(director: Vincente Minnelli; screenwriters: George Axelrod, Harry Kurnitz; cinematographer: Milton Krasner; editor: John W. Holmes; music: André Previn; cast: Harry Madden (Charlie Sorel, a male), Debbie Reynolds (Charlie, a female), Tony Curtis (George Tracy), Pat Boone (Bruce Minton), Walther Matthau (Sir Leopold Sartori ), Joanna Barnes (Janie), Laura Devon (Rusty Sartori), Roger C. Carmel (Inspector), Martin Gabel (Morton Craft), Ellen Burstyn (Franny); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: David Weisbart; Fox; 1964)
“Nonsensical sci-fi comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Screenwriter Charlie Sorel (Harry Madden) is at a yacht party given by Hungarian film producer Sir Leopold Sartori (Walther Matthau). When the producer finds Charlie fooling around with his wife he shoots him and Charlie goes overboard. The body is never recovered. George Tracy (Tony Curtis) is Charlie’s best friend and also a screenwriter, who is executor of his will. When at Charlie’s seaside house, a pretty blonde appears and claims to be a reincarnated Charlie (Debbie Reynolds). It seems Charlie is now physically like a woman but has a man’s mind.
Charlie flirts with millionaire Brice Minton (Pat Boone), who has mother issues. Charlie also tries blackmailing the married women the former Charlie had affairs with. The irony is when Sartori is attracted to Charlie and his wife finds him embracing her on their yacht, she shoots Charlie and the corpse falls into the water.
When an attractive blonde walking a large dog catches George’s eye, he’s attracted to her. But this time Charlie’s reincarnated for the third time as the dog.
Vincente Minnelli (“The Sandpiper”/”Bells Are Ringing”/”Some Came Running”) goofs around stylishly directing this nonsensical sci-fi comedy but without much invention. He gets away with the absurd premise (at least to those not cringing in horror) because the talented cast pulls it off. It’s written by George Axelrod and Harry Kurnitz.
Minnelli wanted Marilyn Monroe for the Debbi Reynolds part, and you can imagine how much better the film would have been.
REVIEWED ON 2/1/2016 GRADE: B-