Saturday, June 3, 2023

New Arrrivals to Clyde’s Movie Palace 5/25/2023 – 6/3/2023

Some long-awaited 4k films and Blu-rays have been delivered to my theater in the past week or maybe a little longer. A few were preorders, and some were catalog titles I caught on sale here and there, many of which I have never seen for one reason or another. A few are films I never had heard of but bought them on sale after checking out whether they might be worth spending some time with and possibly relaying my thoughts on what I had witnessed back to the two or three people who might wander in here to what my late brother and the biggest fan called “The World’s Greatest Blog” operated by “The World’s Greatest Movie Reviewer.” My brother was such a clown.

The Longest YardOf the movies I received on 4k, The Longest Yard (1974) 4k was tops on my list, with another one being a close second. I had pre-ordered it from Best Buy at the end of April, with a release date of May 16th. 
I used to do most of my pre-orders from Amazon. One of their more stupid CSR’s royally pissed me off for her inability to fix what should have been a simple problem. I began making my purchases elsewhere, like Best Buy and Target, and buying directly from what I call Boutique Sellers such as Shout Factory, Arrow Video (which has just now delayed my order of The Last Starfighter on 4k), Kino Lorber and Vinegar Syndrome.

As it turned out, despite pre-ordering The Longest Yard way early, I didn’t get it on the release date as Best Buy promised. It didn’t arrive until June 1st, two weeks later. But this is not terribly unusual. I sometimes had the same problem when I would pre-order a Kino, Shout Factory, or other specialty labels from Amazon. Still, that long of a delay is irritating.”

I’ll probably be reviewing The Longest Yard in a Clyde’s Movie Palace article. Suppose you’ve ever seen the Adam Sandler remake, as I had the misfortune to have done. In that case, I recommend you return to the original starring Burt Reynolds and Eddie Albert and stay away from Sandler’s poor man version. The original seems quite popular as Amazon now lists a one to four-week wait to receive the item. Strangely, there was never a domestic Bluray release of the movie, so if you don’t have 4k, a regular Bluray is included with your purchase. And isn’t that a nifty cover?

The Nutty ProfessorJerry Lewis made only a handful of movies I consider worth your time. I’m referring to his solo efforts, not his pairings with Dean Martin which I must revisit if I can stay alive long enough. I, Like many others, consider The Nutty Professor (1963) to be one of his best movies (But not my favorite. My heart belongs to Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958)) and probably his only solo effort that has a message worthwhile. Unless you count Cinderfella, which sort of has a message. That message is to watch the animated Disney version instead. But I’ll be reviewing it in depth at some point.

The 4k film comes from The Paramount Presents catalog titles, and whoever is in charge of that division has been doing a bang-up job lately with unexpected 4k releases such as this, Red Eye, Double Jeopardy, Blue Hawaii, War of the Worlds, Flashdance and 48 Hours.

Speaking of Cinderfella, I bought the 50th Anniversary edition of The Nutty Professor on Bluray in 2014, and one of the extras was a Cinderfella DVD. Good luck finding that special edition now, as it lists for over a hundred dollars on Amazon. 
Nutty Professor Collector's Edition

The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) finally gets a Blue Ray Release from Warner Archives. I bought the original DVD many years ago. I have intended to give a viewing in Clyde's Theater and then write one of my wordy reviews (sort of like what this mess of an article is turning into) just for you. It's a movie I like, but it has its flaws. One flaw it doesn't have is Ronny Howard stealing every scene he is in. He's absolutely charming.
Courtship of Eddie's Father

And what can I say about Shirley Jones? She is always one of my favorites, whether playing a prostitute in Elmer Gantry (1960), a librarian in The Music Man (1962), or the mother of a family rock band in The Partridge Family (1970-1974) . I bought the DVD eons ago, and am happy to replace it with this Bluray.In 2005, I was writing a fictional story for The Sims 2. The story, Laurie and Dag, centered on the lives of two sisters and was a sequel to The Kid and Me, another tale I had written in that format. I ended up cribbing the plot for about a third of my story. I didn’t make a secret of the fact that I was “paying homage” (as Quentin Tarantino might tell you). Suppose you were so inclined (which you aren’t) to read it, along with the illustrations from The Sims. In that case, it still exists on the internet, but you’ll have to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat to find Laurie and Dag. I don’t give out that link because people claim they will read it but never do. And besides, I’ve been in the process of rewriting that novella for about three years, without the part cribbed from Eddie’s Father.  Black Christmas

I also picked up three 4k releases in a sale at Shout Factory, and the deal was the main reason I added them to my library. Although I bought many 4k movies at that location upon release, I try to stick to the sales these days because funds are low, and I have to watch my wallet more carefully.

