Wednesday, 11 January 2012

SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL (1964) "LA PÍCARA SOLTERA"

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Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall, Mel Ferrer, Frank Jeffries, Leslie Parrish, Edward Everett Horton, Larry Storch, Otto Kruger, Barbara Bouchet. Director: Richard Quine


 












CRITICA EN EL PERIODICO "ABC DE MADRID" (21-4-1965)
Para la graciosa película de Richard Quine, con ese tono de comedia a la americana tan grato de contemplar, con estupenda factura material y sin mayores ambiciones, se dio con un grupo de intérpretes que son su mejor adorno. En "La pícara soltera" anda Tony Curtis con sus alegres desvergüenzas; Natalie Wood, actriz encantadora, que le lleva el dúo a Curtis con preciosa desenvoltura; Henry Fonda y Lauren Bacall, maduros ya en su larga historia artística, que hacen una pareja veterana, desavenida y reñidora con una carga muy ingeniosa de matices cómicos. Está Mel Ferrer, suelto de compromisos femeninos "girovagante" de una en otra con esa aplomada soltura que le es habitual. Y aún asoma la estampa de nuestro viejo amigo Edwar Everet Horton, veterano de obras importantes y lejanas que trae con él un montón de recuerdos antiguos. "La picara soltera" es una obra alegre y enredadora, montada sobre ese ligero armazón intranscendente y vistoso en el que suelen ser maestros los realizadores americanos "La picara soltera", espléndida de fotografía, de escenarios, de movimiento, de chispeante bullicio, de ingenio cómico somero, pero de ruidosa eficacia, rumbea por ese mundo fácil y rico del horizonte americano de hoy, donde todo se mecaniza hasta un punto increíble de inocentes y graciosas complicaciones. Richard Quine y su grupo de artistas resbalan sin tropiezo en una sonriente cuesta abajo por las brillantes y ligeras imágenes de su película. Gabriel GARCÍA ESPINA



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I actually find this scatterbrained 1964 comedy a surprisingly amusing screwball farce all these years later despite its titillating title. So apparently does director Peyton Reed since he based most of his 2004 comic pastiche, "Down with Love", on the storyline of this movie and less so on any of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson romps of the same era. Regardless, they all have the same brew of conjugal misunderstandings, mistaken identities and leering though never explicit sexuality because those were the days when a woman's virtue would never be compromised for anyone but the right man. Directed by the heavy-handed Richard Quine ("Paris When It Sizzles") and written by Joseph Heller (later the author of "Catch-22") and David R. Schwartz, this ridiculous comedy benefits from a game cast headed by Tony Curtis still riding high from "Some Like It Hot" (which is referred to for easy laughs in the story) and Natalie Wood who shows her comedy chops with dexterity here. Curtis plays Bob Weston, a sleazy magazine writer for a men's magazine whose editors are intent on exposing Dr. Helen Gurley Brown as a fraud as a sex expert. Author of the best-selling "Sex and the Single Girl", Brown is not at all the clench-jawed celebrity author who wrote the real book and appeared on "The Tonight Show" constantly. Instead, she is a gorgeous, intellectually prodigious 23-year-old who extols female empowerment in the bedroom. Showing off his moral depravity, Weston steals the marital woes of her next-door neighbors, pantyhose magnate Frank Broderick and his acerbic wife Sylvia, and comes to see Dr. Brown as a patient. The rest is predictable but still a good amount of fun. Curtis was still at the top of his game here showing how he can easily elicit laughs from such a vile manipulator, but it's Wood who surprises as Brown. Displaying a nervous but infectious energy that feeds nicely into the two sides of the doctor, she is funny and sexy in a way that she could never quite balance as well again in her career. Witness the hilariously conflicted drunken scene in her apartment for evidence of her talent. Quine was smart to cast three sharp stars in the key supporting roles - Henry Fonda as the put-upon Frank browbeaten into a sad man by Lauren Bacall pulling all the stops as the shrewish basket case Sylvia is, and Mel Ferrer as Brown's somewhat ambiguous colleague. Add a sultry Fran Jeffries who performs two numbers (including the title tune) for no apparent reason except to sell records, an even sexier Leslie Parrish ("The Manchurian Candidate") as Weston's secretary, and a genuinely funny extended car chase scene, and you have the makings of an under-appreciated sex comedy. The 2009 DVD, part of the six-disc "The Natalie Wood Collection", includes a Warner Brothers cartoon ("Nelly's Folly") and the original theatrical trailer.