The Gazebo (1959) Poster

(1959)

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9/10
There is no better
gravie10 March 2003
I remembered this movie from when I would sit on my moms lap and watch Sunday afternoon movies with her. I remembered it being funny when I was 5 and watched it when I was 40....It is still a great tribute to what Ford can do...So funny...and Debbie was so great, and Reiner at his best..Just see it and enjoy.
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7/10
Clever Comedy With A "Killer" Twist
gftbiloxi16 May 2005
Glenn Ford is the producer of a television mystery series who attempts to protect his Broadway star wife (Debbie Reynolds) from a blackmailer--and decides to eliminate the blackmailer via a murder plot suggested by his own series. The result is a comic chaos involving a couple of gangsters, a peculiar pigeon, and the gazebo his wife is having built on their country property.

Based on the play of the same name, THE GAZEBO strives for a mix of broad farce, screwball comedy, and sprightly sophistication--and by and large brings it off quite well. I have never been a great fan of Glenn Ford, but he manages both the broad physical comedy and the clever dialogue of this film with equal ease. Debbie Reynolds is also quite good in the role of the stage-star wife, and she and Ford have a surprisingly successful chemistry. Although the humor is more smile-and-chuckle than laugh-out-loud, THE GAZEBO is a well made, well acted, and quite enjoyable. Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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8/10
Tries A Funny Hand At Murder
bkoganbing29 October 2008
I've maintained this before, one day someone is going to do a study of the director/actor team of George Marshall and Glenn Ford. They did some really great work together such as The Sheepman, Imitation General, Texas and Advance To The Rear to name a few. The Gazebo falls in that category as well.

The Gazebo was originally presented on Broadway as a play by Alec Coppel and ran for 218 performances in the 1958-59 season. The roles that Glenn Ford, Debbie Reynolds, and Carl Reiner play were done on Broadway by Walter Slezak, Jayne Meadows, and Edward Andrews. I'm still not fathoming a role originated by Walter Slezak done by Glenn Ford. I'm betting the role had to have been rewritten for the screen.

I'd like to describe it as a black comedy, but in the end it does turn out all sweetness and light. Ford is a television writer who lives with wife and musical comedy star Reynolds in the suburbs with Reiner as their neighbor. Oh, Reiner happens to be an Assistant District Attorney and Ford just loves picking his brain on how to avoid capture by the police when you commit a homicide.

Which is what Ford has in mind, not suggestions for a television script. Someone's attempting blackmail because they've got some nude photographs of Reynolds in her salad days. He lures the blackmailer to his home and what follows is hilarious.

A lot of the problem has to do with a gazebo that Ford and Reynolds have put in their yard. It might serve as a place to bury a body, but it doesn't quite work out that way.

Besides those already mentioned Marshall put together a good cast to support the leads with Doro Merande as their housekeeper whose normal conversational tone is a roar and John McGiver as the head of the work crew installing The Gazebo.

Special mention should go to a pigeon named Herman who Ford took in and nursed back to health. Some of The Gazebo's funniest moments are provided by Herman.

The Gazebo did get an Oscar nomination for Costume Design, but I think Herman should have been up for a CLIO award.
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10/10
A highly underrated comedy.
marlo5315 March 2002
I think the Gazebo is one of the funniest films I have ever seen,but where is it?To my knowledge it has never appeared on TV,and I don`t think it is available in UK format VHS,what a waste.I would love my children to see it.I don`t normally associate Glenn Ford with comedy,but he was excellent.
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10/10
The Perfect "Tombstone"
theowinthrop23 October 2005
As of this writing, Glenn Ford is still with us, living in retirement. He has never, except from his fans and fellow actors, received the recognition his honest acting abilities in drama or comedy have fully deserved. His performances in "Experiment In Terror" and "The Blackboard Jungle" and "3:10 To Yuma" fully show his firm handling of dramatic material. He was a superb psychotic villain in "The Man From Colorado". He held his own with Rita Hayworth and George Macready in "Gilda". And for comic gems let me suggest "The Rounders" (holding his own with Henry 0Fonda, Chill Wills, and his old film friend Edgar Buchanan), "Teahouse Of The August Moon", and this film.

