Saturday, February 25, 2017

Who Was That Lady?

Year 9, Day 56 - 2/25/17 - Movie #2,556

BEFORE: The Frank Sinatra chain is over, but the overlapping Dean Martin chain continues.

Here's the TCM line-up for tomorrow, 2/26, which is also Oscar Night itself:
7:15 AM Test Pilot (1938)
9:30 AM That Girl from Paris (1936)
11:15 AM That Hamilton Woman (1941)
1:30 PM That Man from Rio (1964)
3:45 PM Them! (1954)
5:30 PM They Were Expendable (1945)
8:00 PM The Thin Man (1934)
9:45 PM The Third Man (1949)
11:45 PM Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)
2:15 AM A Thousand Clowns (1965)
4:15 AM Thousands Cheer (1943)

Well, it looks like TCM really didn't want to compete with the Oscar ceremony broadcast, or maybe it's just that the letter "T" doesn't begin that many great movies, once you ignore the word "the".  Anyway, I've seen only two of these, "The Thin Man" and "The Third Man", bringing me up to 108 seen out of 281 films.

THE PLOT: In order to get back together with his wife, a chemistry professor enlists the aid of a TV writer friend to concoct a wild story that he is an undercover FBI agent.  The wife believes the story and later real FBI agents and enemy spies become involved in the scheme.

AFTER: This one sort of gets off to a bad start, because it begins with a wife catching her professor husband kissing a student - and his only excuse is that the student was trying to transfer into a chemistry course that was already full.  Oh, well, by all means, continue kissing that student, then.  After the wife tells him to move out and begins to make plans for a divorce, he starts to figure out a way around the problem, but that doesn't really solve the problem, which is that HE WAS KISSING ONE OF HIS STUDENTS.  This is a bit like complaining about all the leaks in the current administration, in the hopes that the leaks will be seen as the problem, rather than the disparaging information that the links contain, which should be of greater concern.  Please note that if someone manages to stop the leaks, then the bad behavior will continue, only no one will find out about it.

In an attempt to solve the problem, his buddy who writes for TV shows not only concocts this bogus FBI agent story, but gets him a gun and an ID card from the props department.  What the two friends don't count on is the fact that the wife not only believes the story, but is absolutely horrible at keeping a secret.  Did he, in fact, forget to say to her, "By the way, don't tell anyone about this..." because I'm pretty sure he said something like that, but she just couldn't do it.  Seriously, everywhere she goes, it's all, "My husband, who's an FBI agent..." and "Well, I really shouldn't tell you about my husband's FBI job..." - how can she be this clueless?

This leads, naturally (?) to her husband going out on a double-date with his writer friend, you know, to help him out, and convincing his wife that the two women they're meeting in a Chinese restaurant are really enemy agents, and the date is really a mission to trap them, so it puts the wife in a position where she's encouraging her husband to fool around, in the interest of national security.  That's pretty low, even for a Hollywood storyline.

So, he managed to cover up one indiscretion with the FBI story, but then the next day, he's using it as an excuse to go out and cheat again.  What happened to quitting while you're ahead?  I mean, there was a quick way to end the charade, just by saying, "Honey, I'm going to give up my career as an FBI agent, just for you, because it's so dangerous."  But then the story couldn't devolve from there, I suppose, to create the necessary worst-case "darkest before the dawn" scenario.  And once the real FBI gets involved and these guys are facing probable criminal charges, it's a wonder (and a bit of a stretch) that everything works out OK in the end.

Also starring Tony Curtis (last seen in "Play It to the Bone"), Janet Leigh (last seen in "Harper"), James Whitmore (last seen in "Fun with Dick and Jane"), John McIntire, Barbara Nichols (last seen in "Pal Joey"), Larry Keating, Larry Storch (last seen in "The Great Race"), Joi Lansing (also carrying over from "Marriage on the Rocks") with a cameo from Jack Benny.

RATING: 4 out of 10 intercepted phone calls

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