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Captain Vinka Kovelenko defects from Russia, but not for political reasons. She defects because she feels discriminated against as a woman. Captain Chuck Lockwood gets the order to show her the bright side of capitalism, while she tries to convince him of the superority of communism. Naturaly, they fall in love, but there's still the KGB, which doesn't like the idea of having a defected Russian officer running around in London. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
The viewing of "Iron Petticoat" : 5 years in the quest.
(5/17/2006) 5 days ago would have been Katharine Hepburn's 99th birthday. 5 years ago on her birthday,I found out how old she was and realized I had seen less than 10 of her films. So,I set out to actually see every Hepburn film she ever made,including TV movies.
Iron Petticoat turned out to be the most difficult one to get. As others have stated,it's very obscure,only on DVD in other countries/regions. It may have never even been on TV here as far as any of us know.
Well,on April 25th I waged a bidding war on Ebay to acquire an American VHS copy of this. I was nearly out-bidded but won in the end. (I wont say how much I paid!) Anyhow,it arrived today and I took it straight from my mailbox to the VCR.
Here's a fresh opinion:I'd say first off,that the opening music in the credits is annoying,so turn down your TV at this point.
The film itself overall? It's just so-so and very standard fare as far as a Hollywood "male meets female" film goes. In fact it "goes" just a little too fast for the two leads falling for each other. Hope's character Chuck Lockwood is supposed to have a steady girlfriend in London named Connie but doesn't seem too devastated at losing her for Hepburn.
The funniest exchange between Chuck and Vinka:
Vinka:What's the fastest you've ever flown?
Chuck: 500 miles an hour!
Vinka: I have flown 750!
Chuck: With or without a plane?! Quite funny.
When Hepburn appears on screen at first,she comes off a little stoic (unless she's just trying to be so to the American officers in her wake).
She really seems to be a Russian/Communist stereotype but as the film goes along her character at least becomes a lot more fun to watch.
Especially when she goes with Chuck to The Russian Bear Room restaurant and tries to do a fast Russian dance to a slow song! There's also when she buys black leingerie and the clerk shows her a 1950s version of a push up bra,which he inflates by blowing it up.
She asks,"It is for swimming?" That was actually funny but a lot of her lines aren't. It's her "actions" in the playing of her character that are the funniest.
It's too bad her lines weren't better because,in her films with Spencer Tracy she has great comic flair and great sarcasm. Bob Hope seems to get what few laughs there are to be had but also he misses chances at finding more. A Russian man starts a fight to detain Hope while his comrades attempt to kidnap Vinka.
He calls Chuck/Hope a "Dog nose" and Hope snarls,"Oh got a little (Bing)Crosby blood in ya huh?" Very funny line.
When he's later captured by the Russians he talks the two men guarding him into joining up on the American side in the army. This could have been very funny too. Hope swears them into the military with a phony oath,ending in (paraphrase) "I now pronounce you American soldiers". I was "so" waiting for him to say,"You may kiss the guard" or something!
Near the end,Vinka is going to be flown back to Russia to be executed and the pilot has to get off the plane for engineering trouble,he asks Hope where he can find the office. "Go that way to the Main Entrance (of the) Navigators office (again paraphrase) and it's abbreviated on the door M.E.N." In other words the pilot's been sent to the bathroom. Most of Hope's one-liners are flat though and I either rolled my eyes or smirked at some of them.
The rest of the supporting cast really are just walking through this,they're credible enough but not to where they boost the pace or tone of the film. The Russian accents don't help either (made me wish it had come with closed captioning) but at least the actors playing Russians are a little more animated than those playing Americans.
As with most of Hope's comedies,it all works out in the end (wont say how) but that seems somewhat contrived as well. As for Hepburn,she really is the brightest spot in the film with Hope in second place. Despite all these things against it,it is watchable and somewhat humorous but it's no,"They Got Me Covered" or "Adam's Rib" caliber of comedy.
Footnote:In the attempted kidnapping scene,Chuck's now ex-girlfriend gets taken out the window of the ladies lounge mistakenly by the Soviets. It "seems" we don't find out what's happened to her and this might be a continuance goof,but the head Soviet on the phone in a later scene reveals that he's apologizing for the internatonal incident. I almost didn't catch that!
This film was in production 50 years ago this year and hit theatres in Jan. of 1957 by the way.
Anyway,happy belated birthday Miss Hepburn,my 8 star rating is strictly for your performance, and ....you are missed very much on the big screen. (END)
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