Page 6, 25th November 1966

25th November 1966
Page 6
Page 6, 25th November 1966 — FILMS
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FILMS

One of the saddest things about this pale picture is the talent it brings down with it. Oskar Werner, the marvellous German actor who did so beautifully for Truffaut in "Jules et Jim" struggles in vain to give life or meaning to the fireman hero, Montag.

Characterisation is so blurred that poor Julie Christie is hard put to it to make immediately clear when she is playing Montag's wife, Linda, and then the more sympathetic schoolmistress, Clarisse.

In the general haze. even that splendid actor Cyril Cusack cannot give the megalomaniac fire-chief more than perfunctory pantomime impact,

Jerry Lewis, comedian. was always an acquired taste. Jerry Lewis, star-director of Three on a Couch ("U". Columbia) does his energetic best to see that we acquire it.

The story is efficiently designed to make the best of both his worlds: to show that he can play a normal fight comedy hero, and to give him scope for some of his old frenziedly funny caricatures.

The couch is a professional one. the psychiatrist (Janet Leigh, growing a better actress every year) is Jerry's fiancee. They cannot get married and go to Paris because her three pretty patients are still looking for their dream heroes.

What better opportunity for Jerry to oblige with hectically funny impersonations of a rudimentary Western menace, a sportsman and a wan zoologist.

* * *

Norman Panama and Melvin Frank are a useful writer director--and sometimes producer—comedy team. They have never to my taste im proved on their old success, "Mr. Blandings Builds a Dream House", but they turn in quite a useful kind of star-vehicle of the Brackett and Wilder school. Tony Curtis did some of his best work in Wilder's impudent. ribald farce. "Some Like It Hot" (with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe).

in Norman Panama's Not With My Wife You Don't ("A", Columbia) his co-stars are that excellent American actor, George F. Scott, and Italian Virna Lisi (looking in each picture more like a Hollywood blonde). Curtis and Scott play fellow-flyers, old rivals in love; Virna Lisi is Curtis's wife.

The morals are of the "All's Well that Ends Well" school, and the wife makes no secret of her liking for two of everything. The film doesn't seem able to finish, so goes on far too long. But most of the time it is funny. thanks to Scott and Curtis who are uninhibitedly brilliant in their different styles.

Freda Bruce Lockhart




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