Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952)

Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson in Has Anybody Seen My Gal

The Devil and The Blaisdell's

There are several things you could mention when talking about "Has Anybody Seen My Gal"; you could mention that it is a Douglas Sirk movie and like some of his other movies the subject of class divide is part of the story. You could also mention that with it featuring Charles Coburn as a slightly crotchety millionaire who goes undercover it is a little reminiscent to Coburn's earlier movie "The Devil and Miss Jones". You may even just say well it's a bit of twee romantic comedy fluff from a bygone era and to be honest it is a bit of twee romantic comedy fluff from a bygone ere. But the best thing you can say about "Has Anybody Seen My Gal" is that it is simply enjoyable, from start to finish it puts a smile on your face even now 60 years after it was made.

Millionaire Samuel Fulton (Charles Coburn - Heaven Can Wait) is a bit of a hypochondriac and thinks his days are numbered, so without any family of his own decides to bequeath his estate to the family of the one woman he ever loved, a woman who turned his proposal down and was the reason why he became so rich. But first his lawyers persuade him to see if this family, the Blaisdell's are worthy to inherit his money or whether they will squander it. So taking an alias he cheats his way into the Blaisdell home as a lodger and takes a job working for Mr. Blaisdell (Larry Gates) at his drug store where he meets working class Dan Stebbins (Rock Hudson - Bend of the River) who is fond of Mr. Blaisdell's daughter Millicent (Piper Laurie - Return to Oz). But when Samuel anonymously gives the Blaisdell's $100,000 he sees exactly what the money will do them especially Mrs. Blaisdell (Lynn Bari) who goes on a spending mission including moving them into a huge mansion and deeming working class Dan as unsuitable for Millicent.

Charles Coburn and Gigi Perreau in Has Anybody Seen My Gal

It has to be said that I enjoy Douglas Sirk's movies because they can be watched as simple entertainment or pawed over for hidden depths. As such "Has Anybody Seen My Gal" works brilliantly as a piece of simple entertainment which wealthy Samuel Fulton basically going undercover to live with the Blaisdell family who he wants to inherit his estate when he passes on. There is plenty of comedy as he craftily forces his way into their home as a lodger and then goes to work for Mr. Blaisdell at his drugstore doing deliveries and making soda pops for the customers, all the time seeing if this working class family deserve his money. It is all kind of obvious but from Fulton getting in trouble with the law, to misunderstandings and romantic issues as well as Mrs. Blaisdell trying to live above her station it provides plenty of amusement.

But as with Sirk's other movies there is more to "Has Anybody Seen My Gal" than just simple entertainment. We get an element of class divide as we watch how those further up the ladder treat those lower down and we see how greed and money can change people. As such we watch how when Fulton anonymously gives the Blaisdell's $100,000 we see how it affects them especially Mrs. Blaisdell who lusts for what those who are above her socially have. It's not one of Sirk's most scathing looks at society but the depth does make it more interesting than just a bit of nostalgic fluff.

But the reason why "Has Anybody Seen My Gal" is enjoyable, even now over 60 years after it was made is because of Charles Coburn. Coburn was such a great comedic actor that even when he was playing a grouch he was likeable and so from the minute we meet Samuel Fulton, berating his staff as he dictates his Will you just smile because Coburn simply makes him fun. And it is the same throughout, be it a knowing look, his attempts to make soda-pops or the way he treats the Blaisdell's home like his own without a care in the world he just makes you smile. As such whilst there are entertaining performances from Larry Gates, Lynn Bari as well as Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson it is Coburn who is the star and who makes it worth watching. Although for sheer cuteness Gigi Perreau as young Roberta deserves a mention because she maybe a childhood cliche but she is fun especially as she befriends Fulton.

What this all boils down to is that "Has Anybody Seen My Gal" not only delivers the look at class divide which director Douglas Sirk often explored but it also delves into the subject of greed. As such it has some depth but more importantly is that it is also simply good fun with an entertaining performance from Charles Coburn making it well worth a watch.