Director Michael Gordon had a superstition that made him put at least one of his favorite paintings by Edgar O. Kiechle into each film he directed. While one was being placed on the wall behind Kirk Douglas, Douglas quipped, "I've worked with a lot of tough directors, but he's the first one who ever insisted on holding something over an actor's head". See more »
mother "matches" her daughters for marriage via lawyer
Particularly significant facets of this entertaining film involve Kirk Douglas and Thelma Ritter. Douglas is primarily known for his tough portrayals which often have slightly amusing undercurrents. In "For Love or Money," he demonstrates an outstanding flair for romantic comedy. He has made only one other romantic comedy, "My Dear Secretary" (1947), when the actor was just beginning what would become a legendary screen career. In the 1963 film discussed here, based upon the novel by John Tessitore, Douglas---as attorney Deke Gentry---presents a not-so-surprising romantic comedy skill. He is most believeable as the lawyer hired by Ritter's hotel matriarch, Chloe Brasher, to "arrange" suitable marriages for her daughters, delightfully portrayed by Mitzi Gaynor, Leslie Parrish and Julie Newmar. The story calls for Gentry to end up as Gaynor's groom, rather than Gig Young's stereotypical rich playboy Sonny Smith, initially Gentry's choice for her. Douglas expertly and solidly carries off his role. That Kirk Douglas, one of the finest actors of our time, is successful in this slight change from his usual screen personal, should surprise no one. Ritter's case, though, not only is surprising but gratifying. Brooklyn-born Ritter was one of the top character actresses of her era. She became a semi-star portraying dowdy---if likeable---domestics, mothers, secretaries and "sidekicks" to the female stars with whom she performed. Ritter, as the ditzy, alchoholic maid, Alma, to Doris Day in "Pillowtalk" earned the veteran actress a "Best Suporting Actress Oscar" nomination in 1959. But never, before "For Love or Money", did this excellent actress have the opportunity to truly display her skill as a properly adorned female lead. She does here. Like Eliza Doolittle at the ball in "My Fair Lady," Ritter finally is shown in finest decorative wear. Anyone unfamiliar with her previous screen work would easily take Ritter to be a veteran of roles such as Chloe Brasher. Six years before her 1969 death, Ritter at last got the opportunity she long had deserved. And she made the most of it. Unfortunately, "For Love or Money" does not seem to be available on VHS. It sometimes is shown on cable tv. The viewer should make every effort to see it.
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