Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Thin Man

Year 8, Day 177 6/25/16 - Movie #2,378

BEFORE: As I mentioned, I once had a link that would have connected either Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis directly to "The Thin Man", but as of last week, I could no longer find or remember it.  So I have to rely on an indirect link tonight.  "Doodles" Weaver, who I know from Spike Jones' records, (and who I also happen to know was Sigourney Weaver's uncle) was also in "Double Wedding" and this film's 2nd sequel, "Another Thin Man", with Myrna Loy (last seen in "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House") and William Powell.  That's going to have to do for now. 

Part of me now regrets not following the Jimmy Stewart link out of "Bandolero", because then I could have fit in "Harvey" and "You Can't Take It With You", and essentially ended up in the same place.  (Jimmy Stewart appears in this film's first sequel)  But it wouldn't have gotten me here in the correct number of days, and lately that seems to be what it's all about, getting to the right place on the right day.  Like the "Thin Man" series is 6 films long - TCM ran a marathon of them this past New Year's Eve - and that gets me to July 1, another film with Myrna Loy, and that gets me to my July 4 film right on time.  

THE PLOT:  Nick and Nora Charles, a former detective and his rich, playful wife, investigate a murder case mostly for the fun of it.

AFTER: I've heard a lot about "The Thin Man" over the years, it's exactly the type of film that I feel I should be watching, it's part of Hollywood history and American culture, but I never tracked it down before and took the time to learn what it's all about, other than that it centers on a rich couple who like to travel, drink and solve crimes.  (A formula later replicated in the 80's TV series "Hart to Hart")

Perhaps it's because it was late on a Friday night, and I'd had a few drinks myself (2 bottles of hard cider) but I found this storyline very difficult to follow.  I get that there was a missing inventor and businessman, and his concerned daughter got Nick and Nora Charles to help solve the crime (Nick's a retired detective, or something), but after that things got rather confusing, mostly because of the vast number of characters/suspects.  The missing man appears to have re-surfaced and committed a murder, but since he's missing once again, he can't really be proven guilty or innocent.  But is that what's really going on?  

There are missing bonds, a gold-digging wife, and a gangster who's more of a caricature of a gangster than Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney put together, a police detective who doubts Nick Charles' every move, and the mysterious family members of the dead man's wife.  Umm, I think - again I got confused and fell asleep at some point, tried to rewind to where I left off, and I might have missed a bit.  

So it's a big fail for me, up until the big dinner scene where all the suspects are seated at one table, and Nick bounces his theories around while shouting out each character's name, which is then usually followed by, "Would you like another drink?"  So I question whether he had really solved the case at this point, or was just trying to shake some information loose with guesswork.  

My other problem, other than the cartoonish portrayal of a crime-boss, was that sing-song manner of speaking that actors seemed to have back in the 1930's, it was before people figured out that they just had to get in front of a camera and talk in normal human speech to be believable. You can see Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn talking all sing-song in their earlier films, and that's also quite soporific to me.  

The IMDB trivia section tells me this film was shot in only two weeks, and was expected to be a "B" picture, and it shows.  I'm hoping that for the sequels they took a little more time, to improve both the production values and the acting style.  This is another film that's included on that list of "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" (as of now, I've seen 386), which I admit has been guiding my choices of late, but again, I can't really see the attraction.  Perhaps because this was the first film to have a sequel with the same main cast?  Or is it because it was such an early example of a film made in the detective genre?  

Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett, who never wrote a sequel, although Hollywood produced 5 sequels to the film.  And they all used "Thin Man" in the title, even though the words refer to the missing man in the first film, not the detective who carried over to the sequels. 

Also starring William Powell (last seen in "Mister Roberts"), Maureen O'Sullivan (last seen in "A Day at the Races"), Nat Pendleton (last seen in "At the Circus"), Minna Gombell (last seen in "High Sierra"), William Henry (also last seen in "Mister Roberts"), Porter Hall, Henry Wadsworth, Cesar Romero (last seen in "Ocean's 11"), Harold Huber, Natalie Moorhead, Edward Brophy (last seen in "Cover Girl"), Edward Ellis, Cyril Thornton, and Asta the dog.

