The other reviewers here condescend to this film, making a great deal out of the changes that Paramount made in the original play. Yes, the changes are a shame, but eventually all the textual quibbling is beside the point.
The main thing is that this movie has something the 1974 all-star revival doesn't have - laughs. Contemporary actors can bring all sorts of wonderful professionalism to a script like this, but they can't deliver the lines, not a one of them. The tone is never right.
In revivals of comedy of the 20s and 3os, today's actors always appear like tourists from another planet. Either the characters are made too real, in which case they're sunk by acting out of Freud and the Method, or they're brittle caricatures seen from outside and above, in which case we don't care about the characters and the dialog just lays there. Jack Oakie miscast can do something no living performer can, and that's make this kind of writing live.
Wynne Gibson, whom you probably don't know, can ignite these wisecracks and convulse an audience. Estelle Parsons, whom you should know as an awesome actress with a phenomenal resume, in 1974 couldn't make anything more than a damp fizzle with the same lines, and it may have more to do with cultural changes over time than any personal fault.
Harry Akst, composer of "Baby Face," "Dinah," and "Am I Blue?" puts in a phenomenal appearance as Max, doing Oscar Levant's shtick a dozen years before Oscar Levant did, and with infinitely more grace and charm.
There are finer film comedies out there, and more respectful screen adaptations of Broadway shows, but every single person in this film is funnier than his or her counterpart in the 1974 revival, and in this material, that's crucial.
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