The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: Doris is a spy.

            This is an energetic and zany Doris Day vehicle featuring her as Jennifer Nelson a tour guide at the NASA Space Center. She meets Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor) who at first she can’t stand, but when she finds out that he is one of the top scientists at the lab and makes a lot of money she immediately becomes infatuated. This certainly does nothing to help fight the gold-digger stigma that some women have, but it was made over forty years ago, so I guess it was more acceptable. Through quirky circumstances she comes under suspicion as being a Russian spy and spends the rest of the time trying to prove otherwise while continuing her romance with Bruce.

Day looks gorgeous and is hammy at just the right level without going overboard and becoming cartoonish. Her best segment is when Taylor imagines here as a Mata Hari spy complete with skimpy outfit, which she looks great in, as well as dreaming that she is blindfolded and speaking in a foreign accent while ready to be shot by a firing squad. She sings the film’s title tune, which is bouncy, and even does, later on, a goofy rendition of her signature song ‘Que Sera Sera’.

Taylor is perfect as the love interest and I think he is the best out of all of Day’s male co-stars. His funniest moment, although brief, is when Day crosses her eyes to be goofy and then keeps them that way, which makes him momentarily panic. I got a kick out of his model of the solar system that he had in his office that displayed the planets in a symbolic fashion after the Greek gods they were named after.

The supporting cast is full of familiar comic pros. Alice Pearce and George Tobias appear as Jennifer’s neighbors and a variation of the Kravitz couple that they played on the ‘Bewitched’ TV-series. Pearce is hilarious and it was a shame that she wasn’t in more scenes and died before the movie’s release. Dom Deluise is amusing as the actual spy, who goes undercover as an electrical repairman. Normally his goofy fat-guy persona becomes tiring, but here it worked especially during the climatic sequence. Paul Lynde, who was always hard to cast and in the process usually got meaningless parts, has one of his best roles as the lab’s security guard and even dresses up in drag at the end. Dick Martin, Edward Andrews, and John McGiver help round out the cast. Arthur Godfrey, as Jennifer’s father, is the only one who is boring, but his part was dull, so it might be hard to completely blame him.

Director Frank Tashlin creates sets with bright, vivid colors and each scene is a Technicolor dream. Being a former cartoonist he creates some nicely played-out comic scenarios including Bruce’s hands-free futuristic kitchen that has a little robot that comes out of the wall and cleans-up any messes that are left behind and ends up attacking Jennifer. The out-of-control boat ride is also amusing, but the best part is the wild, fast-paced ending when Jennifer decides to turn the tables on her accusers.

Sure it is silly, but you know that going in and on a non-think level it is perfect entertainment for all-ages.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: June 9, 1966

Runtime: 1Hour 50Minutes

Rated G

Director: Frank Tashlin

Studio: MGM

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video

6 responses to “The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

  1. One of my favourite films that I thought no-one else had heard of! Doris Day is amazing in this.

  2. I enjoyed Please Don’t Eat the Daisies much more, but this is a fine fun flick.

    • I haven’t seen ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’ since 1984, so I should probably give it another look. It was later made into a TV-series as well. Thanks for your comment.

  3. This is unambiguously the weirdest but most brilliant movie poster I have seen.

  4. Frantic and unfunny. Feels and looks like an over extended sitcom

  5. Starting with that tuneless song this film never becomes more than a forgettable time killer.

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