Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '65 - Hal Horn ""

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Underrated '65 - Hal Horn

Hal Horn is the man, plain and simple. I love his blog, The Horn Section ( and give it my highest personal recommendation, so get yoruself on over there!
Also, check out Hal's Underrated '85 list right here:
also - his Underrated '75:
I limited my list to films that haven't been mentioned yet, but deserve a little love here:

BOEING BOEING (1965; John Rich)
Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis teamed for the first and only time.  This childhood fave doesn’t look quite as good to me today as it did then--a bedroom farce that suffered from being released a few years before the Production Code’s demise.  Curtis is an American journalist working in Paris who has three different fiancees--all flight attendants with different international airlines whose respective schedules allow Tony to keep them separated at all times.  With a little help from harried housekeeper Thelma Ritter, who resigns roughly every ten minutes.  Curtis’ charmed existence is turned upside down by two arrivals--faster airplanes (resulting in pending schedule changes) and Lewis, who insists on staying with his “old friend” a few days.  Lots of door slamming and well timed comic denials follow.  Very much a product of its time, but it has been successfully remade and restaged multiple times in the half century since.  If this film isn’t as racy as it should be, Lewis and Curtis keep it agreeably funny.  A Christmas release in ‘65, this ended up being Lewis’ Paramount swan song, ending a sixteen year association.

BILLIE (1965; Don Weiss)
The first theatrical starring vehicle for Oscar winner (THE MIRACLE WORKER) Patty Duke, who was at the height of her popularity from her eponymous TV sitcom in 1965.  Duke is the tomboyish titular character, with a bobbed haircut and a talent for track.  How much talent?  Enough for this 15 year old girl to make the boys’ track team, something scandalous in this town of busybodies.   Complicating matters, Duke’s father (Jim Backus) is running for mayor, and her sister Susan Seaforth is secretly married--and pregnant.  Great cast of very familiar TV faces from the period, including Dick Sargent, Ted Bessell, Charles Lane, Billy De Wolfe and Richard Deacon (as the school’s principal,  of course).  Duke also sings “Funny Little Butterflies”, which charted in September 1965.  Directed by TV vet Don Weis.  Fun.

MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS (1965; Jack Donohue)
Some have called this the worst Rat Pack movie, and it was the last screen teaming of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra until 1984’s CANNONBALL RUN II.  But while it is no classic, it doesn’t deserve the hate either.   Sinatra is a conservative advertising executive(!) who is neglecting wife Deborah Kerr.   Dino is his second in command at the agency and a swinging bachelor.  Frank and Dino are envious of each other’s lives.   In an effort to rekindle his marriage, Sinatra takes Kerr to Mexico for a second honeymoon, and after a series of misunderstandings Kerr ends up divorced from Frank and married to Dino.   With Nancy Sinatra (in a role originally intended for Frank’s then-squeeze Mia Farrow), John McGiver, Cesar Romero and Joi Lansing (who--let’s face it--could make any film worth a look all by herself).  Directed by Frank and Dino crony Jack Donohue.

WILD ON THE BEACH (1965; Maury Dexter)
Ok, this is not on my list because it is a good film; quite honestly, it’s my pick for the worst “Beach” party film ever made, since it takes place on the beach for all of about 11 seconds and doesn‘t live up to the first word of the title either.  But WILD ON THE BEACH isn’t without points of interest, and no one has mentioned it yet during Underrated ‘65.   A battle of the sexes over access to a beach house, with Sherry Jackson (one of those points of interest) leading the ladies and Frankie Randall repping for the males.   Supercheap Maury Dexter project is mainly watchable for the songs, but it does feature the screen debut of future Oscar winner Cher, singing “It’s Gonna Rain” with then-husband Sonny Bono.  The bulk of the music is from the Astronauts (Dexter’s SURF PARTY, which was better), but the biggest surprise is Russ Bender (THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN) who sings “Yellow Haired Woman” as he plays the hip oldster trying to woo the young ladies with promises of recording stardom.  

No comments: