Friday, March 06, 2009

MOVIES: #26 If A Man Answers

We've already established that a french accent makes ANY actress all the more alluring. Age does not matter (mostly). It also helps to have a pretty young thing, accent not required, to fan the flames of ardor as well. For my 26th most favourite movie of the last century, I offer 1962's If A Man Answers.

It's your basic rich girl meets and marries photographer plot. Ex-Gidget Sandra Dee moves out of the teen world to hitch up with Bobby Darrin, still then the darling crooner for the teen world. Enter the mother of Sandra Dee's character, Chantal. Micheline Presle's Germaine Stacy is all that makes French women so wonderful. She's beautiful, composed and possessor of a secret book for making happy marriages. (too bad it didn't really exist in real life for both Dee and Darrin)

This 'secret' book inspires howls of laughter as Germaine instructs her daughter on the art of keeping her husband happy and the marriage solid. Chantal fights the very idea of the 'instruction' manual, which is indeed ludicrous on first thought. But as the various instructions in the book lead to more and more happiness, the viewer starts to wonder if they are on to something. It's certainly the opposite of He's Just Not That Into You and other forms of the anti-relationship books that tend to clog up the book shelves at stores. In fact, modern-day feminists would go cuckoo over the mere idea floated by the movie.

But it works to entertain and create chuckles. I never quite understood Darrin's fame. He was a good singer and acted ... well, cool WAS the word of the time. But he wasn't exactly leading man material in my mind. On the other hand, Dee was delightful and beautiful and pouted as well as anybody has ever done. And then there was Presle. Add in Cesar Romero hamming it up in a dual role and entering the picture at a critical time for turn about fair play, and you have a great time filler.

Lastly, I mentioned earlier in the week that my first boy would have been named Temujin Daniel Mugford. The girl's name would have been Chantal Marie Mugford. Two great names, still free for use by others.

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