(director: Joseph Pevney; screenwriters: Lenore J. Coffee/Marion Hargrove/from the novel by Cameron Hawley; cinematographer: George J. Folsey; editor: Philip W. Anderson; music: Max Steiner; cast: James Garner (Cash McCall), Natalie Wood (Lory Austen), Nina Foch (Maude Kennard), Dean Jagger (Grant Austen), E.G. Marshall (Winston Conway), Henry Jones (Gil Clark), Otto Kruger (Will Atherson), Roland Winters (General Andrew Danvers), Linda Watkins (Miriam Austen), Edgar Stehli, (Hotel Manager), Edward C. Platt (Harrison Glenn); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Henry Blanke; Warner Brothers; 1960)

Glossy soap opera about rocky dealings in romance and business.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Joseph Pevney (“Torpedo Run”/”Istanbul”/”The Plunderers)efficiently directs this sometimes amusing glossy soap opera about rocky dealings in romance and business. The plot involves the twists and turns of high-finance finagling in the world of business, with the attractive Lory Austen (Natalie Wood) thrown into the mix as the valuable romantic chip to broker a deal between her CEO dad Grant Austen (Dean Jagger) and cutthroat wheeling-and-dealing stock takeover financial genius Cash McCall (James Garner).

To say it’s superficial, is to give it only a generous rebuke. It never amounts to more than a pointless moralistic story about misplaced business ethics and concludes with an undeserved happy ending. Star James Garner was TV’s Maverick at the time, a smash hit, and delivers the goods required as a slick wealthy businessman and swinging bachelor (operates his own plane and has beautiful homes in various spots), who is overcome by romance to change his ruthless capitalistic tactics.But Garner’s charming performance is not enough to help this slight film close the deal. WritersLenore J. Coffee and Marion Hargrove base their limited screenplay on the novel by Cameron Hawley.

Self-made successful businessman Grant Austen, the head of Austen Plastics, a small plastic firm located outside of Philadelphia, is forced to sell his business because of pressure from retired General Andrew Danvers (Roland Winters), the CEO of Scofield Industries, the company that provides sixty percent of Austen’s orders and is therefore a firm Grant relies on to stay in business. The weary Grant is only too glad to unload his company to Cash McCall for $ 2 million, even though he has a bad reputation for being a pirate. Cash overpays to win back Austen’s illustrator daughter Lory, someone he met over the summer in Maine and over a misunderstanding they never saw each other again since the summer.

E.G. Marshall is fine as Cash’s cagey lawyer; Nina Foch is ridiculous as the scheming hotel assistant manager, where Cash resides, who is the rejected wannabe romantic interest of Cash; and Henry Jones is adequate as the honest management consultant, who is promoted to company president by Cash.

The absurd plot line comes down to a single deal and its ramifications among the many business executives and what it means to the relationship between Cash and Lory. To me it didn’t mean much, as I found it dull as entertainment and the overwrought emotions of the storyline never hit home as something I could identify with or take seriously.