For some reason the New York Times film critics always slam "The Gazebo". I can't tell why. It may be because those comedies traipsing on dark matters like murder seem to need an element of elegance (in some quarters) to be rated highly. But how many "Kind Hearts And Coronets" or "Monsieur Verdoux" films can there be? THE GAZEBO is certainly bereft of elegant villains like Dennis Price and Charlie Chaplin, but it does draw us into the hero's real problems.

Elliot Nash (Ford) is a hard-working producer, whose wife Nell (Debbie Reynolds) is an equally hard worker performer. Nash has been receiving blackmail threats from a man he has never met. The man is demanding an impossibly large sum of money for pictures he has of Nell that might hurt her career. Nash is forced, in his bumbling way, to consider the only alternative (short of a miracle) to take care of the blackmailer: he must kill him. So on a night that Nell is away from their suburban home, Nash (following a step-by-step plan he even wrote down and put into his desk's top draw) arranges to shoot and kill the blackmailer and to bury the body. He had originally intended to simply bury it in the back yard, but Nell has accidentally helped him here - it seems (for his birthday gift) she is installing an antique gazebo in the backyard, under the watchful workmanship of John McGiver. Ford drags the dead body (in an old bath curtain) into the backyard, and puts it into the foundation of the gazebo.

The problems arise afterward. First, it turns out the police want to question him anyway regarding the blackmailer - it seems they found his body in his office, shot to death. They don't suspect Nash for this, but they are curious about why the blackmailer called him. Of course this leads to the issue - who is in the gazebo. Ford goes nuts trying to figure out who among his family and friends is missing. Secondly, it also brings up another matter. Elliot and Nell have a close friend, Harlowe (Carl Reiner), whom Elliot has always found a little annoying as Harlowe once was dating Nell. Now he's around prying into the relationship of Elliot and the dead blackmailer.

Soon some others pop up, two goons (the leader is Martin Landau) wondering what happened to Dan - whom they knew was supposed to be visiting Elliot. Can he be the man in the gazebo? Is he the key to all this?

The action of the jittery Ford is priceless, particularly in the scene where he shoots the visitor. An example: Nash has been thinking of doing some work with Alfred Hitchcock. Hitch calls (we never see or hear him) while Nash is wondering how to bury the dead man. Ford asks Hitch advise "for a plot he's working on" and Hitch helps out.

The final ten minutes, when Ford is almost ready to throw himself on the mercy of the detectives (Reiner and Bert Freed, as a Lieutenant who literally louses up his own case), only to change strategies in a moment of clarity, are hysterical. I particularly hope you fully appreciate Freed's tag-line at the conclusion of the film.
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7/10
Offbeat, Funny And Still Worth Watching
Cheetah-67 December 2001
A story that twists and turns it's way through some good laughs. An unconventional, black comedy of sorts, this little gem from 1960 is amusing mainly through Glenn Ford's high strung nervous performance of the desperate husband who's run out of ideas. Debbie Reynolds and Carl Reiner give adequate performances in their roles. The overall feeling is a bit stagy at times, giving heed to it's Broadway beginnings, but still effective as a movie. There's a little comical tribute to "Hitch" in there that works quite well too. This early 60's film is still worth watching. 7/10.
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7/10
excellent
rupie14 March 2003
I can't say too many good things about this extremely well done black comedy. The casting is first-rate, with Glenn Ford, Debbie Reynolds, and Carl Reiner. Glenn Ford is an underrated actor with a real flair for comedy, as shown here. Also of note is the fine bit by the venerable character actor John McGiver as Thorpe, the contractor. The plot keeps you going and the comic action never slips. I like also the decision to film it in black and white; it just looks right. As it is a wide-screen production, catching it in letterbox helps. A not-well-known film that is a nice comic surprise!
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7/10
Better than expected with a wacky Glenn Ford
vincentlynch-moonoi2 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I almost didn't watch this, because it sounded too much like a Doris Day/Rock Hudson type flick...which were great at the time, but seem so very dated now. But I thought I'd give it my "first 12 minutes" test. What I found was a genuinely funny and offbeat movie.

