Willie Bauche, a Hollywood producer, becomes so obsessed with turning his wife, Ann Garantier, into the sexiest star in Hollywood that he neglects her real needs. Feeling lonely and tired ...
See full summary »
Little Pinks is in love with a nightclub singer named Gloria. But it is a unrequited love as she does not know that he exists. Pinks is a shy busboy and Gloria only goes out with men who ... See full summary »
Police surround the apartment of apparent murderer Joe Adams, who refuses to surrender although escape appears impossible. During the siege, Joe reflects on the circumstances that led him to this situation.
Barbara Bel Geddes,
In New Orleans, prizefighter Socks Barbarrosa suddenly runs out of the ring before his title bout, and swears he'll never fight again. He gives no reason for his strange actions. His girl ... See full summary »
Commercial artist Daisy Kenyon is involved with married lawyer Dan O'Mara, and hopes someday to marry him, if he ever divorces his wife Lucille. She meets returning veteran Peter, a decent ... See full summary »
Mrs. Dubedat loves and idolizes her artist husband, Louis, but he is dying of tuberculosis. She goes to a doctor and convinces him to save her husband. The doctor can keep only so many ... See full summary »
Willie Bauche, a Hollywood producer, becomes so obsessed with turning his wife, Ann Garantier, into the sexiest star in Hollywood that he neglects her real needs. Feeling lonely and tired of Tinseltown, Ann returns to her native France and finds herself attracted to Marco Ranieri, a handsome and very attentive pilot. When Willie hears about the budding affair, he flies into a rage and hires assassins to kill his rival. Unfortunately for him, the killers are romantics and decide that Ann and Marco are so in love that both must die so they can be together always. When Willie finds out, he rushes over to France to try and save his wife.
The Man Who Understood Women was created by noted screenwriter Nunnally Johnson who had worked with Henry Fonda going back to Jesse James. On the basis of respect for his talent and his friendship with Johnson, Fonda got cast in the part of Hollywood wunderkind Willie Bauche, a man who it turned out did not understand women in the slightest or at least the woman whom he married and was responsible for her stardom, Leslie Caron.
Willie Bauche needed an actor with the flair of a John Barrymore to carry it off. In fact Fonda's character of Willie Bauche is a second cousin to Oscar Jaffe from Twentieth Century. Now Henry Fonda has been successful in comedy, but the fellow who utilized him best, Preston Sturges in The Lady Eve did not tamper with Fonda's basic All American serious character, he played Barbara Stanwyck and the rest of the cast off against it. What Barrymore or Orson Welles on whom the lead is allegedly based could have done we'll never know.
Speaking of Welles the character of Max Buda whom he played in The VIPs was exactly like what Fonda was trying to achieve in The Man Who Understood Women.
Fonda is a Welles like character who discovers young hopeful Leslie Caron, makes her a star and marries her. But he's all about himself and Caron's eyes start wandering and land on young army officer Cesare Danova while she and Fonda are on the French Riviera. Of course Fonda gets jealous and begins scheming all kinds of things that you have to watch The Man Who Understood Women to find out.
Leslie Caron was very hot at that point in her career having just come off the best film of 1958, Gigi. Still even I can't understand why she rated billing over Hollywood veteran Henry Fonda. I'm betting Fonda wasn't to thrilled with that either.
Besides working with Nunnally Johnson, Fonda got to work with Myron McCormick with whom he had gone to Princeton with and was part of the famous Triangle Players during their college days. McCormick plays his number two guy who tries to instill a little reality into Fonda's life, but is unable to.
The film actually begins quite promisingly. Nunnally Johnson who knew Hollywood as good as anyone has a great beginning with Fonda alerting producer Conrad Nagel to a new discovery in Caron, but doing it in such a way that Nagel thinks it's all his idea and that he's stealing someone from Fonda whom he can't stand, but who Fonda knows he can't stand. That was all very well done, if the film had kept up that quality it would be a classic today.
The Citadel film series book The Films Of Henry Fonda also says that there are a lot of inside Hollywood jokes, but said to say they stayed inside. One reason I looked forward to seeing it was that after some 50 years of tell all memoirs and second hand accounts, I figured that things a 1959 audience might not have gotten I would have. Well frankly I didn't so Nunnally's inside stuff stays inside.
After this one, Fonda stayed off the screen for three years coming back in a part in Advise And Consent that he was believable in. Far more than The Man Who Understood Women where he was probably the most miscast in his career.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this