(director: Arthur Hiller; screenwriter: William Peter Blatty; cinematographer: Douglas Slocombe; editor: John Shirley; music: Lyn Murray; cast: Leslie Caron (Michele O’Brien), Warren Beatty (Harley Rummell), Robert Cummings (Dr. Phillip Brock), Keenan Wynn (Angelo Carelli), Lionel Stander (Sam), Hermione Gingold (Mrs. Luce), Michael Bradley (John Thomas), Mavis Villiers (Brock’s Mother); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stanly Rubin; Warner Bros.; 1966-UK)

“Directed in an uninspiring way by Arthur Hiller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Failed rom/com, that is dull, unbearable, lamely scripted and directed in an uninspiring way by Arthur Hiller (“Author! Author!”/”Love Story”/”Plaza Suite”). The script byWilliam Peter Blatty is ridiculous when it tries being charmingly bohemian, as it merely shows how square it is. It banks on getting its laughs from a precocious baby, and a sitcom setup of seeking a partner by holding back info. Though set in Greenwich Village, it’s filmed in London.

The French woman formerly married to an American, the widow Michele O’Brien (Leslie Caron),moves in with her playful toddler John Thomas (Michael Bradley) to a Greenwich Village tenementand has her neighbor mail-order adult movie maker Harley Rummell (Warren Beatty), a wannabe art house film director, baby sitwhile she works at her job in a clinic as secretary for momma’s boy psychologist, Dr. Phillip Brock (Robert Cummings). He’s a leading authority on child behavior and considered the country’s sixth most eligible bachelor, who lives comfortably with his acerbic mom (Mavis Villiers) in their luxury Manhattan apartment.

Michele confesses to Harley that she took the job to snag Phil as a husband and father for the toddler, and that she’ll marry him even if she doesn’t love him and even if she knows he doesn’t like children. Meanwhile Harley schemes to snag Michele for a girlfriend, and pretends baby John Thomas is his kid to help Michele from letting Phil find out it’s her kid. I bet you can guess who wins her heart in the end.

Support players include Keenan Wynn as a local pet store owner backing the young filmmaker in the hopes of striking it rich, Hermione Gingold as the eccentric landlady and Lionel Stander as the fun loving construction worker putting up a sign on the roof while peeping into the sexy movie making in Beatty’s pad. The supporting cast tries, but their dialogue is pitiful.

It’s all meant as trite harmless fun, and to give real-life lovers Beatty and Caron a chance to act together.

Promise Her Anything (1966)