Laurel Srevens (Jane Russell), a movie star is kidnapped by a pair of amateurs, Mike Valla (Ralph Meeker) and "Dandy" (Keenan Wynn). But their hearts aren't really into their work and they decide to let her go. Laurel, worried abut the effect a phoney kidnapping will have on her career, tells them they've got to go through with it for real. She points out that in the past, she's been a party to number of outrageous publicity stunts and, because they abducted her on the eve of the release of her new film, "The Kidnapped Bride," she tells them her career will collapse unless they make the kidnapping look like it was on the level. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
The general consensus seems to be that the movie is watchable, but not wonderful. I would have to agree.
It plays like an extended episode of a smart 1950's sit-com, something like "Love that Bob" (Robert Cummings).
Jane Russell is fine as a tough but vulnerable sexy Hollywood star (is there any other kind?). It is terribly sad that at age 36, this was her last real starring vehicle.
She's surrounded by a lot of fine actors, including Adolf Menjou, Ralph Meeker, Keenan Wynne, Una Merkel, and Fred Clarke. Unfortunately, they all just walk through their roles without much enthusiasm. It seems just another day at the office for all of them. Menjou and Meeker starred in Stanley Kubrick's "Paths of Glory" that same year, both giving extraordinary performances.
Norman Taurog started off directing silent films, made some excellent movies in the 1930's ("Boys Town", "Big Broadcast of 1936"), did good work with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in the 1950's, and ended his career in the 1960's by directing nine (good to mediocre) Elvis Presley movies. He knows how to keep things moving and get some laughs, but he doesn't involve the audience enough in his stories or characters to make himself a great director.
One problem in script is that the good guys are lovable kidnappers. It is hard to accept Meeker or Wynn as lovable kidnappers, lovable, yes, but kidnappers, no. The script intimates that Meeker has turned kidnapper to get revenge for an unjust manslaughter conviction for which he spent four years in jail. Yet, this seems just a plot device as Meeker does not seem vengeful, but only taciturn over his four lost years.
In one scene Russell mention the fact that Meeker smokes a pipe instead of a cigar and attributes it to him not knowing his part (a kidnapper) very well). It is really the script that doesn't know how to bring the romance in, after the kidnapping. It really is a problem that the acting and direction doesn't solve. Giving Meeker's character a real and specific need for the kidnapping - raising money to save his dying child, for example - could have explained the action better.
The movie could also have been better if Jane had acted more sexy in more scenes. She does in a few scenes in the first half only and they are the funniest in the movie.
There's a lot of talk in the opening scenes about the cutting of a bathtub scene in the movie that Laurel Stevens (Jane Russell) is starring in. She demands that the censored too sexy scene be put back in or she's quitting. "The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown" needed that bathtub scene. If I ever get a chance to remake this movie, I will put it in.
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