|Index||4 reviews in total|
Follow-up to Salt and Pepper where Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. played two very middle-aged swingers running a night spot called Salt and Pepper. This time around the two get into trouble for repeated problems and ask Lawford's lookalike brother(yes, he plays him as well) for money. Turns out he is a Lord and owns the family castle given up by Pepper so long ago. Also turns out he is involved in smuggling diamonds and is a double agent, etc... Lawford's brother is killed and Lawford as Pepper assumes his brother's role and hilarity is to ensue - NOT! While I believe this to be a more engaging and slightly more amusing vehicle than the original Salt and Pepper, it really doesn't have a lot going for it. Jerry Lewis directs his buddies Davis and Lawford and with his special brand of humour. We get Davis trying to be Jerry Lewis in several scenes: a scene with him seeing how everything is huge in his new bedroom at the castle where he looks and everything looks so huge. I have seen Lewis pull this same thing countless times. Davis; not sure if this is a compliment or not, is no Lewis; however. He just doesn't have the same lunatic spirit though he has some scenes which are slightly amusing. Most of the time he does come off as being very flat because the material is so tiresome and over-used. The brightest spots in the movie are Lawford's as he pulls off playing the two brothers really rather well. The plot is ridiculous. Are we really to believe that these two over-the-hill guys are hip swingers? Davis of course sings a few tunes including the somewhat catchy "One More Time" as the opening and end credits roll. For me the only fascinating aspect of the film is the addition of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in brief - and I mean BRIEF - cameos. In one scene Davis finds a wooden secret panel in the castle that has behind it , down some steps, a laboratory with Cushing standing, a woman on a gurney, and Lee bearing fangs. Cushing has a brief line or so as does Lee. Their screen time is embarrassingly slight. Why Lewis didn't given them a bit more time amazes me as THIS scene is the opening scene in this film's theatrical trailer! Unfortunately Cushing and Lee maybe have 30 seconds of screen time. But if you are a completist in either's filmography, you will have to endure One More Time at least once.
Even if you don't like the earlier film, "Salt and Pepper," you have to admit that it is a paragon of structure and traditional storytelling compared its sequel, "One More Time." That's not to say that the second Davis Jr/Lawford team up isn't enjoyable--it is just bizarrely different from the original. "Salt and Pepper," directed by Richard Donner--veteran director of some of the Sixties' best TV series, and later of the classic action/comedies in the Lethal Weapon and Superman series of films--was a light and breezy "Rat Pack" action/comedy. It was wholly conventional for its time. But when it came time for the sequel, the producers apparently decided that the success of the first film was due more to the comedy elements than the thriller elements. With that in mind they made the obvious choice for their new directorJerry Lewis. The singular Lewis had never directed a film starring anyone else but himself, so I'm not sure what the producers expected would happen. Well, the result was that Jerry didn't just add a few comic touches to the already proved formula. He took the thing over entirely and made "One More Time" a pure 100% Jerry Lewis film, with all that means for good and bad. If you're familiar with Lewis' film-making, you know that his films are very light on plot (ranging from hardly any as in "Cinderfella" to none at all as in "The Bellboy" and "Hardly Working.") and very heavy on surreal jokes, visual gags and his own patented mugging and clowning. Well, the plot of "One More Time" is this: Lawford impersonates his rich brother, who is mysteriously murdered, and Davis Jr. doesn't figure it out until near the end. That's about it. The film is 90 minutes long and at least an hour of that is just Sammy Davis Jr. doing a spot on Lewis imitation in a series of increasingly strange and barely connected (but often funny) vignettes as he rambles about in Lawford's ill-gotten English manor. If you go into this film expecting anything different (as the audiences in 1970 did) then you're going to be sorely disappointed (as the audiences in 1970 were). But if you go in expecting a Jerry Lewis filmyou get a pretty good one!
In this sequel to Salt and Pepper, Pepper's brother, an English lord is killed, and Pepper impersonates him to find out who did it. He doesn't tell his friend Salt, who is distrustful of Pepper's brother. This is yet another attempt to recreate the good times of earlier Rat Pack movies, but they should have stopped after Robin and The Seven Hoods. The plot gets worse and worse, and by the end, it is a total mess, with Davis and Lawford breaking out of character to talk to the audience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've always had a soft spot for 1968's 'Salt & Pepper', in which Sammy
Davis Junior and Peter Lawford played 'Charles Salt' and 'Christopher
Pepper', trendy London nightclub owners caught up in an espionage plot.
Two years later, the dynamic duo were back, only this time the results were nowhere near as successful.
The Salt and Pepper club has been closed down by the police, and they have to pay £500 each or face prison. Pepper asks his snooty rich twin brother, Lord Sydney ( also Lawford ), for the money. The lord agrees provided that both men leave the country for good. After a heated row, Pepper decides to get his own back by impersonating his twin in order to secure a free meal in a posh restaurant. Returning to Lord Sydney's apartment, however, he finds him dead, shot by an African blow-pipe. The sneaky Pepper decides to go on play acting, and make the world think that Christopher Pepper is now dead. The killers are still out there, however, and want back the diamonds Lord Sydney stole from them...
So we have moved away from the world of espionage and into the realm of crime, making the film an altogether different affair, lacking the wild action sequences of the first. Replacing Richard Donner in the director's chair is none other than Jerry Lewis. We get an idea of what a Lewis and Martin film might have looked like had one been made in the late '60's. Davis Junior, in particular, behaves like Jerry, especially in the scene where he prowls around Pepperworth Castle to the accompaniment of the theme to '2001: A Space Odyssey', released two years earlier. Another funny moment is when Tombs ( Sydney Arnold ) the elderly butler lumbers into Pepper's dining room. By the time he reaches them with the food Salt and Pepper have acquired five o'clock shadow.
Like a lot of Lewis' movies, there is an unfortunate tendency towards sentimentality and self-indulgence. Salt's grieving for his friend brings the comedy to a screeching halt, and his impersonation of 'The Chocolate Dandy' should have been left on the cutting room floor.
Michael Bates' incompetent 'Inspector Crabbe' was supposed to reappear ( he is in Michael Avallone's novelisation ). Instead we get Leslie Sands as 'Inspector Glock', who's nowhere near as amusing. The book also suggests that the movie was written originally for a much bigger budget; there is a funny scene where Salt and Pepper wreak havoc in an aeroplane. It is not in the finished film.
As was the case with 'Salt & Pepper', the British supporting cast are first rate, in particular Allan Cuthbertson, Dudley Sutton, Anthony Nicholls, Moultrie Kelsall, Peter Reeves, Bill Maynard ( as a Bondian villain with a shaved head ), and Glyn Owen. The music was by Les Reed, co-composer of many Tom Jones hits. Check out Pepper's groovy lounge; you need sunglasses just to admire the decor.
Things To Look Out For: a cameo by Christopher Lee as 'Count Dracula' and Peter Cushing as 'Baron Frankenstein'!
Not up to the first film then, but some good moments on display and overall a lot better than many of the Lewis vehicles of that period.
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