Friday, February 24, 2017

Marriage on the Rocks

Year 9, Day 55 - 2/24/17 - Movie #2,555

BEFORE: Success! The Kickstarter campaign I was working on promoting, with a few days worth of tweets and e-mails bothering friends, acquaintances (and a few complete strangers) reached its goal, which means I get to stay employed at my second job for at least a couple more years.  Which is great, because I really didn't have a back-up plan, but then again, neither did the director and producer of this film.  So, really, we had to succeed, there just was no other option.  You never really know with these things whether you've done enough promotion, until the goal is reached, and then exceeded, and you realize that you may have done a bit too much.  But there was no way to know that, either.

Both Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin carry over from "Some Came Running" - I think these two may have made more movies together than Liz Taylor and Richard Burton did.  And Sinatra also shows up on TCM's "31 Days of Oscar" schedule for tomorrow, 2/25:
6:00 AM Splendor in the Grass (1961)
8:15 AM Stage Door (1937)
10:00 Stagecoach (1939)
12:00 PM A Star Is Born (1937)
2:00 PM The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
4:00 PM Strangers on a Train (1951)
5:45 PM A Streetcar Named Desire (1961)
8:00 PM The Summer of '42 (1971)
10:00 PM The Sundowners (1960)
12:30 AM Swing Time (1936)
2:30 AM A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
5:00 AM The Tender Trap (1955)

Ha, I'm hitting for 6 out of 12 today, with "Splendor in the Grass", "Stage Door", "Strangers on a Train", "A Streetcar Named Desire", "The Tender Trap" (which I watched a few days ago) and "Swing Time" (which I'm going to watch next week).  That brings me up to 106 seen out of 279 films.  Still hovering above 33%.

THE PLOT: When ad agency president Dan Edwards goes to Mexico to celebrate his wedding anniversary, he winds up getting divorced by mistake - whereupon his wife Valerie marries his best friend Ernie by mistake.

AFTER: OK, so it's not a typical love triangle tonight, but it is a triangle.  Sinatra's character is married, but his best friend (Dean Martin) is always hanging around the house, and jokingly says things like "You should have married ME instead" to his wife.  It seems that Ernie (Dean) and the wife were once an item, and she made her choice 20 years ago, but she was only 18 at the time.  So, as we've seen with these triangles, she's always going to wonder about the spouse not taken.  In the meantime, her spouse Dan has turned into a boring old routine sort of husband, and Ernie's always ready to party, and in fact has three girls lined up to date on any particular night, just in case two of them cancel.

It's a nice change to see Sinatra playing the stable husband, after the succession of louses that he played over the last couple of nights.  Back in "The Tender Trap", he was the one who had a stack of phone messages from women who wanted to date him, and now in this film Dean Martin takes over the similar role.

The marriage seems like it's headed for disaster, as the wife is bored with the husband, the best friend's always joking about how he would be a better match for the wife, and the husband himself is just plain boring.  It seems like disaster's averted, however, when the couple agrees to take a second honeymoon in Mexico.

However, to swallow the rest of this storyline, you have to accept a few things: 1) that married people all want to be single, and single people all want to be married, or so they claim  2) that there's a place in Mexico that caters to people who want to get either divorced or married very quickly and 3) that it's possible in such a place to get accidentally divorced, or married to the wrong person, due largely to language problems.

If you can buy all that, then the storyline can proceed, with the wife pretending to be married to Ernie in order to make Dan jealous and interested in her again, but Dan also pretending that he doesn't know about this little plot, and going along with it to teach both Ernie AND his wife a lesson.  So yeah, the tables maybe get turned a few too many times here, but at least it all brings about the best possible world as a result, so in a way there's something sort of Shakespearean (All's well that ends well) about this bedroom farce.

Also starring Deborah Kerr (last seen in "Julius Caesar"), Nancy Sinatra, Joi Lansing (last seen in "Touch of Evil"), Cesar Romero (last seen in "The Thin Man"), John McGiver (last seen in "Made in Paris"), Hermione Baddeley (last seen in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown"), Tony Bill (last seen in "Must Love Dogs"), Michael Petit, with cameos from Kathleen Freeman (last seen in "The Ladies Man"), DeForest Kelley, Reta Shaw (also last seen in "Made in Paris") and Trini Lopez (last seen in "The Dirty Dozen").

RATING: 4 out of 10 go-go dancers

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