Has Anybody Seen My Gal (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Stuart Galbraith IV
  • Review Date: Feb 14, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Has Anybody Seen My Gal (Blu-ray Review)


Douglas Sirk

Release Date(s)

1952 (January 9, 2024)


Universal-International (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
  • Film/Program Grade: B
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: B

Has Anybody Seen My Gal (Blu-ray)

Buy it Here!


Hardly emblematic Douglas Sirk, Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952) is a fairly entertaining period comedy, almost but not quite a musical. Clearly prompted by the string of very successful films nostalgic for an earlier Americana—Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Life with Father (1947), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), etc.—this was Universal-International’s, then still a lesser, primarily B-level film studio, take on the same kind of material.

The results are mostly pleasant. Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson, young talent under long-term contract, are top-billed, but the movie is really a vehicle for wily character star Charles Coburn, who is predictably delightful.

In 1928, New York millionaire Samuel Fulton (Coburn), having no family of his own, decides to leave his fortune to the family of the late Millicent Blaisdell, a woman he long ago loved but who rejected him. Though this broke his heart, the rejection fueled his ambitions as a businessman, thus this unusual act of generosity.

Fearing the family will burn through money faster than you can say “Lotto winner,” he decides to visit them in their small Vermont town, Fulton masquerading as an eccentric lodger, “John Smith,” who eventually goes to work as a soda jerk at the drugstore owned by patriarch Charles Blaisdell (Larry Gates, before his hair went white). His family consists of wife Harriet (Lynn Bari), oldest son Howard (William Reynolds), 19-year-old daughter Millicent (Piper Laurie), and their youngest, Roberta (Gigi Perreau). Harriet encourages Millicent to date snotty rich kid Carl Pennock (Skip Homeier), but she’s in love with Dan Stebbins (Rock Hudson), who also works as the drugstore.

Not long after his arrival, “John Smith” has arranged through his attorney, Edward Norton (Frank Ferguson), to present the family with a cashier’s check for $100,000. At this point the movie goes completely off the rails for a time, as Harriet instantly becomes an insufferable snob and spendthrift, forcing her family to buy a mansion (the Beverly Hillbillies’, no less), sell the drugstore, even replace the beloved family pooch with a pair of French poodles. She calls off the engagement of Millicent to working-class Dan, too, creating much unhappiness.

This painful contrivance is so extravagantly overdone and unbelievable—Why does no one in the family object to her demands?—that the film takes a long while to recover, chiefly through Coburn’s charm.

Coburn is best remembered for his comedies, especially George Stevens’s The More the Merrier (1944) and Howard Hawks’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), but he was equally adept in dramatic roles such as Kings Row (1942) and Wilson (1944). Born in 1877, he remarried two years before he died in 1961, fathering a daughter in his eighties. Rascally and unfazeable, his unique charm carries the picture.

The kind of primary color Americana that director Sirk used ironically to contrast the dark secrets and unhappy lives of characters in his later melodramas is on display here, except in this case it’s unabashedly bright and genuinely warm. The screenplay overdoes the nostalgia with its constant noting of the prices of everything from aspirin to ice cream soda, prices that seemed out of control in 1928 but ludicrously cheap by 1952. Likewise, there’s an endless parade of 1920s references, to bathtub gin, speakeasys, the Charleston, etc. Has Anybody Seen My Gal—no question mark at the end—borders on being a musical, with characters pensively singing popular songs of the era and even dancing a little, closer in spirit to Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You than a ’50s MGM musical. But it definitely uses the Universal backlot much as MGM did with its lot for Meet Me in St. Louis, and Gigi Perreau’s character is more or less a clone of Margaret O’Brien’s in MGM’s film.

The film is also remembered today as the fourth of five movies actor James Dean appeared in small, uncredited parts, before his breakthrough role in East of Eden. He has one line but is instantly recognizable around the 31:30 mark as an annoying customer at the soda counter.

Kino’s Blu-ray of Has Anybody Seen My Gal is “a 2K scan of the 35 mm interpositive!,” suggesting the original black-and-white camera negatives from this 3-strip Technicolor production don’t exist, aren’t usable, or were too expensive for such a release. It’s still an impressive transfer, showing a bit of damage here and there but with no serious misalignment issues and marked by U-I’s distinctive burnished gold look to their Technicolor released from this period. The DTS-HD Master Audio (mono) is fine and supported by optional English subtitles. Region “A” encoded.

The primary extra is a good one from an odd source, a 30-minute documentary called Fun on the Lot: Piper Laurie and Gigi Perreau Remember Has Anybody Seen My Gal. Directed by Robert Fischer, this is a German-French co-production from 2008, apparently made as a supplement to a German and/or French home video release. Nevertheless, Laurie and Perreau (whose first name, we learn, is pronounced with hard “G’s” like “geese”) are delightful, and the feature strikes a good balance between talk about the film and their careers generally. Also included is a much newer audio commentary with Laurie, moderated by Lee Gambin. It’s more of a leisurely career overview with Laurie sounding rather weak—she died at 91 last October. A trailer rounds out the extras.

It’s a shame that Kino didn’t get this out earlier. Technically a Christmas movie, it makes pleasant holiday viewing. Though not great, Has Anyone Seen My Gal is an amusing little movie for fans of Charles Coburn. Recommended.

- Stuart Galbraith IV