RATING: 4 out of 10 cocktail shakers 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Ladies Man

Year 8, Day 176 6/24/16 - Movie #2,377

BEFORE: Jerry Lewis carries over for the final time, and I'll have to engineer a new connection to tomorrow's film, the schedule is already in place and I can't change it now.  While growing up, I'd mainly experienced Jerry Lewis only through two films, "The Nutty Professor" and "The Family Jewels", so whatever else happened this week, whether I dug these other films or not, at least I gained a greater understanding of his filmography.  There are still films I didn't get to, but I've (thankfully) run out of the films in my collection.


THE PLOT:  After his girl leaves him for someone else, Herbert gets really depressed and starts searching for a job. He finally finds one in a big house which is inhabited by many, many women.

AFTER: I'm honestly relieved that Jerry Lewis week is finally over - I understand that his style of comedy had its time, but I feel like that time is long gone.  So much of his schtick feels so dated, so cornball now, it just doesn't play any more.  I'll probably get an e-mail or two from friends who will  tell me, "Oh, you just didn't watch the RIGHT Jerry Lewis films..."  OK, well, tell me which ones are the good ones, then. 

I know he made a good living playing these characters who were dumb, or innocent, or dumb AND innocent, but I think at a certain point you have to try something new.  And by "new" I don't mean a film without a story, like "The Bellboy".  Didn't he ever long to play a more serious character, a more dramatic role, you know, some real ACTING instead of just being goofy and breaking things?  

Oh, right, "The King of Comedy".  So I guess he eventually got there, but in between the breakup with Dean and the later, serious Jerry, there was a lot of time where he tried to keep the old routine alive, and that led to the dumb/innocent character of Herbert Heebert in "The Ladies Man".  He's a man who's sworn off women after getting his heart broken, so naturally he accidentally accepts a job in a boarding-house FULL of them.  You know, Herbert, you can QUIT a job.  That has been known to happen.  

They never really say what his job is, other than "houseboy".  Why do a bunch of women need a houseboy, exactly?  Is he a janitor, mechanic, all-around servant?  It's never quite clear, but that's what you get when you put the premise ahead of the story.  All of these women are budding actresses and musicians, I think.  And they've got a pet lion named "Baby" for some reason, but this is never really explained beyond the sight gag.  That can't be safe.  

And then there's the mysterious Miss Cartilage, who never leaves her room, or something.  Umm, how does she eat, then?  And is she the same weird mime-type girl that Herbert does a dance number with?  This was also quite unclear.  If so, her room is enormous, as big as a sound stage, with a full orchestra, so I guess I see why she never has to leave it.

The whole house, in fact, is set up like a doll house, in that there is obviously no fourth wall, every room always has at least one missing wall so the camera can see inside, and at times we can see the entire three-story set (must have been a HUGE sound-stage...) and while this is a stylistic choice, it also interferes with my suspension of disbelief.  Am I supposed to just ignore the fact that the mirrors have no glass in them, so we can see the women putting their make-up on?

Like "Artists and Models", this film is also included on that famous list of "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", but for the life of me, I'm not really sure why.  Sure, there are some surrealistic bits, and if you like nonsensical humor it's got plenty, but it's not a strong story, and most of the women characters are woefully undeveloped - outside of this one being a trombonist and that one being a mime, I couldn't really tell most of them apart. And the whole "TV crew comes to interview the house's benefactor" part just seemed really, really forced.

Also starring Helen Traubel, Kathleen Freeman (last seen in "Artists and Models"), George Raft (last seen in "Around the World in Eighty Days"), Harry James, Marty Ingels, Pat Stanley, Buddy Lester, Sylvia Lewis, Jack Kruschen (carrying over from "The Bellboy"), Alex Gerry (ditto), Madlyn Rhue, Joan Staley (last seen in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"), with cameos from Doodles Weaver (last seen in "The Birds"), Jack LaLanne.

RATING: 4 out of 10 staircases 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Bellboy

Year 8, Day 175 6/23/16 - Movie #2,376

BEFORE: Back on track, and I'm almost done with the Jerry Lewis chain.  I had these in a different order originally, and now I can't remember why.  It might have been so that I could properly link to "The Thin Man" this weekend, but whatever the link was that I had, I couldn't find it again.  So after reviewing all the cast lists again, it made more sense to watch all the Dean Martin films together (five in a row, starting with "Bandolero!") and then deal with the Jerry Lewis solo films in a row (Jerry gets 7 in a row, counting both the team and solo films).  I'll have to devise a new indirect link to "The Thin Man", but I know that it's possible.  