The script moves along well in this black comedy (which also happens to be in black and white), and the principal actors do a fine job. Glenn Ford is genuinely goofy (and I mean that in the best sense) here -- playing a rather neurotic television writer. His bumbling and nervousness in the murder scene is a hoot. Debbie Reynolds is perfect as the wife...the subject of some nude photos when she was getting started...resulting in a blackmail plot; and I say that as no fan of Debbie Reynolds.

Carl Reiner does well as the district attorney and best friend, although he doesn't seem very Carl Reiner-ish. And John McGiver plays a very different part here, quite humorously.

I actually chuckled out loud a couple of times here...something I rarely do, even when watching a comedy. It's so rare to see Glenn Ford playing this type of role -- a nervous nelly who is clearly neurotic. And, he does it so well!

This film is certainly worth watching for a good hearty laugh. Recommended.
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Good Fun
rwint13 December 2003
7 out of 10

Fun time filler involving Ford and his attempts at murdering a blackmailer and then burying the body underneath a newly constructed gazebo.

Nothing profoundly exceptional here, but it is genuinely and consistently offbeat. There are some good laughs and a couple of uniquely comical moments. Ford and his rather timid delivery really carries the picture. In many ways he was much better at comedy than drama and this film not only proves it, but takes full advantage of it. The very nervous way he proceeds with the murder is a real riot alone. The very high strung way he tries to direct a live on air broadcast, that is shown at the beginning of the film, is not only funny but completely on target.

Their are a lot of twists and turns here and they all become much quicker in pace near the end. None of it is predictable. The best sequence may actually be the one involving a pigeon named Herman. Also don't miss the comment by the police chief at the very end as he is leaving the house.

Reiner adds good energy in support playing a lawyer that never stops deliberating. Character actor McGiver is pretty good also playing against type. Usually he plays very stuffy type characters who enjoy pontificating. Here he plays a gruff laborer who speaks sparingly.
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7/10
Ah, talk about pressure
hmpulham11 March 2003
Poor Glenn Ford, talk about problems! His wife is being blackmailed, and his friend, the local district attorney, would like to bed her, and is not shy about showing it. Then there's the problem of disposing of the body of the blackmailer, who he's shot, after luring him to his home. Later he discovers he's killed the wrong man! All this very, very frustrating. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Ford's calling a list of acquaintances and asking various women if they'd seen their husbands ... that is, lately? Seeing the relieved look on his face as the replies came back, yes, was pretty funny. But, this is a comedy so all works out fine at the end. I gave it a *7* -- could have picked an *8*
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7/10
An enjoyable film
McQ9418 November 2018
Yet another "I wonder what this movie is..." gem courtesy of TCM. I wish I was old enough to have seen the play on Broadway, that would have been a treat. I've always liked Glenn Ford, who I think did a great job here, but I kept thinking what a great role this would have been for Jack Lemmon.
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Why Is The Gazebo Not On DVD?
Philo-194 January 2009
This is a funny movie about dark subjects: blackmail and death. Debbie Reynolds is a famous stage actress whose TV writer husband (Glenn Ford) is approached by blackmailers who threaten to ruin her career by releasing some early photos of her. Glenn will defend his wife's honor, even if someone has to die. The new gazebo being built in his back yard is a tempting hiding place for the evidence. Will the police and his best friend, the D.A. (Rob Reiner) find him out? And what about that pigeon?

The film is black and white and dates back to the 1960s, but so is The Loved One. The Loved One has been released on DVD. Why would an Oscar nominated comedy with big name stars like The Gazebo not be available on DVD?

