Sunday, May 27, 2018

Movie Review: That Touch of Mink

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Lots of laughs in the first half.
Cons: The second half drags quite a bit
The Bottom Line:
60’s comedy
With a wonderful first half
But bad second half

“His Car Almost Ran Me Down This Morning.”  “What a Way to Go.”

While I don’t know when I will get to it, the second Madison Night book is on my radar.  And since these book titles borrow from Doris Day movies (the main character herself is a huge Doris Day fan), I am trying to watch the movies first.  That’s what brought me to That Touch of Mink.  I thought it started out well but went downhill in the third act.

As the movie opens, Philip Shayne (Cary Grant), is being driven in his car.  He accidentally splashes a woman, Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day).  Cathy is already having a bad day since she is unemployed and heading to a job interview later that day.  While Philip isn’t able to apologize at the moment, he sends his financial advisor, Roger (Gig Young), when they spot Cathy later.  Cathy is insulted and sets out to give Philip a piece of her mind…until she sees him.

The two set out on a whirlwind first date that ends with a proposal…to take a vacation together.  There’s just one problem, Cathy is waiting for marriage, and Philip isn’t at all interested in marriage.  Cathy’s roommate Connie (Audrey Meadows) is constantly telling Cathy to be careful.  But will she go on the trip?

The movie actually starts out very well.  The banter between the leads is fun, and I really enjoyed a scene with the Yankees.  I was smiling, laughing, and rooting for the leads to figure things out.

But about half way through, the film took a turn, and I can’t quite figure out what went wrong.  Maybe the humor had just worn out its welcome or I was looking for character growth I didn’t see.  That leads up to a rather ludicrous climax.  Again, I see how it is supposed to be funny, I just didn’t find it funny.

This is the early 1960’s, and attitudes and standards were changing.  There are some innuendos and jokes in this film that were daring for the time but mild by today’s standards.  It is amazing how times have changed, in both good and bad ways.  Heck, the whole premise of the movie wouldn’t work in a movie today.  Cathy would be mocked mercilessly for her idea of waiting until marriage, and Philip would never think about leaving her alone because of her standards.

Despite my issues with the second half, the actors are all fantastic.  They bright these characters to life perfectly and capture the tone of each scene.  Whether it’s banter or physical comedy, they never miss a beat.

It’s a shame the charm of the first doesn’t hold true the entire way through.  If it did, That Touch of Mink would be a fun time capsule to a different era.

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