(director: Mervyn LeRoy; screenwriter: from the play by Jean Kerr/Richard L. Breen; cinematographer: Harry Stradling Sr.; editor: David Wages; music: Frank Perkins; cast: Barry Nelson (Bob McKellaway), Debbie Reynolds (Mary), Michael Rennie (Dirk Winston), Diane McBain (Tiffany Richards), Hiram Sherman (Oscar Nelson); Runtime: 126; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mervyn LeRoyWarner Bros; 1963)
“The dreary production never escapes its theatrical roots.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A weak claustrophobic parlor room domestic comedy, that’s inadequately helmed by Mervyn LeRoy (“Moment to Moment”/”Gypsy”) and limply written by Richard L. Breen. It’s based on the successful Broadway play by Jean Kerr, whose stories about drama critics were the subject for the movie Please Don’t Eat The Daisies. The dreary production never escapes its theatrical roots. NYC book publisher Bob McKellaway (Barry Nelson) huddles on a Saturday with his tax attorney Oscar Nelson (Hiram Sherman) to justify his claims to the IRS. Bob is separated for nine months from the feisty hot-head Mary (Debbie Reynolds), and plans to wed Tiffany (Diane McBain) as soon as the divorce is finalized. Under advisement from his tax attorney, Bob invites Mary over to his apartment to see if together than clear up the tax expenses matter. Also arriving at the apartment is aging actor Dirk Winston (Michael Rennie), a wartime pal of Bob’s who requests that he publish his book. During the evening Bob and Tiffany visit her parents in Goshen. When Mary fails to get a hotel room, she decides to stay overnight in Bob’s place. A blizzard forces Bob to return to the city. Bob is surprised to find his ex-wife and old friend in a compromising position upon his return. Bob and Mary spend the night alone in his apartment, but an argument leads to Mary intending to split for New Orleans with Dirk. But seeing Mary again gets Bob to realize he still loves her and he locks her in the closet so she can’t meet Dirk. Thereby Dirk departs without Mary. Tiffany gets wind that she’s been rejected, and the former-couple reunite. The comedy was as trite as it sounds. None of the actors give memorable performances, but the worst acting comes from a miscast Debbie Reynolds who can’t deliver the slyness and depth the role requires.
REVIEWED ON 9/13/2016 GRADE: C+