Critics took no interest in Gordon’s first film, about an attorney who takes a brief job as bodyguard to a millionaire with offices around the world, John Guillermin nevertheless borrowed it for P.J.
As has been pointed out, the killer’s motivation is “money and power”, nothing psychological, and a New York police lieutenant with no patience for these shenanigans wraps it up very neatly.
Cyrano de Bergerac
The Great Critic, a man of nose, defender of the faithful.
To rid the stage of an ass got-up costs him “a paternal pension”, and no poetry exists but this to tell of his virtues.
The Perfect Poet, that is to say, everyone and no-one.
Thus the comfortable categories into which the play divides its man amidst his serviceable attributes, swordsman, scholar, soldier...
The gesture is a moment in the translation, panache a plume.
The Garutso balanced lenses on the medieval sets for a pellucid view.
And one speaks of inspiration. “I know I grow absurd.”
“And that distresses me as much as if you had grown ugly.”
Variety, “an outstanding achievement”.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times opined “that there is a great deal of hot air in the play”.
“Hole-in-corner”, Halliwell’s Film Guide calls it, more than concavely.
The director’s genius is in complete command as the lover soars to the beloved’s balcony and is not Cyrano, a crane shot. Ralph Clanton and Morris Carnovsky are damned by Crowther with the faintest of praise, not so much as a puffball.
“Why no,” says Clanton as De Guiche, “what is it?”
To mail a letter in wartime costs a fight to the death.
“I have taken the liberty of—”
Michael Gordon is a great master. No frame is wasted, the settings are neither too much nor too little, the camera is on the actors and nothing else. They are worked to perfection, the budget went by report into numerous takes. Every nuance of eyebrow and posture advances the plot (as Michael Frayn describes Chekhov’s lines).
Nick Adams sets the hallmark on this impeccable style by breezing into a room and doing a magnificent double take at the sight of Doris Day all dolled up. She is the beauty in Jean Louis who catches a husband out of the party line, understood by Rock Hudson to consist of a sender and a receiver, merely.
This is Hudson’s forte. His playing for the camera in a wickedness of leers, winking, grimacing, rolling his eyes, deadpanning, etc., is a thing of precision.
Tony Randall takes the Edward Everett Horton role, and the precise sum of the film’s style is in its résumé and accomplishment of a mode that goes back successfully to Astaire & Rogers and Clarence Badger’s It.
Move Over, Darling
The bride is Bianca, called “Binaca” by the one just returned in this version of Kanin’s My Favorite Wife, she goes with the Spanish maid for whom one has to draw pictures, and the analyst Dr. Schlick who finds the husband “schizoid”, she doesn’t need a man she needs a headshrinker.
Variety missed the point and thought it lacked sophistication, “a light touch,” whereas the Harvard husband had a football scholarship evidently, and “Adam” really is Tarzan.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times lectured the production on comedy “in situations that cry for defter and lighter touches,” he’d had a busy week, what with Mulligan, J. Lee Thompson, Daniel Mann and Aldrich to dispose of in the same column (he liked The Sword in the Stone).
Halliwell’s Film Guide has a laugh, “sheer professionalism gets it by.”
Texas Across the River
It isn’t a state yet, Louisiana is.
A classic Western, down to the stampede and shootout, devised in comic style.
The silent comedy technique retrouvé is as much the theme as the stray longhorns tamed and herded by a piece of Comanche wisdom, Gordon’s studies aren’t done there, and a year after Maurer’s The Outlaws Is Coming this is a fine, able, sincere appreciation of the Three Stooges.
On behalf of “hardened humorists”, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times declared it “a dreary little frolic”. Variety was not deluded, however, and called it “a gag-man’s dream”.