It shows on American cable channels occasionally but needs more fan pressure to get it released.
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10/10
The misadventures of a gazebo
lfowden8410 September 2006
I have seen this movie on late night TV.Hilarious is an understatement. Glen Ford tries to protect his wife(Debbie) from a blackmailer,so he invites said blackmailer at his house with the plan of killing him thus saving his wife from harassment.Unfortunately he thinks he has killed him,now the problem is to bury the body. He does under his wife new gazebo But it rains that evening and up comes the body and there we go in hysterical scene after scene trying to keep the body buried and the police at bay.Naturally the whole crime could get undone and Glenn Ford found out all thank to a Pigeon. The final scene is pure delight,I truly recommend this film to everyone. Now for the 65 dollars question when would it be released on DVD.Millie
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underrated, hilarious, well-done movie
ajdagreat28 July 2001
This movie didn't win any awards. I'm not sure how much the critics liked it. But I enjoyed this comedy. Glenn Ford is great as a nervous guy who gets mixed up in murder. Debbie Reynolds (better known for "Singin' in the Rain") is also great in this movie. And any movie with Carl Reiner, you know it's gotta be hilarious. I really enjoyed this movie. I don't know if it's on VHS, but if it comes on TCM again, it's worth watching.
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7/10
Funny, well written comedy
helpless_dancer14 December 2001
Ford was hilarious as a blackmailing victim who decides to end his troubles with a simple murder. From the first nothing goes right, with everything under the sun conspiring against him, as he goes nuts trying to hide the body and keep it hidden. The murder scene was a total riot.
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6/10
Ford's Manic Hijinks Are Not Funny in the Traditional Sense
tr-8349524 July 2019
Far-fetched black comedy that works in that it entertains you (to a degree). This is not to say "The Gazebo" could not be improved. Ford's hijinks remind one of Lucille Ball without the laugh track -- up to her exaggerated and impossible dirty tricks. This is a dirty trick, too, but Reynolds and the character actors keep it moving so that it can be tolerated for the duration.

Ford made too many movies and was given opportunities that few in Hollywood are ever given. This is another of his try-outs that fell far short of the mark.
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8/10
A hidden gem!
lestradedoyle20 May 2019
I am baffled with this film is not talked about. Debbie Reynolds is amazing in this film, and Glenn Ford is like you've never seen him before. If you truly want to see an actors range, watch this, then Gilda and be blown away. Ford is very underrated and so is this film. It is fast paced, hilarious, and has a brilliant ending.
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9/10
When Movies had more plot than explosion.
rayAweaver18 April 2005
Glenn Ford was always a solid, consistent performer, and although I haven't seen this movie since it was first run, I remember much of it. This was the movie that allowed Debby Renyolds to be an adult.

If movies of the 50's were not of the Golden Age, they were at least Silver. This was a time when screenplays had actual plots.

It was also a time that continued the wonderful practice of allowing supporting players like John McGiver to become celebrities through sheer talent. Players like he, and Thelma Ritter, and dozens of others I could name, but won't, were as responsible for good films as the Stars, and were allowed their moments to shine in the movie.

I miss the Old Hollywood. I will tell you that in the last 10 years, I have gone to 4 movies- three of them LOR. The fourth was Gibson's the passion- and well made though it was, I think it's put me off movies for another 10 years, at least.
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too many people are revealing plot twists and not saying spoiler
skiddoo19 August 2011
It's a good movie and I was surprised at several points but I wouldn't have been if I'd read the reviews so please be more considerate of others who still want the same experience you had when you first saw it.

I was impressed by the intelligence of this movie. What mystery writer doesn't think how he or she would handle things in real life? The physical comedy was excellent. I knew Reynolds was that good but Ford was a revelation. The costars were wonderful and always engaging when they were on screen. Because we later saw so many of them on TV shows this movie has a rather made-for-TV air about it, if those were this high in quality. And dragging in Hitchcock was terrific. What more could a mystery writer ask for in his own murder plot?

Not the best movie I've ever seen but a lot of fun. How would YOU get rid of a body? :)
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A Patchwork
dougdoepke17 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Turn on the sink spigot and water shoots out the stovetop; flick a light switch and the TV comes on. Add a housekeeper whose voice can be heard in Australia, and you've got a promising comedy. In fact there are a number of clever ideas in this screen adaptation of a stage play. Nonetheless, in my book, the movie's only fitfully funny.

