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Leaving home, young Buddy Baker arrives unannounced at the luxurious Manhattan apartment of his older brother, Alan, a swinging girl chasing bachelor who prefers his carefree life to working in the family business. Pleased at his brother's show of independence, Alan introduces him to New York night life. Their father is unhappy at Alan's mentoring and the loss of an important account. Buddy is so successful that he soon takes over his brother's liquor cabinet and his girl friends. After giving up a woman who lives in the same building, Alan gets beaten by the husband of another conquest. Scared off, Alan alienates his favorite girl friend, Connie, staying away from all commitment. Hit by the futility of his life, Alan urges Buddy to end his swinging life style, but Buddy is having too good a time. After their argument jolts Alan proposes to Connie. Following their marriage, Alan helps their parents reconcile, works seriously in the family business and turns his bachelor pad over to ... Written by
Round up the usual suspects. This being a Frank Sinatra comedy, there has to be a Cahn-Van Heusen song, arranged by Nelson Riddle. Dean Martin pops up in an under-rehearsed cameo and Jill St. John is Frankie's Bimbo. "It's a business like any other business," says Frank. Was he talking of manufacturing wax fruit, or cranking out cynical sex comedies?
The Baker brothers are out for fun. Alan is a thirty-nine year old playboy who, to his parents' chagrin, remains unmarried (Sinatra was in fact bewigged and fifty-one). His kid brother Buddy (Tony Bill) escapes from the stifling jewish domesticity of Yonkers and joins Alan in his Manhattan bachelor apartment. Drinks, dames and snappy clothes ensue. Because this is 1963, Frank thinks it's the height of cool to shave with an electric razor, use roll-on deodorant and furnish his kitchen in orange plastic. Impressively for 1963, he has a car phone and a remote control device to work his stereo, but were the snapbrim hat and the plaid raincoat REALLY the last word in style in the era of the Rolling Stones?
Essentially a bourgeois jewish comedy of the Neil Simon type, "Come Blow Your Horn" is a bit of froth which does not repay close analysis. There is a cute little phallic joke (the cannon in the movie playing on TV) and Frank's character almost goes somewhere with his 'oldest swinger in town' realisation, but ultimately this is a lazy, shallow little project.
Lee J. Cobb is the long-suffering jewish father, Molly Picon the depressingly stereotypical jewish mom. Hoss from TV's "Bonanza", Dan Blocker, appears briefly as the irate cuckold Eckman. Jill St. John is in simpering Marilyn Monroe mode as Peggy The Babe, not yet showing the intelligent irony on display in "Tony Rome". Tony Bill is good as Buddy, the kid brother corrupted by the philandering Alan, and Barbara Rush impresses as Connie, the good girl.
However, the film's central premise is flawed. The script does not explain (because it can't) how feckless, jobless Alan can afford swish tailoring, ski vacations in Vermont and an apartment the size of Shea Stadium. There is a lame suggestion, right at the end, that some unseen broad can be sweet-talked into donating the bachelor pad to Buddy, but it fails to convince. Rather like the film, really.
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