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An outlandish science-fiction, comedy-thriller full of tongue-and-cheek action, ingenious gadgets in the James Bond style combining violence and tension with polished villainy and flippant ... See full summary »
This is the second Columbia service comedy produced by the combined efforts of Richard Quine, Blake Edwards and Mickey Rooney. In their first service comedy, "Sound Off", Rooney is his familiar cocky self, but is somewhat restrained. This time around, Rooney is made the patsy, having Dick Haymes and Ray McDonald as his con artist buddies. Sailor films featuring three sailors became the rage with the success on "On the Town", both on Broadway and on the screen. But there is no point in having three sailors here. The only difference between the Haymes and McDonald characters is that Haymes is a singer (his dancing is laughable) and McDonald is a dancer (who can carry a melody). Their characters have no depth or likability. Rooney's character is sympathetic and well written, but it's not for Rooney. He's out of his element. Usually, Rooney is the confident con man who has to defeat the obstacles. This would have been better played by Danny Kaye, Red Skelton, Donald O'Connor or even Arnold Stang. As always, Rooney handles the physical comedy beautifully, and he is permitted to overact. Quine's direction of Rooney is an improvement over "Sound Off". The writing by Qunie and Edwards is also an improvement, with broader situations. Fred Karger's songs are pleasant and an improvement over the songs in "Sound Off". However, the script and the direction kill off a great pay-off gag to end the film. I saw it coming, Quine hints at it, but then softens the finish. Had they continued to work together, the Quine-Edwards-Rooney team might have come up with some comic winners. They all have the skills and their two films have much potential. The first film misses the mark, but this one has much more going for it, with the exception of Rooney's characterization.
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