New York tourist Tony Curtis falls asleep on a Southern California beach on his first night in the West and wakes up to The New Phantasmagoria--catamarans, surfers (including a dog), bodybuilders, acrobats, motorcycle chicken races, a nut fishing in the shallows . . . and Sharon Tate as a skydiver named Malibu who gives Curtis the rapture of artificial respiration when he is conked on the head by a flying surfboard. This is the '60s American Dream: youth and beauty and money and sex in Southern California. Go west, all men.Written by
'Don't Make Waves' was hardly one of those films that was doomed from the outset. Tony Curtis' film career was spotty but he was always appealing enough, and the same can be said for Claudia Cardinale. Sharon Tate in my predictions would have become a bigger star if she hadn't been so brutally murdered in one of the most shocking mass murder sprees in history. Also like to love Alexander Mackendrick's previous work, especially 'Sweet Smell of Success' and 'The Ladykillers'.
While it is watchable enough and has some good things, 'Don't Make Waves' didn't really do much for me regrettably. Curtis' career was, or at least his film choices were, particularly hit and miss at this time of which this was a middling project for him, and as far as Mackendrick's films go 'Don't Make Waves' is a lesser effort of his and not a particular fair representation of him. Actually find it a little sad that a promising director ended his film directing career on what is actually a contender for his worst film.
There are certainly good things here. The film looks great (excepting the more stock moments not always being seamlessly incorporated), very artfully shot without trying to be overly clever and quite vibrant. The music is quite infectious, easy on the ears and doesn't feel tacky or like it belong, while the title song epitomises charm. 'Don't Make Waves' starts off very promisingly, very good-natured and amusing.
It also finishes great, the climactic sliding house sequence is quite thrilling and holds up impressively. The cast do more than gamely, while Curtis is very likeable and Cardinale likewise the one that makes the biggest impression is Tate, who is both sensual and witty.
However, 'Don't Make Waves' is pretty all over the place when it comes to the story. The mishmash of genres, some meandering aimlessness and quite muddled structure gave off a weirdly wacky feel and rather suggestive of the film never being sure what it wanted to be. The pace can suffer too, it starts off great and it picks up in the climactic moments but in between the energy sags. Some of the pace is fine, some of it is dull, while there are still amusing moments between the start and climax in some places the strangeness gets a bit over the top.
Also felt that Mackendrick's direction was disappointing pedestrian and only workmanlike in its best moments. There are some good-natured and witty moments in the script, but too much of it falls on the wrong side of cheesy. The rest of the cast other than the mentioned three never rise above just getting the job done level.
Summing up, not bad but not particularly good. 5/10
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