swoon in 1960, and whenever he's down on his luck in the film, it isn't hard to feel sorry for him. Martin and Holliday don't always make sense as a couple, but they're both individually excellent.
"Bells Are Ringing" is far from being the best example of a musical comedy, but there are a few enjoyable moments that make it worth a look.
July 20, 2012
I love this movie if only for its ability to help me imagine what seeing Judy Holliday perform on Broadway must've been like. Oh, for a time machine.
December 18, 2010
In yet another role written for her, Judy makes everyone fall in love with her.
½ September 9, 2005
[b]JUDY HOLLIDAY'S PRESENCE MAKES THIS FILM A MUST SEE. IT'S A BETTER THAN AVERAGE MUSICAL, NICE PERFORMANCE BY JEAN STAPLETON, PRE ALL IN THE FAMILY. SOME GREAT SONGS. A FUN FILM.
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