Now, Glenn Ford wrote the book on effective low-key acting, a style adapting most readily to a droll brand of comedy, as in The Sheepman (1958). Here, however, Ford's in a perpetual tizzy that would tax even the expert delirium of a Cary Grant. He strives mightily, but the demands of 100-minutes of forced hyper is really over-stretching the effort and grows pretty thin. I agree with reviewer Blanche2—the part calls for a comedic actor like a Jack Lemmon or an Ernie Kovacs.

Then too, this is really tricky material. After all, Ford is meticulously intent on a criminal act, namely, murder; still, I was surprised when he actually pulls the trigger. What's needed with slippery black humor of this sort is a light touch all the way through. Wisely, for example, Ford looks the fool in his outlandish murder get-up, while the victim staggers around like an all-night drunk. But the cops and especially Martin Landau appear not to be in on the joke. They're too serious by half, reminding me of an unwanted fact-- that once Ford pulls the trigger, he's morally guilty of a crime whether his bullet finds the mark or not, a sour note the script understandably glosses over. Again, this is really tricky material to bring off successfully.

I don't mean to imply the film doesn't have its moments or that players like McGiver and Reiner aren't amusingly droll or that the perky Reynolds isn't more restrained than usual. It's just that the 100-minutes remains a patchwork of promising parts that unfortunately adds up to an uneven whole.
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5/10
Well...at least it tries very hard.
MartinHafer2 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a bizarre comedy that seems to try very hard to be kooky--which is a very tough sell due to the darkness of the plot. A dark, dark film combined with kooky is a very, very hard sell! The film concerns a couple (Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds). Ford works like a dog and you soon learn that he's working so hard because he's paying off blackmailers--blackmailers that have nude photos of Debbie when she was younger. Now the idea of Debbie Reynolds posing naked is a very tough sell--it just doesn't seem possible. Eventually Ford is so fed up with the never-ending blackmail that he decides to kill the blackmailer and hide the body in the foundation of the new gazebo. But, while the killing seems to go off without a hitch, things only get worse after the evil deed was done.

Killing, nude photos of Debbie and burying a body in the yard--all this is a very tough sell for audiences expecting to see a cute little film. While some of the film is a bit cute and even funny, the overriding black hole which is the plot is just too difficult to make funny! And, by trying so hard to make this a comedy, the film just doesn't quite work. It's interesting...but not all that great. A time-passer and a strange one at that.
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9/10
Old King George has a lot of good things to answer for!
Svengali-200117 July 2003
The dalliances that once occurred on "The" gazebo are nothing compared to what might have been under it...if only Elliott could have read some Tarantino before the end of this brill flick. Glenn Ford had begun to show signs of his great comic timing in Imitation General, but I think his unique brand of humour finds its feet in this film. There is something delightfully neurotic about Glenn's gift of busy humour. These days he'd be called a thinking man's Jerry Lewis (until Jerry made The King of Comedy and put his own ghosts to bed), but Glenn has an energy that defies his laconic roles like in The Rounders. For a man who claimed only to play himself on screen, he shows a delightfully schizoid turn in this film.(Like he should have be born a Gemini) While the film displays some great moments by Debbie Reynolds, Carl Reiner and a delightful ensemble cast it is the sheer energy of Glenn Ford which makes it hum along. In most of Glenn's films you are confronted with his unerring intensity, deep pride and honesty, but in this we see a little of that pure naivety of spirit that only good people possess. I don't mean wholesome in the apple-pie way, but more the deep-seated belief that life is good nad it's only people who fall off the rails from time to time. This is one of the lovely points about this film. So much is lightly turned on its head. This is the sort of film David Lynch might have made if he had been married to Doris Day or Shirley Temple. When you think about some of the themes and how lightly murder and blackmail are dealt with, you could suspect that you had entered Twin Peaks c1960. Whoever thought up the Alfred Hitchcock sequence deserves an award and I'd love to know what the chap was really saying on the other end of the line!!! I admire the people who can get TCM and I was glad I blackmailed and murdered my way to a bootlog copy of this great flick. And if the critics failed to realise the quality of its writing and acting then that would only be par for the course, (Just ask Cate Blanchett) While I cannot give it a 10, I can tell anyone who likes there humour smart and slick then this is well worth a quick squizz.
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1/10
An impossible concoction...
moonspinner5529 June 2007
Absurd adaptation of a dinner-theater perennial by Alec Coppel has television-writer Glenn Ford attempting to cover up a murder by burying the corpse underneath wife Debbie Reynolds' garden gazebo. This type of sitcom nonsense--featuring totally unreal supporting characters bursting into the scenario at just the wrong moment (such as the pushy real-estate agent)--doesn't usually work on film; the would-be eccentricities stick out as phony artifices. Comedy shows from television have since put a stamp on this kind of bungling silliness...but were over-the-top, frazzled-nerves-slapstick ever really fresh? Ford and Reynolds are actually a good screen match, but not when paired with this leaden script. Awkward, talky, and mercilessly unfunny. * from ****
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5/10
Flat forced comedy
st-shot3 May 2010
One would assume that a film containing murder, blackmail and pornography would have an edge to it but this Glenn Ford Debbie Reynolds vehicle plays out like a TV situation comedy most of the way, tame and broad.