I picked up two horror movies and one Christmas Movie that does double duty as a horror film. I believe that one can never have enough Holiday material in their library.

Return of the Living DeadMy late brother felt the same way, although on a Thanksgiving visit to his home just before he passed away, the entertainment on his TV was Chips, one of the worst movies I have now had the utmost misfortune to run across. However, it wasn’t my brother Paul who had put that shit on. It was his daughter and son-in-law’s choice of holiday entertainment. Being a wise one, my brother was out on the porch.       

The three movies I picked up were,
They Live (1988), Black Christmas (1974), and Return of the Living Dead (1985). I've seen all three. I've always thought that Black Christmas was a fun horror ride for a movie made in 1974. It also stars OliviaThey Live Hussey from Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Keir Dullea from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I know I’ve seen They Live and Return of the Dead many blue moons ago.  I remember that Return had a comedic touch.  I don’t have a fond memory of They Live but I’m told by other cult collector’s that I’m wrong.  They might be right as I don’t remember anything about it at all except it stars that great athlete and thespian, Rowdy Roddy Piper.  When I watch it I’ll let you know. 

Maze RunnerI also picked up some movies from The Disney Movie Club. I preordered Avatar 4K and Avatar: The Way of Water 4k and only paid the full price for one of them. I always try to pick up some others for my library when ordering a new release since they will either be 60 percent off (you pay the shipping) or 50 percent off (free shipping). Once you fulfill your initial agreement, The Movie Club can be quite a bargain, but you have to play your cards right. This time I picked up Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper, The Help, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001), The Maze Runner Trilogy, and Lilo & Stitch: The Two Movie Collection.

HelpI saw the first Maze Runner Movie and didn’t care about it. But my youngest son, who lives across the country in Virginia Land, has been pushing me to get it, as he claims it’s not as bad as some people say. I’ve had it in and out of my shopping cart at Disneyland, mostly out. But this time, it was a good bargain at $14.98.

The Help is one of those movies I have been meaning to buy and watch, so I finally picked it up from Disney. Yeah, they have movies like that and the usual fair, like Snow White and Cinderella.

The Muppet Films are the ones that I’ve wanted in my collection for a long time. I always say you can never have enough Muppet stuff in your life. I have never thought The Great Muppet Caper was even close to the original The Muppet Movie in quality, but it’s good enough. I haven’t seen Muppet Treasure Island, but you can’t go wrong with Kermit and the Pig.

People are constantly bugging me to give Lilo & Stitch a chance, so I guess that’s what I will do now. If it does not live up to what all those people insist it is, I will look those people up, and I will find them, and they will pay.

The ReiversThe rest of the films on Bluray I acquired this week came from Kino Lorber and their never-ending While Supplies Last sale. I was surprised that Steve McQueen’s The Reivers was on the list, and being a big McQueen fan, I snatched it up. The problem with this movie is the title, which is hardly the kind of title you give a movie you want people to watch. However, I’ve heard good things about it, and I’ll let you know whenever I get to it.

The rest of the movies I obtained from that sale were blind buys. It’s an eternal lesson that old films are new if you’ve never seen them. If I had seen them, I’d undoubtedly have forgotten about them long ago.Beachhead

So how do I choose? Generally, I look at the actors and plot and try to find reviews of the film elsewhere. Suppose they have actors I like a lot, such as McQueen, Tony Curtis, Anthony Hawkins, Betty Grable, and Barbra Stanwyck. In that case, it goes a long way toward whether I’ll be on the sly or head to the checkout lane.