THE PLOT: The mute bellboy Stanley works at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach - in spite of being a hard-working and friendly employee, the clumsy Stanley keeps getting into trouble with his mistakes. 

AFTER: This film opens with a phony motion picture producer, telling us how this film is unlike any other comedy out there, particularly because it has no story.  (Oh, great...)  It's never a good sign when someone appears on camera to introduce the film that you're about to see - it usually means that a director knows he's got a stinker of a film on his hands, and maybe if they set it up right to the audience, they can salvage it.  Nope, a bad film is still a bad film.  But if you KNOW that the problem is that the film has no story, why not take the time to, you know, add one? 

Instead Jerry Lewis stuck together a bunch of gags that were probably left over from other films, or were meant to go in a film starring a bellboy that was supposed to be ABOUT something, and realized he had like 100 gags and no narrative.  Well, by all means, why not proceed?  If you throw enough gags on the screen, maybe no one will notice.  (Yes, they will.)   

I'm admittedly not an expert on screenwriting, but I know that you have to start with an outline and develop that into a strong central story.  A bunch of gags by themselves can't possibly constitute a film, it ends up like a bunch of Christmas ornaments with no tree to hang them on.  Sure, maybe they're pretty, but they're not being displayed right.  I think of a Mel Brooks film like "High Anxiety" or "Young Frankenstein", Brooks could think of 100 gags that riffed on Hitchcock or classic horror films, but there still had to be a central story that connected them all.  

In addition, the film is very erratic when it comes to portraying the central character.  Sometimes Stanley is incompetent, when it comes to, say, lifting up a piece of luggage, but other times he's strangely gifted, like when he sets up 1,000 chairs in the ballroom for the movie night.  Well, if he's a lovable screw-up, how did he do that job so quickly?  What's the point in showing him being really, really good at one small aspect of his job?  It's just for a quick, cheap laugh, apparently.  

Similarly, one day Jerry Lewis himself shows up to stay at the hotel, and people notice the likeness between Stanley and the famous star.  And then, what?  Nothing, really, they don't switch places, they don't discover that they're long-lost twins, no wacky situation comes as a result of them looking alike, they just happen to look alike, and their lives go on.  What a wasted opportunity - well, they do a sight gag where another bellboy supposedly looks like Milton Berle, but compared to where the story COULD have gone, it's rather weak.  Oh, wait, I forgot, the film doesn't have any story and they meant to do that.  Yeah, right.  

Also starring Alex Gerry (last seen in "I Was a Male War Bride"), Bob Clayton, Sonnie Sands, Eddie Shaeffer, Bill Richmond, Jack Kruschen (last seen in "The Apartment"), with a cameo from Milton Berle (last seen in "Broadway Danny Rose")

RATING: 3 out of 10 empty seats at the lunch counter

Way...Way Out

Year 8, Day 174 6/22/16 - Movie #2,375

BEFORE: Yes, I'm doubling up on Jerry Lewis solo films today, because this will insure that I hit the right film on July 4.  I'll be ahead in the count for a while, more films than days passed in 2016, but that's OK, because I can take things easier, even skip a day after the holiday.  Heck, I'll be skipping a week for Comic-Con, so my tally's going to be off no matter what.  

I'm concerned that I'm rapidly approaching the "tipping point" for the year - where the number of films on my watchlist will be equal to or greater than the number of viewing slots left in 2016, which could mean that films will spill over into Year 9, which isn't a given until I hit the tipping point.  With my watchlist stuck at 120 (and a new film added each day, more or less, to replace the one I watch), and just 125 available slots, I'm nearly there.  In a few days, all hope of finishing this year will be dashed, however, this is still the longest I've gone into a calendar year while retaining hope of mathematically completing the project within that year.  Heck, June's almost over, I made it more than halfway through the year thinking I could finish.  That's something, right? 


THE PLOT: The United States, while engaged in a space race with the Soviet Union, decides to place the first married couple in space.  

