6.2/10
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20 user 5 critic

The Honeymoon Machine (1961)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 16 August 1961 (USA)
A navy lieutenant and his civilian friend use a classified computer to help them break the bank at a Venetian casino.

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writers:

Lorenzo Semple Jr. (play), George Wells
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Steve McQueen ... Lt. Ferguson 'Fergie' Howard
Brigid Bazlen ... Julie Fitch
Jim Hutton ... Jason Eldridge
Paula Prentiss ... Pam Dunstan
Dean Jagger ... Admiral Fitch
Jack Weston ... Signalman Burford Taylor
Jack Mullaney ... Lt. Beauregard 'Beau' Gilliam
Marcel Hillaire ... Inspector of Casino Games
Ben Astar ... Russian Consul
William Lanteau William Lanteau ... Tommy Dane
Ken Lynch ... Capt. James Angle
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Capt. Harvey Adam
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fits either sex ...... and makes nothing but LAUGHTER!

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

16 August 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Heiratsmaschine See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was a mild success at the box office, earning MGM a profit of $122,000 ($1M in 2018) according to studio records. See more »

Goofs

When Beau Gilliam comes crashing through the door with the glass ornaments the first time, Fergie and Julie react to the noise slightly before it's heard. See more »

Quotes

Julie Fitch: The truth of it is Mr Howard, and this may hurt - you are a nice fellow.
Lt. Fergie Howard: I deny that.
See more »

Connections

References Destry Rides Again (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is Crazy
Music by Leigh Harline
Lyrics by Jack Brooks
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Utterly delightful boulevard comedy!
31 May 2005 | by escheticSee all my reviews

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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