They won’t all be winners, but once in my library, you’re there to stay, at least for now. When I’m dead and gone, my wife, who has never been into my Film on Discs Odyssey, could have the final say on their disposition. Actually, there’s a bunch I’d put on eBaThe House That Would Not Diey if I could figure out the ins and outs. I have a ton of old DVD’s I’d almost give away, so bring a truck and haul them off.

If you want to check out my current bluray/4k libraries, check them out here. You’ll also find listed a few of my TV series, which I add occasionally. Here are the rest of the films I picked up at Kino and two more of the Disney ones.  Click on any picture or link if you’re interested in adding them to your at home library.



Green CardThe Beautiful Blond From Bashful BendWhen Eight Bells TollThe Vikings

Prince of FoxesLiloPlanet of the Apes

Thursday, June 1, 2023

From the Prison Theater of Clyde’s Movie Palace: Fun With Dick and Jane (1977)

Dick and Jane MarqueeDick and Jane Cast


Fun With Dick and Jane (1977)
is a film I first saw when it was released in the 70's, 46 years ago. I thought it was funny then, and watching it again in my home theater last night, it hasn't lost a bit of its charm (if that's what you want to call it).

The movie was remade in 2005 as a vehicle for Jim Carrey that I quickly discarded after having seen it once. The Carrey remake was trying to be too relevant. At the same time, the 1977 version starring Jane Fonda and George Segal was just intent on being ridiculous and implausible, but funny as hell. 

Dick is a hot shot engineer at Taft Aero Space who helped put (as his boss Charlie Blanchard played by Ed McMahon, puts it) "Neil and what's his name on the moon."  Fun With Dick and Jane

Dick and Jane Harper live in a lovely two-story house with a new heated swimming pool in the process of being installed in the backyard, a professionally landscaped and manicured lawn, a dog named Spot (of course), and their young son Billy (Sean Frye). They are the epitome of living the good life, and although Dick excels at his job, made possible by his college education, you know that these people have never known the struggles of the blue-collar working class and poverty is nothing more to them than a word that might come up in a game of Scrabble or what Billy might see on The Walton's. The Harpers are the very definition of living the good life.

Poor, like the Waltons
We suspect there's trouble afoot long before Dick is aware of it. Names on the parking bumpers at Taft's Headquarters are being painted over, employees greet him as if they know something he doesn't, and when Dick meets with his boss, Charlie is three sheets to the wind.

While Dick tries to explain how he's going to reorganize his department, Charlie lowers the boom:

Charley: What do you say we talk turkey? Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!  (Laughing) I was just talking turkey. Dick, I always thought you were the kind of guy I didn't have to bullshit.

Dick: I'm glad to hear that.

Charley: Can I level with you?

Dick: Sure.

Charley: I mean, really level? 

Dick: Charlie, you can tell me anything.

Charlie: You're fired!  (Laughing hysterically) I must have fired 50 people today, and that's the first time I did it like that. The first time I ever said like, "You're Fired." 

Dick: (Still not catching on) Practice makes perfect."

Charley: No, I shouldn't have done that. It's just that I'm sick of all the bullshit.

Dick: (finally catching on) Wait a minute. You're serious?

Charley: Would I kid a pal?

Dick: No jokes, Charley. You're really firing me?

Now you're catching on, Dick. Some people think they're invincible, and when they do, drunken conniving louts like Charlie Blanchard, who tries to force himself on your wife, bring the hammer down. (You'll see.)

You're Firedvlcsnap-2023-06-01-13h39m10s450    

Butt Pinching
But how bad can it be? With his experience and college education, it should be no problem for Dick to find employment. Maybe the Harper Family will have to scrimp on a few things, such as not heating the pool, Billy and Jane will have to give up their ski lessons, no more French wines at home for Dick, no new drum set for Billy, and Jane will drop the book of the month club! Such hardships!

But you, I, and everybody else in this movie know that in the 70's, the aerospace industry was in the shitter. If that's the job you were educated and trained to do, then you were up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

The manicured lawn and landscape are repossessed, and the pool remains unfinished. Not saving for a rainy day, having made rather bad investments (unsecured municipal debentures), and with Dick spending $1000 on lunches (Jane: If I were Diner's Club, I'd have your stomach bronzed.) Jane finally does the math and concludes that giving up French Wine and Billy's drums isn't much help.