AFTER: Well, as luck would have it, I'm helping one of my bosses with her new screenplay, which is all about a woman growing up in a Communist country, and falling in love, getting married, divorced, etc. and that happens to be very insightful when it comes to understanding the background for "Way...Way Out", which is set in the far off "future" of 1989, but of course reflects some of the social mores of the year it was released, which was 1966, right in the middle of the Cold War and the Space Race.  For example, I've learned that the Soviet Union wasn't strong on promoting marriage, because it was seen as a strong bond that citizens could consider more important than their bond with the collective, and nothing should supersede that.  However, once they realized that the Russian birthrate was dramatically low and that more citizens were needed to maintain the country, the government changed its stance at some point, and then promoted marriage more.

In a weird way, this is reflected in today's film, since the Russian cosmonauts are encouraged to procreate and make the first baby in space, even though they're not technically married.  The American astronauts simply MUST be married, however, because the entire foundation of American society is based on family values (gag), even if the marriage has to be a sham.  I get that we're a proud people and we're concerned about our image and all that, but a fake marriage doesn't help anyone, it's not the way to do things.  Jeez, isn't the pursuit of happiness more important than being married?  The Declaration of Independence guarantees us that (not happiness itself, just the pursuit of it...) but doesn't say that we have to be married to do it, despite what conservative politicians think.

But isn't that part of our problem?  "Marriage uber alles", it doesn't matter if the married people aren't happy, or one's abusing the other, or one's secretly in the closet, or they're not right for each other - nope, you've got to get married and stay married.  How very short-sighted.  Similarly, once the U.S. space agency determines that the next astronauts on the moon need to be a married couple, there's no talking them out of it.

It seems that the last two astronauts in the moon base, both men, were fighting all the time and came close to killing each other.  It couldn't possibly be because they were gay, no, couldn't be that - it seems that one went crazy and attacked the Russian female cosmonaut.  Apparently, living on the moon without any sexual release turned him into a literal lunatic.  He'd taken to drawing a lot of pictures of naked women - well, what's wrong with that?  While the movie doesn't state it explicitly, I guess I see how that could be rather messy in low-gravity space, if you catch my drift.  Instead his fellow astronaut complains about the Mexican food that he eats and leaves all around the space station - they're kind of like "The Odd Couple", but on the moon.

Enter Jerry Lewis' character, Pete Mattemore, who gets the nod to replace them, but only if he can find a wife in the next three days, from among the available candidates - one less attractive, but eager to get married, and the other more attractive, but not interested in him as a husband.  He shrewdly cuts a deal with the more attractive one - she gets to do her research on the moon and make history, but she doesn't have to sleep with him.  All the benefits and none of the awkward sex - or as many married couples call it after a while, marriage.

However, when they get to the moon, things change after interacting with the Russian couple - who come knocking on their space station door as easily as earthbound neighbors might.  The Russian woman's a knockout, and the Russian man just wants to dance and drink vodka.  They party together, and since neither couple is really what they're pretending to be, you might think that this would lead to some 1960's style swinging, or at least fake-wife swapping, but no, it isn't to be.  The film backs off from this about as quickly as it can, in favor of using jealousy to get its couples back together.

I'm glad that the film (finally) addressed the fact that the two countries were enemies (there's no way that anyone in 1966 could have predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, so naturally they just felt this situation would go on forever) and the space agency eventually wises up, pointing out that with all this fraternization, the Russians could be spying on the U.S., planting a bomb, subverting their mission, whatever.  But this is still a very silly story that was ultimately pointless in gaining much insight to the human condition, marital relationships, or pretty much anything. 

The theme song was performed by Gary Lewis & The Playboys, and any trivia fan probably knows that Gary Lewis is Jerry's son, but other than that, there wasn't much to be learned from this.

Also starring Connie Stevens, Robert Morley (last seen in "Around the World in Eighty Days"), Dennis Weaver (last seen in "The Man from the Alamo"), Howard Morris, Anita Ekberg (also carrying over from "Artists and Models"), Dick Shawn, Bobo Lewis (last seen in "The Paper"), Brian Keith (last seen in "Hooper"), with cameos from James Brolin (last seen in "Sisters"), Fritz Feld (last seen in "Barefoot in the Park")

RATING: 4 out of 10 chicken enchiladas

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Artists and Models

Year 8, Day 174 6/22/16 - Movie #2,374

BEFORE: The parallels between the subject matters of the films that I watch and the things that happen in my daily life never cease to amaze me.  Maybe it's just random, maybe I'm always able to find connections between things, even when they're not really there.  But yesterday's film concerned an entertainer not received credit on the marquee, while at work we're debating over who gets into the credits of this animated feature, and how big everyone's billing is.  Now today's film is all about comic book writers and artists, while I'm deep in the planning for our annual trip to San Diego Comic-Con, which of course is a focal promotional point for comic book writers and artists (and just about everything else).  

