Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS (1965). Director: Melvin Frank.

"No more gay, married bachelor!"

Inter-Allied Petroleum executive Carter Harrison (Rock Hudson) literally bumps into artist Antonia "Toni" Vincente (Gina Lollobrigida) in London, and the two get married practically the same day, only to discover that Toni is a free spirit and Carter much more conservative. After seven years of separation Toni finally files for divorce so she can marry old boyfriend and boss, Harry (Edward Judd of First Men in the Moon), only a willing Carter discovers that he's up for a huge promotion, and his boss prefers happily-married employees. Can Carter win Toni over once again; can he put up with her "antics" and she with his stuffiness; and is he really in love or just play-acting for his job? In the climax, Toni [un]dresses up as Lady Godiva to protest the moral outrage over a piece of artwork. Strange Bedfellows is not a classic comedy, but it does have some solid laughs and an enthusiastic cast. The two leads are effective, and they get fine support from, Judd, Terry-Thomas [in a small, funny role of an undertaker] Gig Young [as Carter's co-worker, a thankless part he makes the most of], and Nancy Kulp as a friend of Toni's who winds up in bed with Carter [who also winds up in bed with Harry!] A highlight is a cab ride with some funny exchanges between the principles and the driver, and the low light is this business of dragging in civil unrest and massacre in Africa as part of Carter's plot to foil Toni's Godiva plans. The film has less to do with Toni's cause of Freedom of Artistic Expression as it does with titillating double entendres.

Verdict: Fair-to-middling mid-sixties sex comedy. **1/2.

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