Jane takes over the finances, ordering Dick to go on unemployment and apply for the food stamp program while she gets a job. Dick, as we find out, is quite the chauvinist.
Stomach Bronzed and in the Hall of Fame

Dick: May I ask, no offense, mind you...What do you think you're qualified to do? Secretary of the Treasury seems to be filled.

Jane: There must be lots of things I can do.

Dick: You never worked a day in your life. You can't type, and you can't take shorthand.

Jane: I'm a college graduate, reasonably intelligent. Not altogether unattractive.

Dick: Yes, but will you be happy being a hooker?

Jane: Interesting that the only jobs you considered me qualified for are secretary and hooker.

Dick: You're not qualified to be a secretary.

When his back is against the wall, Dick can be a real asshole. His deprecatory comments towards Jane while doing nothing on his own to improve their situation and making one excuse after another regarding his part in the fiasco prove that. There's also an uncomfortable scene in the unemployment office where he is caught making very bigoted remarks regarding gay and trans people that thankfully come back to bite him in the ass. 

Jane's first day at work is a disaster. Dick gets his unemployment, gets picked up for being an illegal alien, and then promptly loses his unemployment checks for trying to beat the system. Dick does get a job interview at home; unfortunately, at the same time, the landscaping company comes to repossess their indoor plants. Jane tries to borrow money from her parents, but they are such jerks that you'd have thought they were Dick's parents instead. They turn her down, of course, and if you think things couldn't get worse, you were wrong, then right.

Having no other choice, Dick and Jane go to a high-interest loan company where they manage to secure a loan for $1000. As they leave with their cash, the loan company is held up by armed robbers, who slam Dick in the gut with a rifle butt and take Jane hostage. But it's not as bad as you think, as the ever-resourceful Jane manages to escape and confiscate while Dick decides that sometimes crime does pay and pay well.

Hold UpOf course, it doesn't always pay well in real life unless your name is Donald Trump, so don't get any ideas, kiddies.

The movie kicks into high gear with this change in attitude, and because initially, Dick is inept at his new chosen profession, they eventually get it right, enabling them to get their electricity back on, their lawn back, and their swimming. What is this life of crime? Sort of like Bonnie and Clyde without the violence or the killing. But stealing from the phone company is one thing; stealing from Jeebus is something else entirely. You'll see. 

Bonnie and Clyde


George Segal does a masterful job of switching back and forth between being inept, amusing, and sometimes mean without having you get irritated. It's comedic genius.

Fonda says she only did the film to finance her husband's political campaign, Tom Hayden, but it worked out. I have no clue whether she appreciates the movie for what it is years later. But she's excellent in it. Fonda manages to be both funny and sarcastic at the same time while being amused by the antics of Dick. She not only keeps everything grounded, but towards the end, she comes up with an utterly devilish plan for one last caper that is as good as a movie-wrap-up gets.

And Ed McMahon should have been out there playing more roles, such as the creep he plays here. Ed was always good in films like this when he was allowed to play something other than a sidekick selling Alpo.

I always have liked this film, and watching it again on the big screen in my home theater was no exception. It is available as a Sony Bluray MOD or as a digital file from Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, or Google Play.

Even if you only rent the film, I think it's well worth the investment, so I give it a solid B+.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bye bye Netflix. Go screw over the stupid people