My planning for this annual July event usually begins a year in advance, that's when we have to put down a deposit for the booth, and it's easiest to take some money from our booth sales and put it toward the following year's booth.  This means I have to walk across a crowded convention center to the sales office carrying about $1,500 in cash, but so far I've never had any problems (although it gives me a great idea for a heist film, set at a comic convention...title it "The Big Con", get some young kids from the Jay Baruchel / Jonah Hill / Seth Rogen crowd to star in it, this thing writes itself...)  

Anyway, round 2 of my planning takes place in January + February, where I have to line up hotels and flights for my boss, his wife + son, and me.  This year I got him on the list for exhibitors who want to arrange hotels through the convention (many hotels set aside blocks of rooms for just this purpose) because for the last two years, it's been hard to find him a decent hotel, and impossible to get him into the one he wants.  But this year we signed up for Exhibitor Housing AND his favorite hotel was on the list, so that explains why I haven't been able to get him a room there lately!  And even though my usual "el cheapo" hotel changed their policy - they're only taking reservations last-minute now, two weeks before any given date - I was able to get an AirBnB reservation for myself at a good price on my third try (two hosts cancelled my reservations when I mentioned Comic-Con, because they're planning to triple their prices that week.  Not cool, and BTW, that's against the terms of service...) so luckily everything in Round 2 fell into place. 

Round 3 is just paperwork - submitting the booth's floor plan, getting a variance for the line of sight, applying for a California temporary tax vendor ID, requesting a panel, submitting a description of the panel, submitting names for badges, getting a booth listing, finding some help for the booth, and determining if we want to get guest badges for anyone we know.  Round 4 is checking our stocks of merchandise to see if we're running low on anything, and Round 5 will be promoting our booth, panel and screening on social media.  Round 6 will be shipping and packing.  I'm on Round 4 now, with just about 4 weeks to go before the big event.  

Once I double up on a couple of Jerry Lewis films this week, I plan on sticking to a daily viewing schedule right up until I get on the plane for San Diego, and wherever I leave off, there will be a week's gap, nothing I can do about that.  Years ago I tried to watch movies while in San Diego, and it's just not possible.  I have time to work at the booth, eat some good meals, go to maybe one or two fun events at night, and that's it.  The rest of the time I'll need to be sleeping.  

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis carry over again, and this is the last of my films with both of them.  This ran on TCM around Jerry's 90th birthday in March, and once again I was having trouble with my DVR (why is it always with TCM?) so I missed out on "You're Never Too Young" and Jerry's solo film "Which Way to the Front?" but they ran most of the films over the following week on the Free Movies on Demand channel, so I didn't get everything, but I got most of their tribute.   

THE PLOT:  Rick Todd uses the dreams of his roommate Eugene as the basis for a successful comic book.

AFTER: This is the only one of Martin & Lewis' films to appear on the list of "1,001 Movies to See Before You Die", and I have to question why that's the case.  Is it because this is the most representative example of their musical & comedy stylings?  Is it for the early-career appearance of Shirley MacLaine, showing off her music and dance skills that weren't displayed in "The Trouble With Harry"?  Or is it because this could be the first major Hollywood film that was not-so-secretly a fetish film?  

Now, before I proceed with this theory, I have to define my terms.  The Hollywood code was still in place when this was released (1955), and in 1954 the book "Seduction of the Innocent" was published, blaming comic books in particular for juvenile delinquency and moral corruption, which lead to a Senate investigation, and a general re-vamp of the popular crime and horror-themed comic books, leaving mostly superhero books to pick up the slack.  There are definitely references in this film to this topic, what with the comic-book publisher complaining about the lack of decapitations and gore in an artist's work.  Then the former comic-book artist appears on a talk show to discuss how damaging the comics are, and we see the actions of a bratty kid who's read too many - but he couldn't be acting out because his mother is so domineering, now, could he?

