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

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Gardner McKay and Carol Lynley
THE PLEASURE SEEKERS (1964). Director: Jean Negulesco.

"Boy is he confused. He gave his wife the mink coat and me the refrigerator!" -- party guest

Three young ladies living and working in Madrid encounter romantic difficulties: entertainer Fran (Ann-Margret) can't seem to get together with handsome doctor Andres (Andre Lawrence); Susie (Pamela Tiffin) becomes betrothed to a heel, Emilio (Anthony Franciosa), who has no intention of actually marrying her; and Maggie (Carol Lynley) is torn between married editor Paul (Brian Keith) and young reporter Pete (Gardner McKay). Jean Negulesco returns to the foreign soap opera genre he examined ten years earlier in the superior Three Coins in the Fountain, with another trio of mostly unconvincing romances set in Spain instead of Italy. The deceptively titled Pleasure Seekers may have some location shots of Madrid, as well as shots of the masterpieces in the Prado, but other than that it never leaves Hollywood. The acting is good enough, with a very attractive Gene Tierney [Whirlpool] getting a grand total of one good scene as Paul's wife as she tells off infatuated Maggie in a ladies room. Isobel Elsom [Ladies in Retirement] also gets one good scene as Emilio's mother. The movie might be called a semi-musical as there are several numbers for Ann-Margret as she sings during "Fran's" performances, but she also warbles a tune at a picnic; you can miss these. With Ann-Margret's singing, everything is subordinate to sex, and she vocalizes as if she's savagely tearing at a big chunk of lobster. TV star Gardner McKay's character is virtually undeveloped -- to his credit he doesn't just come off like "Adam Troy," the character he played on Adventures in Paradise -- and he made one more movie before becoming a playwright, Little is known about Andre Lawrence, who made his debut in this film and appeared in some Canadian and other productions afterward.

Verdict: Fairly terrible. **.


angelman66 said...

Oh, yes, Bill, you are so right, very very glossy and very terrible. What a disappointment, so many attractive people but such a boring plot and characters. Makes Valley of the Dolls look like a masterpiece, and that takes some doing.

William said...

Cheers yourself! I only watched this darn thing to drool over Gardner McKay who has very little to do and doesn't even look quite as hot as he does on his TV show. You're right that "Dolls," for all its flaws, was at least more entertaining. You would think anything titled "Pleasure Seekers" would at least be some lurid trash, but no go!