After having been a user of Netflix in one way or another for over ten years, I canceled the service yesterday. As of June 3, it will no longer stream in my house, and I’m sure I won’t miss it. It took the latest price increase for me to take action because this shitty greedy move by Netflix made me stop and do some math.
I was on the most expensive plan because if you have a decent home theater, you will want to watch in 4k. Netflix was charging way more than any other service for high-quality streaming, except for YouTube TV or HuluTV, both being nothing more than cable on the internet.
I’ve only watched two shows on Netflix in the past year. The first was Stranger Things which I binge-watched at the urging of my youngest son. And the other one was Wednesday because of the awesome things I’d been hearing about it. It’ll probably be over a year before either series is ready to continue, and even when they do, it’s doubtful I’ll be re-enlisting into the Netflix Army of mesmerized overcharged lemmings again.
My youngest son lived with us for quite a while before heading to the east coast to live. He was on my Netflix plan and had been for many years. So basically, it was my wife and I, along with him, that were using the service, and other than the two series listed above, I was hardly watching at all.
To keep my son on my plan would add another $8.00 to my bill bringing it to just under $30 for the three of us. I finally realized that people who stream Netflix and only have two or three people in the household are the ones taking it on the chin. By that, I mean if Tom and Susie Smith have a large brood because they hate condoms or have granny and grandpappy living with them along with homeless Cousin Eddy and his clan, they’re paying the same $20 for a shitload of people that I have to pay for just my three viewers. And now Netflix wants me to spend another 8 dollars, whereas I’ll be paying much more for that Smith family crowded into some trailer park in Ohio? Screw them.
And, if I hear one more bugger telling me I’m cheap, I think I’ll drive to his house and personally shove a math lesson down his throat. And if another corporate lap licking butt kissing lemming tries to tell me I’m a thief for having my son on there, I may punch him in the nose.
Do you know who the thief is? Those large corrals of families who I’ve been subsidizing with my three users all these years. And Netflix. Netflix is sticking it to many people, but in this country, people are just too stupid to get it.
And by the way, I pay $139 a year for Amazon Prime, and Netflix at $20 a month is $240 a year, and if you add on the extra $8, that’s another $96. For my $139, I get free shipping regardless of what I buy, free streaming music, and at least one free Kindle Book a month if I would like to do so.
So Goodbye Netflix. Take your $8 and shove it up your butt.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

From Clyde’s Movie Palace Out on Lake Wakapoogee: Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964)

I am not a fisherman. That is not to say I've never been fishing. I have on numerous occasions taken my rod and reel in hand and headed to a nearby lake or stream to enjoy the great pleasures that nature has to bestow upon us as I'd sit idly under some shady oak tree for three or four hours, hoping my wiggly slimy night crawler would offer up his life for that evening's dinner, so the catch of the day could be fried to a deep tasty golden brown over an open fire. Sounds great, doesn't it? Too bad it's all bullshit. I never really cared for the sport. I was just never any good at it. I couldn't snag an old tennis shoe, rusty 1925 license plate, or some castoff chunk of Goodyear out of the river.

I did scoot off to some local pond a few times with a couple of neighbor's kids way back in the times of the ancients, but only because they just wanted someone along. I had no fishing equipment, and they usually gave me some crappy old cane poles to dip in the water. Needless to say, I never caught anything. My only consolation? Neither did they, except for a blue gill or two weighing about an ounce, two at the most.

My dad? Forget it. I'm unsure if he knew anything about fishing, but if he did, he never told me about it. I never saw him tickle a rod-and-reel the way he could tickle the ivories on a keyboard. I feel he probably had a low opinion of the sport. I know his brother fished because my cousin posted a father/son picture of them together on a fishing trip on Facebook.

Things were different after I was married to my wife, Numero Uno. She loved to fish, as did my ex-old best friend, Fred. So I learned to look like I knew what I was doing. And I think I even managed to catch a few. The problem was that they had to be cleaned before being eaten. And guess who got stuck with that chore? And I couldn't do it in the sink in the house because my ex-wife didn't care for the mess or the smell. She was a neatness freak. The ashtrays in our house were cleaned after every single cigarette. Both of us were smokers, but we had the cleanest butt depositories in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the last batch of fish that we caught together, I took outside. I was gutting them when attacked by the most enormous swarm of blood-sucking mosquitoes you'd ever want to see. In fact, I expected Irwin Allen to come popping out around the corner with his camera crew at any second. Seriously. I managed to finish the task, but it was also the last time I ever went fishing. That would have been about forty years ago. I don't miss it and have no desire to revisit that chapter in my life, so I now live out in the desert.

Another point I want to make here is that with all the information now available on the internet, one could quickly gather up enough knowledge and write their own treatise on just about anything and make people believe they are experts on various subjects. It's not like you'd be Milli Vanilli out on stage lip-synching before thousands.

Screenshot-105A few years back, when I wrote a fictional story about a gay teen growing up and coming to terms with her sexual identity, I wanted to be sure that particular part of the story was factually based.

