Tag Archives: Thelma Ritter

Boeing, Boeing (1965)

boeing boeing

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: Fooling around with stewardesses.

Bernard (Tony Curtis) thinks he’s come up with the perfect plan where as a confirmed bachelor he can enjoy the ‘benefits’ of a relationship without ever having to take the ultimate plunge. Using the timetables of all the airlines he has devised a way where he can date three different stewardesses (Dany Saval, Christiane Schmidtmer, Suzanna Leigh) simultaneously without any of them knowing of the other ones. When one of them is on layover from their flights they come over to his pad for romance and passion and then promptly leave for their jobs only to have another one arrive from another layover. It works for a while before the expected complications ensue. Things get even worse when Bernard’s out-of-town friend Robert (Jerry Lewis) arrives and wants to get in on the action while Bertha (Thelma Ritter) Bernard’s long suffering maid feels that she’s had enough and wants to quit.

The flimsy premise kills itself from the beginning by having a main character that is unlikable. I’m as open-minded as the next person, but if one wants to enjoy the swinger’s lifestyle then they must be open and honest with their partner(s) for it to work. This guy lies to them at every turn, manipulates with their emotions and views them solely as sexual playthings for his own pleasure, which is about as callous and self-centered as they come. His scheme is full of potential holes and any halfway intelligent person would’ve known it wouldn’t work and avoided even attempting it from the start.

The women are portrayed as being painfully naïve and stupid and falling for every pathetic lie and story that the men tell them. I was hoping at some point they would wise up and turn-the-tables, which would’ve been really funny, but that never happens. Instead the viewer gets treated to one ‘madcap’ scheme after another as they try desperately to keep their ridiculous ploy going, which becomes tiring and annoyingly redundant.

The three actresses at least have some acting ability and aren’t just the usual wide-eyed models mouthing their lines, which helps a little. Ritter certainly makes for a good anchor, but even she becomes stifled by the story’s derivative theme. Lewis surprisingly is the best thing about the film and this is mainly due to the fact that he is much more restrained and not allowed to fall into his over-the-top shtick.

Based on the stage play by Marc Camoletti this thing might’ve at one time been considered a fresh and funny bedroom farce, but by today’s standards it is tame and dated and not good for even a few chuckles.

boeing boeing 2

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: December 22, 1965

Runtime: 1Hour 42Minutes

Not Rated

Director: John Rich

Studio: Paramount

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

For Love or Money (1963)

for love or money

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: A lawyer becomes matchmaker.

Deke Gentry (Kirk Douglas) is a lawyer appointed trustee of Chloe Brasher’s (Thelma Ritter) estate and is shocked to learn the terms of her will state that any of her three daughters will be cut off from their inheritance if they marry a man that she does not approve of. After debating with her about this Deke agrees to try to match up the girls with men that Chloe has already picked for them, but finds it to be much more difficult than he expected.

This was an odd career move for Douglas who is best known for his westerns, dramas and adventure roles. In some ways seeing him do light comedy is a nice change-of-pace, but the plot is too banal and the character is dull and gets overshadowed by the supporting cast of old comic pros. His best moment is when he hoists actor Gig Young over his shoulder and carries him from the hospital to his apartment and even gives him a spanking along the way.

The three actresses who play the daughters (Julie Newmar, Leslie Parrish, Mitzi Gaynor) are all quite attractive, but in the case of Newmar and Parrish aren’t given enough screen time. Gaynor is solid in the lead in what is to date her last film appearance. I am also happy to note that all three actresses as well as Elizabeth MacRae who play’s Deke’s girlfriend are still alive and well as of this writing.

Young is a very talented character actor who manages to come into his own during the second hour. Having him end up getting stuck out at sea while clinging in the nude to a pole sticking up out of the water is funny, but the scene where he starts throwing some vintage bottles of champagne overboard had me cringing.

The story is too lightweight for a feature film and although it starts out okay ends up becoming quite stretched and tedious during the second half. The scenarios are more silly and inane than actually funny and the only time it is ever amusing is when Ritter and William Bendix are in front of the camera and otherwise it falls flat. The contrived ‘happy ending’ merely emphasizes how predictable and formulaic the whole thing is.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: August 7, 1963

Runtime: 1Hour 48Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Michael Gordon

Studio: Universal

Available: DVD (Universal Vault Series)