Tax collector Lorenzo Charlton comes to the Larkins' farm to ask why Pop Larkins hasn't paid his back taxes. Charlton has to stay for a day to try to estimate the income from the farm, but ...
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W.S. Van Dyke
Nine months after they split up Bob and Mary meet at his New York apartment to sort out some tax matters. He's getting married to healthy-eating Tiffany as soon as the divorce becomes final... See full summary »
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Tax collector Lorenzo Charlton comes to the Larkins' farm to ask why Pop Larkins hasn't paid his back taxes. Charlton has to stay for a day to try to estimate the income from the farm, but it isn't easy to calculate when the farmer has such a lovely daughter, Mariette... Written by
The movie was taken from a a book by H. E. Bates, "The Darling Buds of May". It is the first of five novels (and novellas) about "Pop Larkin". The original story is English, but the movie changed the setting to Maryland. See more »
During the opening scene and the aerial view of the Larkin Farm, Lorenzo's car is seen in the yard. Lorenzo doesn't arrive until later. See more »
Taxes, romance, neighborliness and greed make a fun film
In the 1950s and 1960s, Americans especially were more concerned about taxes than at any other time. At least, that's what Hollywood might lead one to believe, based on the number of films it turned out in those years with tax-related themes. Of course, we should be concerned about taxes. But, comedies such as "The Mating Game" helped put taxes into perspective. Toss in doses of romance, good-naturedness, neighborliness, friendships, and resentment and greedy wealth, and one has the makings of an entertaining and funny movie.
This film is an American version of the Larkin family. It's based on a 1958 short novel, "The Darling Buds of May," by British author H.E. (Herbert) Bates. In the book, the Larkins reside in rural Kent, the southeastern most county in England. Canterbury is located there. Yorkshire Television produced a TV series that ran from 1991 through 1993 in England under the original name of the book. This American adaptation made significant changes, mostly to accommodate for the culture differences. So, the setting here is in rural western Maryland. Apparently it was all shot in the MGM studios in California.
All the cast are excellent in this farcical story. Another reviewer thought Tony Randall was miscast as Lorenzo Charlton, but I agree with others who saw him as the perfect reticent and reluctant object of romance for Debbie Reynolds' Mariette Larkin. The two ogres in this film are played by Fred Clark (as Oliver Kelsey) and Philip Ober (as Wendell Burnshaw). They were a couple of the best character actor villains in those days. The chasing scenes involving Mariette are a lot of fun, and the exchanges with Lorenzo over taxes are very funny. But two actors stand out Paul Douglas and Una Merkel as Pop and Ma Larkin. They steal every scene in which they appear.
This was indeed a fine performance by Douglas, who often played tough guy roles or serious parts in films. It was his last film. Douglas died a few months after this film came out. He suffered a heart attack at age 52.
People who want all the details of movies to make sense or to be realistic may not enjoy this film. But those who love comedy will get many smiles and laughs from "The Mating Game."
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