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APRIL LOVE

                 

For Hicksflicks.com, Aug. 23, 2013

Pat Boone's second film is a movie I hadn't seen since I was a kid, and frankly I wasn't expecting much. There's always the worry that a 56-year-old movie like "April Love" will seem hokey and silly and implausible in the 21st century, especially a musical that has characters bursting into song when you least expect it.

But it became quickly evident that the film remains engaging, with the charming Boone as an unlikely juvenile delinquent sent to live on his aunt-and-uncle's Kentucky farm, where he begins rebuilding vehicles and learns the delicate art of sulky horseracing. He also romances the "good sport" (Shirley Jones, who was hot off of "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel"), that lives on a nearby ranch, and, of course, gets into trouble with the law.

This is the very definition of "light as a feather"and the songs are mostly forgettable. Not the title song, however; "April Love," was a big hit for Boone in 1957. And as is often the case in films like this, it is supporting veterans Arthur O'Connell and Jeanette Nolan who steal the show as Boone's cranky uncle and warm-hearted aunt, respectively.

This is the DVD debut of "April Love," a much-requested title that has finally been released by Twentieth Century Fox on its Fox Classic Archives manufacture-on-demand label — but for some reason the studio that invented CinemaScope and was instrumental in establishing the widescreen format in movie theaters in the 1950s has decided to release this one in full-frame pan and scan, which is a horrible format and undermines much of the film's visual impact.