Alan Nash is a befuddled television director feeling pressure from the job and a blackmailer who has nude photos of his wife Nell a Broadway star. Unable to meet the extortionist's demands he lures him to his suburban home, murders him and buries him under the gazebo. Problem is the blackmailer had associates and Nash's perfect crime begins to unravel fast.

Ford's Nash is obvious and over the top employing a lot of Keaton/Lewis slapstick to excess while Reynolds remains cutsie clueless. He has a fine opening scene as he direct's a live TV show and Reynolds has a decent song and dance number but they remain upstaged throughout by the scene stealing of John McGiver as a contractor and Mabel Albertson as a hearing challenged cleaning lady who provide this light dark comedy with the films only bright moments. Also out performing the leads is a well trained pigeon shoehorned into the story line that shows remarkable stage presence though not as tame or as dull as this torpid clunker.
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8/10
A good and fun comedy mystery
SimonJack22 August 2019
"The Gazebo" is a good comedy crime film. From the film promos, everyone knows that it's about burying a body under a gazebo. Although the comedy is light and mostly in antics, the film manages to keep one wondering about how it will end. The screenplay does a superb job of hiding the conclusion for a "happy ending" (which the promos tout) in the solving of the crime or crimes. And, there are a couple of other twists that are quite humorous.

Besides gunplay and murder, "The Gazebo" includes blackmail, breaking into a home and kidnapping among its crime menu. There aren't many funny or clever lines of dialog. The humor here is mostly situational and in the antics of Glenn Ford's character. His nervousness and anxiety begin to wear a little thin when directional changes in the plot rescue it.

Ford plays Elliott Nash, and Debbie Reynolds plays his wife, Nell. A good friend is Harlow Edison who happens to be the District Attorney. Carl Reiner plays that part well. The film has a number of other good supporting roles, and one really stands out. John McGiver plays Sam Thorpe, a slow-talking, easy going construction engineer. As the saying goes, he steals every scene he's in.

This is a good comedy and caper type of crime story. It all centers around Ford's Elliott Nash. The antics are very good. And the light-hearted suspense is fun. It could have been much funnier with better dialog. Considering that Edison and Nash had been friends, but that Nash had gotten the hand of Nell after Edison introduced them, there was plenty of room for a good deal of witty and funny dialog. Instead, the film has just a couple incidents of Nash going at Edison.

Still, this movie is fun to watch, and one the whole family should enjoy. Here are a couple of good lines from the film.

Nell Nash, "What's the matter with the toaster?" Matilda, "Nothing, except when you turn it on, the ice box defrosts."

Nell Nash, "Mr. Duke you're being a very foolhardy person. All I'd have to do right now is let loose with one good scream and you know what would happen then?" The Duke, "'Yeah. The Louse puts a slug in your head, heh, heh, heh."
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