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FUZZY PINK NIGHTGOWN, THE(director: Norman Taurog; screenwriters: from the novel by Sylvia Tate/Richard Alan Simmons; cinematographer: Joseph LaShelle; editor: Archie Marshek; music: Billy May; cast: Jane Russell (Laurel Stevens), Keenan Wynn (Dandy), Ralph Meeker (Mike Valla), Adolphe Menjou (Arthur Martin), Fred Clarke (Sergeant McBride), Una Merkel (Bertha), Robert Harris (Barney Baylies), Benay Venuta (Daisy Parker); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Waterfield; United Artists; 1957)
“More ghastly than funny.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Norman Taurog (“Spinout”/”Living It Up”/”Sergeant Deadhead”) helms this showbiz comedy that is more ghastly than funny. It’s based on the novel by Sylvia Tate and lamely written by Richard Alan Simmons. The lesson here is that a flimsy nightgown makes for a flimsy farce, in this poorly conceived B& W flick. The dialogue is clumsy, the humor is vacant and the plot is unreasonable.

Bleached blonde (sporting a grotesque blonde wig) Hollywood glamor star Laurel Stevens (Jane Russell) is kidnapped on her way to attend the premiere of her new film, The Kidnapped Bride. Laurel’s agent, Barney Baylies (Robert Harris), and Grandeur Studios’ head, Arthur Martin (Adolphe Menjou), try to keep the disappearance from the press, particularly gossip columnist Daisy Parker (Benay Venuta). They ignore the kidnapping as they believe the public will never buy it and think of it only as a bad publicity stunt, which could ruin her career. Meanwhile Laurel finds that the amateur kidnappers, the pipe-smoking Mike Valla (Ralph Meeker) and the airline ticket clerk Dandy (Keenan Wynn), are not violent and she’s attracted to Mike. The boys aim to to get the studio head to pay a ransom for Laurel’s release.

After much pointless dialogue about movies being a slice of life, the film winds down with an incredibly bogus happy ending for its cheap romantic tale. It seemed excruciatingly long, as not one line sparked a comic response and the dramatics were tedious. Una Merkel has a part as Laurel’s loyal dresser, and like everyone else is hampered by Simmons’s awkwardly worded script.

The film was a box office flop, and would have been forgotten except for frequent showings on TV.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”