Claims that Batman and Robin were gay partners, or that Wonder Woman had a lesbian/bondage subtext were a little dubious (although, Wonder Woman DID tie a lot of men up with her lasso, and her creator lived in an open three-way relationship with two women...) and though I'm not an expert on the subject, I have to theorize that many MORE people started reading things into the comic-book images after "Seduction of the Innocent" was published.  (Hey, that image of a woman kidnapped and gagged didn't strike me as a sexual image, but now that you mention it...)

I grew up watching the old "Batman" and "Wonder Woman" TV shows, and with all the skin-tight outfits on characters like Batgirl and Catwoman, well, let's just say anything can be porn if you don't have access to porn.  And that's where fetishes come from - attractions sparked by certain objects, clothing or situations, and the triggers that they set off inside people's brains, which develop over time with repeated exposures.   

So, while you might see a bunch of Russian spies tearing off a woman's costume and leaving her tied to a chair as just a plot point in this film, to a guy with a fetish, it means SO much more.  (And she's left wearing blue nylon stockings, that's probably a thing for some guy somewhere.)  This film is full of stuff like this, especially a woman who poses as Bat Lady, I guess she's like a female Batman, and Batman had only been around for about 15 years at this point.  So we've got the bondage fetish, the superhero fetish covered, what else?

There are a few times in the film when people get kissed by surprise, or against their will.  I'm sure this must be a fetish for some people - hey, if tickling is a fetish, then anything can be a fetish.  But this is really part and parcel for Dean Martin's tendency to play womanizer characters - the theory is always that any woman's resolve can be broken down by repeated attempts to charm her.  Only in the movies, right?  Unfortunately his pursuit of her despite her constant rejections started to come off a little stalkerish, maybe even a little rapey.  Switching places with her roommate to give her a secret massage with sun-tan lotion in particular - it's an unapproved round of touching, and just because they fall in love later, that does NOT make it OK.  MacLaine's character also pursues Lewis' character, because her astrology charts told her to, and since he's such an innocent when it comes to women, this also seems a little suspect - but of course, there's a double standard here, since the pursuer is the woman, making it more of a man's fantasy fulfillment.  

Lewis' character goes ga-ga for the Bat Lady, but is less attracted to the same girl when she's out of costume.  She practically needs to hit him over the head to get him to notice her - she sings at him so loudly, he keeps falling down the stairs while climbing to the building's roof to sit out in the sun.  I guess he finally figures it out, because they plan to hook up at the big Artists and Models ball, with her dressing as the Bat Lady and him dressed up like a giant cartoon mouse.  Kinky...

There's definitely a line that shouldn't get crossed, and since I'm a married man, I'm well aware of it.  It's generally "Look, but don't touch."  And that works for Comic-Con, too - there are so many women walking around in superhero outfits that it would be impossible for me to not look at them, so I just get them to pose for pictures, and that's that.  Later I post them on Flickr and I think my photo feed has a lot of fans with superhero fetishes, based on the feeds of the people who send me friend invites on that site.  (Sorry, I know I said "no judgments", but some of you people are seriously deranged...)   

NITPICK POINT: If you're an artist, and you manage to get some paying gigs, like, say, painting a billboard, and you keep hiring your screw-up friend to help you, only he keeps screwing up, so the two of you can't get any money for food, I would think that the solution would be simple: STOP hiring your friend.  Because at least then you could complete one job and get paid, which would allow both of you to buy some groceries. 

NITPICK POINT #2: Eugene's comic-book storyline (which come from his dreams, as he talks in his sleep) accidentally contain the formula for a secret U.S. space station, and once it sees print, the secret agents get involved.  But how do you express the "formula" for a space station?  How can "X34 minus 5R1 plus 6-X36" possibly represent an object in the physical world?  Wouldn't it have made more sense for this to be some kind of chemical or biological formula?  
 
Also starring Shirley MacLaine (last seen in "Irma La Douce"), Dorothy Malone (last seen in "The Big Sleep"), Eddie Mayehoff (also carrying over from "The Stooge"), Eva Gabor (last seen in "Touch of Evil"), Anita Ekberg, Jack Elam (last seen in "Support Your Local Gunfighter"), Kathleen Freeman (ditto). 

RATING: 6 out of 10 massage therapists