Bachelor in Paradise (1961)


(director: Jack Arnold; screenwriters: story by Hal Kanter/story by Vera Caspary/Valentine Davies; cinematographer: Joseph Ruttenberg; editor: Richard W. Farrell; music: Henry Mancini; cast: Bob Hope (Adam J. Niles), Lana Turner (Rosemary Howard), Janis Paige (Dolores Jynson), Jim Hutton (Larry Delavane), Paula Prentiss (Linda Delavane), Don Porter (Thomas W. Jynson), Virginia Grey (Camille Quinlaw), Agnes Moorehead (Camille Quinlaw), John McGiver (Austin Palfrey); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ted Richmond; MGM; 1961)

“The mild comedy is predictable and trite, in other words it’s a typical Bob Hope vehicle.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Jack Arnold (“The Lady Takes a Flyer”/”A Global Affair”) directs this banal sex comedy starring Bob Hope. The story tells of a notoriously famous author played by Hope going undercover as the only bachelor in an upscale community of married couples, doing research for a sex book. It catches Hope in his downward cinematic spiral after his “Road” comedies. The mild comedy is predictable and trite, in other words it’s a typical Bob Hope vehicle. It’s taken from a story by Vera Caspary and is written by Hal Kanter (Hope’s regular writer) and Valentine Davies.

Adam J. Niles (Bob Hope) learns while in Europe that the Internal Revenue Service has caught up with him for not filing tax returns for the last 14 years. The blame goes to Adam’s crooked business manager, who was given power of attorney while he was overseas doing sex research for his popular racy books. The government makes a deal with him to get back payment, which means he can’t leave the country. Through his lawyer friend Austin Palfrey (John McGiver) he goes under the new name of Jack Adams and moves into a new suburban San Fernando Valley planned community called Paradise Village, where he secretly conducts research on how American women live in this cross-section American community that is made up entirely of young married couples.

The community’s drop-dead pretty secretary Rosemary Howard (Lana Turner), the only single gal in the complex, is suspicious of why Adams is there and has to fend off his advances. When Adams organizes talks among the women on how to bring romance back into their lives and flirts with them when taking them on strolls, he runs into trouble with the jealous husbands who want him evicted. Rosemary comes to his rescue and will quit her job rather than evict him. This leads to her becoming his secretary. When his tax problems are cleared up, his true identity becomes known and this leads to plot contrivances involving his stay in Paradise Village as his name comes up in divorce hearings as a libertine and seducer. It becomes clear there was no hanky-panky between him and the gals, only some misunderstandings. While on the stand he tells Rosemary that he’s fallen in love with her, and Rosemary comes to his defense as an honorable person and accepts his marriage proposal.

All the humorous bedroom romantic situations dug up for Old Ski Nose seemed ill-considered. But I imagine if you’re a Bob Hope aficionado, you should be pleased his noted flippant delivery style is still intact and there are many of his staple one-liners to fall back on. For others, this uninspired Kinsey report of a tale might seem too superficial to care about it one way or the other.