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Warm, with a witty Cary Grant and stiff Sofia Loren...and a forced plot
It's crazy to write a review of a movie this old, with two legends, as if I have anything new to say. But that's exactly why it's worth my while. I watched it as a "Cary Grant movie" which is a category like a "Greta Garbo movie." And he's good, though there are no real sparks on screen between him and Sofia Loren, a substitute for Grant's wife of the moment, who wrote the original script. I think it ends up just a match of two screen beauties. The 1958 public liked it, at least.
It's weird how old Loren looks hereshe's playing a 22 year old (she's 24 during the shoot), but her whole demeanor and hairstyle scream 30 or 40. Weird, because she's supposed to be a wild kid that her dad can't control. This matters because Grant plays an older manan older father of three whose wife has died and who really needs a nanny. Loren's character becomes the nanny even though she's from a privileged family, mostly as an escape. Famously, Grant had been trying to woo Loren for months during their previous film, and he may or may not have gotten anywhere, but by this filming she made clear she wasn't interested, and even got married (to Carlo Ponti) while this one was being shot.
The plot is fun but the film is a bit plasticky. It's not as funny or clever as the old screwball days. Or as fast. The three kids are fine but barelyno great acting here, and no great direction either. Oh yeah, the directorMelville Shavelsonis not making the most of his material. He's more of a screenwriter (he co-wrote this) and there are some great lines. The direction is routine, however, which is a shame, because some scenes are clunky and others play out as if the script would do all the work.
Even the cinematography is merely adequate, though the sets and setting are great so you might not notice. The idea of using a houseboat (a real one in Maryland) is a great money saving device, no doubt, and it gives everything an offbeat air.
So it's all enjoyable if nothing remarkable, more or less typical of this low point in Hollywood movie-making. The best here is Grant, who still throws his classic one-liners off as if they were his. Too bad they echo out of sync with the rest of the cast.
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