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

Monday, September 22, 2008


THE FACTS OF LIFE (1960). Director: Melvin Frank.
Pasadena housewife Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball) and neighbor Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope) drift into a (unconsummated) affair while vacationing in Acapulco, and are comically stymied in their attempts to finally be intimate. While there's some attempt to look at middle-class malaise and suburban boredom, this is basically a lighter and more superficial examination of adultery. Recognizing the light approach -- and that her co-star was Bob Hope -- Lucy plays it all in just the right note, and she even manages to create a character who isn't just Lucy Ricardo. On the other hand, Hope gives an over (or under) rehearsed, stilted performance that he practically just phones in for much of the film's running time; Fred MacMurray would probably have been much better in the part. But despite these quibbles, the movie eventually becomes absorbing, thanks to Lucy and the audience's wondering if these two will ever get together in the sack. There are plenty of amusing moments, and even if Hope's performance is less than stellar, he and Lucy still make an interesting team. A very pleasant and entertaining movie despite its obvious flaws. Hope's wife is the attractive Ruth Hussey; Lucy's hubby is the dull Don DeFore.
Verdict: You can hardly go wrong with Lucy. ***.

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