During the Cold War, John Goldfarb (Richard Crenna) crashes his spy plane in the Middle East and is taken prisoner by the local government. His captor, King Fawz (Peter Ustinov), soon ...
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During the Cold War, John Goldfarb (Richard Crenna) crashes his spy plane in the Middle East and is taken prisoner by the local government. His captor, King Fawz (Peter Ustinov), soon discovers that Goldfarb used to be a college football star. So he issues him an ultimatum: coach his country's football team, or Fawz will surrender him to the Russians. Goldfarb teams up with undercover reporter Jenny Ericson (Shirley MacLaine), and together they plot to escape their dangerous situation.
Notre Dame University got a court injunction to delay the release of the film, claiming the studio had "knowingly and illegally misappropriated, diluted and commercially exploited for their private profit the names, symbols, football team, prestige, high reputation and goodwill" of the university. After three months of court battles, the studio won out. See more »
When Shirley first presents herself to the king she is fearful he will "make his move.on her" so she dresses herself to be as undesirable as possible and throws herself on his bed. The next three shots have her legs crossed right over left, then left over right, them back to right over left in quick succession. See more »
A complete mess...although a few good laughs do emerge from the morass
When you think of "wacky, zany" comedies, the names of director J. Lee Thompson and screenwriter William Peter Blatty probably don't immediately come to mind. "John Goldfarb" is a with-it satire of politics, fads, football, feminism, and other topical issues which audiences of 1965 preferred to be without. Richard Crenna plays a piloting spy (nicknamed "Wrong Way Goldfarb") who thinks he's bailed out over the U.S.S.R.; instead, it's an Arab country ruled by gadget-crazy nut Peter Ustinov. Meanwhile, magazine writer Shirley MacLaine (who also warbles the title song!) has infiltrated Ustinov's harem, apparently trying to get the scoop of the century (but on what, I couldn't figure out). Too many targets and sight-gags render the loosely-hinged plot irrelevant, however some of MacLaine's shrieks are good for a laugh (and she looks cute in a hot-pink two-piece). What were these talented filmmakers thinking when they hatched this rotten egg? It's just a brightly-painted doodle, but even screwball nonsense should have at least one sane person to steer the ship. The cast here is kept running back and forth, waving their arms and yelling insults, while director Thompson must've been chortling in his sleep. * from ****
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