So I spent hours and hours researching and finding out what I could. I know it was just a Sims story. Still, my whole motivation for getting it right was because of all the misinformation being plastered in one story after another that was being uploaded to The Sims 2 web pages. I wasn’t trying to pass myself off as an expert on gay lifestyles. Still, I needed my fictional story to have a basis in reality.

Suppose I wanted to write a non-fictional book about how you could become the best damn fisherman living. Would it be that difficult to pull it off in this day and age of speedy research? There’s hardly any information one can’t obtain on the Internet. If I re-phrased and re-worded everything, I might get away with it. If I got stumped, I could always call my cousin in Ohio to help me out. I could even take some of my cousin’s Facebook pictures and photoshop myself in for effect. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. And then maybe I could sell it as a Kindle download for about $3.00 a pop.

So let’s pretend there were no Google, Wikipedia, or Bing. It would be a lot tougher to pull off such a stunt. But it could still be done if one read enough books on the subject or knew enough fishermen who were somewhat knowledgeable and willing to let you pick their brain. In that case, you just might be able to get by. You could then take everything you learned and put it into a bestselling guide on how to become a champion fisherman.

Submitted for your approval the case of one Roger Willoughby (Rock Hudson). Willoughby works in an Abercrombie and Fitch outlet located in California. No, he doesn’t sell over-hyped, sexually provocative clothing to teenagers carousing in and out of the mall. Until 1976, A&F sold overpriced sporting equipment for hunting and fishing excursions to old farts like me who meander along just about anywhere. Willoughby is the head honcho in charge of the fishing department. He is so knowledgeable about angling and anglers that he’s even written a bestselling guide called Fishing Made Simple. If he were to write the same book today, it would be called Fishing For Dummies.
Fishermen come into the store to ask Willoughby’s advice on everything from the essential equipment, lures, the correct bait, the best casting method, the best places to fish, and what fish to try and catch on any given day. Some, like Major Phipps (Roscoe Karns), swear by Willoughby’s book. When preparing to enter a fishing tournament at nearby Lake Wakapoogee, he goes directly to Roger for help.

Willoughby is more than willing to help the Major right after he gets the correct information from another customer who coincidentally happens to be fishing at the same lake where the fishing tournament is to be held. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, especially since any sportsman worth their salt would want the latest updated information: The fish of the day is trout, caught between ten and eleven in the morning with a water temperature of 68 degrees just below the surface starting with a Colorado Spinner and ending with a Super Duper. See, I’m an expert!

Willoughby’s sales pitch is interrupted when he is called to the office of the store’s owner and fussbudget, William Cadwalader (John McGiver). Waiting for him, along with his boss, are two attractive women, Abigail Page (Paula Prentiss) and Isolde ‘Easy’ Mueller (Maria Perschy). Isolde is the daughter of the owner of the lodge at Lake Wakapoogee, and Abigail is the Director of Public Relations. Having met the pair earlier in the day when they stole his parking place, causing him to get a ticket and be late for work, Willoughby is none too happy to get reacquainted. Roger is even less happy when he finds out that Abigail has sweet-talked Cadwalader into ordering him to fish in the upcoming tournament at Lake Wakapoogee.
Unable to convince the two ladies that he has an excellent reason for not participating, it becomes necessary for Willoughby to let the cat out of the bag. Roger can’t enter the tournament because he has never fished. And since he can’t fish, there is no way that Abigail and Easy should want him as their celebrity fisherman.   But it doesn’t matter.

Abigail sees no problem as being completely insurmountable. After accusing Willoughby of being a phony and a fraud, she blackmails him into going to Lake Wakapoogee to participate in the tournament despite his shortcomings by threatening to reveal his secret, which would cause him to be fired.

My question is, if Abigail can get on her moral high horse and accuse Willoughby of being a fake, what does that make Abigail who uses blackmail? It bugs me every time I’ve seen this movie. And besides, it’s a stretch to say Willoughby is a phony when he has never claimed that he had gone fishing. Oh, what the hell. Maybe I’ve just set my moral standards too low. Or would that be too high?

Take Gregory House, for instance. House knows as much about medicine and diseases as anybody. Still, you rarely see him with a scalpel in his hand inside an operating room. But I guarantee you he could write one hell of a book on the subject if he so desired, provided he could stay off Vicodin long enough to find the keys on his PC.

