After being in Hollywood for a month with lots of compliments but no offers, girl next door Libby Caruso decides to give up on having a singing career and focus on what she believes is her ... See full summary »
With her infant daughter Margaret Rose in tow, Georgette Thomas pulls up stakes from Tyler, Texas to head to Columbus, Texas to be reunited with her husband, Henry Thomas, who has just been... See full summary »
Bonnie, Toni, Michele and Liz are on the Riviera to visit their respective husbands and boyfriends in the U.S. Navy. Bonnie tries to resume her canceled honeymoon, Liz wishes her ... See full summary »
Danny Churchill is a young heir who tries to help Ginger, an attractive postal worker in rural Nevada, save her father's ranch from closing due to being heavily in debt with some Reno ... See full summary »
Carol feels, for whatever reason, that her husband, John, has grown indifferent to her, and is on a quest to find out why, suspecting another woman. She sees the family physician, Dr. Swope... See full summary »
The crew aboard the USS Elmira are working on a project, code named Operation Honeymoon. At the operation's core is the testing of the Magnetic Analyzer Computing Synchrotron, or MACS for short, which is a smart computer designed to do among other things determine where missiles are going to land. Civilian Jason Eldridge is the scientific mastermind aboard in charge of MACS' operation. His friend aboard, Lieutenant Ferguson Howard, sees other possible uses for MACS. He wants to know if MACS, if given the proper data, can accurately predict games of chance, such as those found in casinos. After discussing the situation, Fergie and Jason decide the game which MACS can predict the most accurately is roulette. They decide to test MACS' abilities, and possibly get rich, at their next port of call where there is a casino, namely Venice. They plan on using a system of Morse Code light signals from the ship to shore to transmit the information. Although they go ahead with their plan, they are...Written by
Lorenzo Semple's more deftly titled comedy, THE GOLDEN FLEECING, was missing something on Broadway. Even with master comedy director Abe Burrows at the helm and TV "name" Tom Poston in the lead (am I the only one who finds him dull?), it couldn't manage a better booking than the intimate Henry Miller's Theatre nor a run of more than 84 performances (Oct. 15 - Dec. 26, 1959) - ultimately bumped for the hit run of a serious Civil War drama, THE ANDERSONVILLE TRIAL which started 4 days later.
The Broadway run DID get a movie sale for Semple however, and hallelujah! Hollywood knew just how to handle the property. They polished the script, filled the roles with top drawer dramatic and farce players, changed the title to something sort of stupid, but which innocently implied sex (THE HONEYMOON MACHINE) and gave it a "Grade A" CinemaScope production.
Great farces MUST be played absolutely straight or they fall flat, and Dean Jagger's Admiral Fitch is a perfect example: he wraps up all the loose ends in a deadpan final confrontation even funnier than the "Hello, Daddy" court room scene in Streisand's hilarious WHAT'S UP DOC. The perfectly executed physical comedy of Jack Weston's drunken ballet on a hotel ledge is still funny (if possibly non-PC with the passing years), but probably the least funny part of this carefully scripted comedy caper film.
Steve McQueen, exuding more sex appeal than is normally on display in this sort of boulevard comedy, is a triumph his only unalloyed comedy role, showing a masterful gift for comic timing and farce delivery that makes it tragic he didn't find the genre to his taste despite the good notices he deserved and got. He's matched every step of the way by his fellow conspirators - especially Jim Hutton as the computer genius in a scam to use a Navy computer (the "machine" of the title) to perfect a "system" to break the bank at the Venice casino.
Naturally, romance (Paula Prentiss is a standout as a diplomat's straying fiancé - blind without her glasses) and other complications (like Cold War paranoia) ensue, and the result is one of those irresistible feel-good films which only gets better with repeated viewing.
There are those who just don't get the "well made" comedy, and since Hollywood rarely makes them anymore (they were a staple in the 1960's), we're not educating the palate for them these days. That's a pity, but for those who still DO enjoy them, this is one of the best. Take a 90 minute vacation on the Mediterranian!
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