THE MATING GAME
(director: George Marshall; screenwriters: William Roberts/from the novel The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates; cinematographer: Robert Bronner; editor: John McSweeney Jr. ; music: Jeff Alexander; cast: Debbie Reynolds (Mariette Larkin), Tony Randall (Lorenzo Charlton), Paul Douglas (Sidney ‘Pop’ Larkin), Fred Clark (Oliver Kelsey), Una Merkel (Ma Larkin), Philip Ober (Wendell Burnshaw), Charles Lane (Bigelow); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Philip Barry Jr.; Warner Home Video (MGM); 1959)
“Dated bucolic romantic comedy, with a few funny moments.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Dated bucolic romantic comedy, with a few funny moments. Director George Marshall (“Fancy Pants”/”Duel in the Jungle”) can’t help stepping on all the corny hayseed jokes, which were hardly funny. Every joke seems forced. It’s based on the novel The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates, and is written by William Roberts. The novel about the English countryside is relocated to the Maryland countryside.Mariette Larkin (Debbie Renolds) is the feisty daughter of a canny small-time Baltimore farmer Pop Larkin (Paul Douglas, died shortly after making the film) and Ma Larkin ( Una Merkel). He borrows for mating without permission the prize pig of his snooty neighbor Wendell Burnshaw (Philip Ober). The incensed neighbor as revenge rats him out to the IRS. The field boss, Oliver Kelsey (Fred Clark), assigns his most efficient IRS agent to the case, Lorenzo Charlton (Tony Randall), who goes to the Larkin farm to investigate when he discovers he never filed a tax return. Lorenzo meets the eccentric family, who never filed a return because they only trade and never bought or sold anything. The farmer gets the uptight agent drunk on home grown cider and he suddenly loosens up and gets involved with the family and romances Marietta.
REVIEWED ON 9/15/2016 GRADE: C