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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 »
Rock Hudson and Doris Day must have been otherwise occupied as lead roles which had their names on them go to Kirk Douglas and Mitzi Gaynor in For Love Or Money. For Kirk this was his third and last film that could be classified a comedy, the others being My Dear Secretary and Top Secret Affair. As for Mitzi her kind of musical films were just not being made any more, in fact this film would be here exit film as the rest of her career was concentrated in summer stock and musical theater.
This is yet another film about a crazy will where unless Thelma Ritter approves of their marriages, by the terms of her late husband's will the three daughters are summarily cut off from their trust funds. The three daughters are Mitzi Gaynor, Julie Newmar, and Leslie Parrish. Not that these three would ever find trouble getting husbands, but Ritter has specific ideas for all of them.
So William Windom is paired off with Parrish and Newmar gets Dick Sargent. Windom is a childhood play mate of Parrish and Sargent is a straight arrow IRS agent.
The hard one to deal with is Gaynor. Ritter has picked out another millionaire Gig Young who's a pretty idle yachtsman. He's also Kirk's best friend.
Douglas is appointed the trustee of the estate and his job is to affect these marriages. But when it comes to Gaynor he just can't keep his mind on the task at hand.
Maybe Kirk and Mitzi are doing Rock and Doris roles, but the rest of the cast slips comfortably into type casting niches. William Bendix is also here, he plays Ritter's confidante and gumshoe, constantly checking on Kirk's progress. This film reunites Douglas and Bendix, a dozen years earlier they were partners in Detective Story.
Of all the cast I liked Gig Young the best. Both he and Tony Randall took turns as comic foils for the leading men during films of this era and Young is at his goofiest as Douglas's pal whom he tries for about half the film to get together with Gaynor. Something always comes up and Douglas is getting less and less willing to do his assigned part for this Ritter daughter.
For Love Or Money has a nice pace to it and between this and Top Secret Affair are his best in the comedy genre. I lean to Top Secret Affair, but For Love Or Money has a lot of merit. Best scene in the film is poor Gig Young in his all together clinging to a buoy in San Francisco Bay hoping the fog doesn't lift too soon.
The film holds up well after 50 years, fans of Kirk and Mitzi will like it.
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