The Dean Martin Double Feature - Who Was That Lady / How To Save A Marriage
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Throughout his long career, with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other, Dean Martin was the iconic epitome of the carefree, smooth operator. The Dean Martin Double Feature includes Who Was That Lady?, co-starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh and How to Save a Marriage (and Ruin Your Life), co-starring Stella Stevens. Dino uses his inimitable style to demonstrate what made the 60s swing with these wacky comedies of marital mix-ups.
In Who Was That Lady?, Martin stars opposite real-life husband and wife Tony Curtis (Some Like it Hot, Dont Make Waves) and Janet Leigh (Touch of Evil, Psycho). Curtis enlists the help of his friend Martin when his wife (Leigh) demands a divorce after catching him kissing one of his students. The guys cook up a cover story that Curtis is working undercover for the FBI, and that the kiss was part of a sting to catch a spy. The gullible Leigh buys the wild fabrication and later, unwittingly touches off a melee that is filmed by TV news crews. Some real Russian spies assume Curtis really is an FBI agent, and kidnap the trio, which kick starts a series of madcap plot twists. Directed by George Sidney, the film also stars Barbara Nichols, Larry Storch and Joi Lansing.
Martin also headlines the bedroom farce How to Save a Marriage (and Ruin Your Life). Single, swinging lawyer David Sloane (Martin) tries to circumvent his friend Harrys extramarital affair by romancing his secretary, Carol. However, David has seduced the wrong woman; Harry has actually been fooling around with Muriel. When David tells Harry that he's stolen his mistress, Harry isn't sure what's going on, but the message has the intended effect, and Harry patches things up with his wife Mary. But when Carol and Muriel compare notes, they decide that something is fishy, and the two draw up a series of demands Muriel insists that Harry leave Mary and marry her, while Carol wants David to make it legal with her. Directed by Fielder Cook, the film also stars Jack Albertson and Shelley Morrison (TVs Will & Grace).
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Honestly, I'd only seen "Who Was That Lady" probably once in my life and I loved it then, but never saw it again until I caught the basement scene while flipping through the cable channels and I scrambled to hit the "info" button to catch the name of the movie - which was ordered immediately. The dbl feature was cheaper than the single DVD and I got "HOW TO SAVE...", which I'd never seen before.
"Who Was That Lady" is really funny, as Tony Curtis gets railroaded into doing even more stupid things by an overbearing and excessively creative Dean Martin in an effort to save his marriage. I'd forgotten most of the plot and was delighted to see how well plotted and constructed the storyline was. Probably the most prominent memory I had, and anticipated avidly, was the scene between Tony Curtis and Larry Storch (as a Russian spy) where Storch is interrogating a drugged Curtis and gets him to cry.
I'd forgotten the entire subplot with James Whitmore as the investigating FBI agent who first contacts Tony Curtis's wife, Janet Leigh. His angst at what Curtis and Dean had done was comic genius.
"How to Save a Marriage" was new to me and I was subtly disappointed with the ease at which Stella Stevens accepted the role of mistress. Maybe my own naivete is showing, but this was 1968 and everyone seemed so laid back about it. Otherwise, the true "target" of Martin's efforts was a really nice woman in a seemingly nice relationship with a married man - the man that Martin is trying to prove that his mistress isn't sincere at all.
All that aside, it was a good movie - aside from my own reservations on the morality of it, or lack of, and I enjoyed the conclusion. Four stars from me.
I enjoyed the film as I had never seen it before.
Then the second feature "How To Save A Marriage" again it's fun. I see both films as Martin & Lewis films. If the duo had stayed together and developed beyond their "act". Because both are fine actors. There is even some slight social commentary in this very clever comedy and the colors are amazing! This double feature is a good deal and I really enjoyed both films. A must for Dino
Curtis is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University who is caught by his wife kissing a foreign exchange student. Martin is his best friend who's a writer at CBS who cooks up a hare-brained scheme to convince the wife that her boring husband is a top FBI agent.
With the CBS prop department providing FBI credentials and a revolver, the game is afoot. When the prop master realizes that the FBI credentials were not being used for a show, he contacts the FBI.
James Whitmore plays the stoic FBI agent who investigates. Of course he gets involved with the antics of Curtis and Martin, especially at the Chinese restaurant with shots fired and television news cameras rolling.
The ending in the basement of the Empire State Building is classic. This black and white 115-minute vehicle delivers a great time if you are into old comedies. Picture and sound quality are excellent. 4 stars
HOW TO SAVE A MARRIAGE (And Ruin Your Life) is a classic battle of the sexes. Dean Martin finds himself embroiled in the battle when he attempts to help his old army buddy save his marriage.
Mistaken identify leads Martin to assume that Stella Stevens is the mistress of his army buddy, Eli Wallach. Martin sets out to woo Stevens in order to save Wallach's marriage.
Of course Wallach's mistress is Anne Jackson (his wife in real life) who lives next door to Stevens. A comedy of errors follows for both men.
Betty Field is wonderful as Thelma, the landlady, whose cynical attitude rubs off on Stevens and Jackson. She has a special moment near the end of the film which is pure irony.
One of the best comedic scenes happens in a church cemetery. It is hysterical.
New York City is the setting. Michael Legrand's music suits this film well, especially the song--Winds of Change--with the Ray Conniff Singers. It's one of those late 60s romantic songs which is fitting for this late 60s romantic comedy. Picture and sound quality are excellent. 4 stars
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