But I guess it doesn’t matter. You have to get the dude up to the lake to do some fishing, or we’ll have no wacky slapstick comedy scenes of Willoughby attempting to become one with nature. And blackmail works as well as any plot device, although it doesn’t endear us to Abigail.

Once he arrives at the stomping grounds of Yogi and Boo Boo Bear, instead of checking into a lodge, the well-over-equipped Willoughby does his best to pitch a tent but only succeeds in throwing a fit, especially after his main adversaries arrive on the scene. That would be Abigail and Easy.

Willoughby:  Where did you come from?
Easy:  Down at the lake
Abigail:  What are you doing?
Willoughby:  I am setting up a tent
Abigail:  Oh?
Easy:  Are you?
Roger:  After which I shall try making a bed.
Abigail:  Can we help?
Willoughby:  Yes. Go away.
(in regards to Roger’s overabundance of equipment):  I’m curious, what is all this about.
Willoughby:  This is Mr. Cadwalader’s idea of what a well-equipped camper should have.
Abigail:  Well why are you camping?
Roger:  Again, Mr. Cadwalader’s idea.  He seemed to be inspired since he met you.
Abigail: Oh well now, don’t be angry Roger, it wasn’t my idea. 
Roger:  Miss Page
Abigail:  Um…hm.
Roger:  I had time to think while driving up here.  I don’t think you can ever get me angry again.

Speaking of Easy, I’ve scanned through the DVD several times, and not once is it mentioned how Isolde obtained that moniker. I guess it is supposed to be left to our imagination. So you have my permission to come up with any wild scenario you can imagine, just as I have.
   Abigail and Easy do their best to convince Roger that staying at the lodge would be in his best interest.

Easy: You don’t have time to learn camping.  You’ll have enough trouble learning how to fish
Abigail:  After the tournament you can learn how to make your bed
Roger: Mr. Cadwalader told….
  Phooey on Mr. Cadwalader

Or as Abigail later tells Easy, “If anybody sees him camping, they’ll know he’s never been “out of a hothouse before.”

As if to lend credence to their words, lurking nearby is John Screaming Eagle (Norman Alden), who has overheard much of their conversation. John does a lot of lurking in this movie. I don’t know if he’s supposed to be a peeping tom or what he is precisely, except that when there’s anything worthwhile going on, you’ll find him nearby standing with his arms crossed because that’s Hollywood’s idea of what Indians do. Especially pretend ones. Nowadays, Mr. Screaming Eagle would have the last laugh by running his own casino. I think the real reason Mr. Eagle is here is because the story needed a character of convenience. Having one around is always good when you need to tweak the plot.

He shows up to prove Abigail’s point and to nab $5.00 from Willoughby to buy his silence and help pack up Roger’s camping equipment. If this film were a drama, Mr. Screaming Eagle would be the comic relief. But since Man’s Favorite Sport is already a comedy, it hardly needs any relief from itself. Maybe he’s just an extra added attraction sort of like going to McDonald’s and running into Ronald in the parking lot.
More complications ensue. Roger’s fiancĂ© Tex (Charlene Holt) has made reservations to join him at Lake Wakapoogee. Roger has yet to tell her about his lack of fishing and camping expertise.

It is Abigail’s duty to teach Roger how to fish, and there’s a trail bike-stealing bear on the prowl. Roger also has fun testing new, untried sporting equipment such as inflatable waders, which may or may not come in handy because, among his many other camping deficiencies,
Roger has never been boating, and he can’t swim.
There’s an old slapstick comedy rule of thumb: When a man can’t fish, can’t swim, and can’t boat while wearing inflatable waders, you know with one hundred percent certainty that this mix will come into play sooner rather than later, leading to off the wall hijinks, mirth, merriment, and knee-slapping hilarity. Or perhaps a chuckle or two.

Roger eventually hooks his first fish, but as any fisherman knows, catching a fish and reeling him are two different animals. The other fishing lesson we learn from Man’s Favorite Sport is that sometimes you don’t need a rod, a reel, a hook, or bait. All you need is a good pair of waders, a bear, and a tree. You will find out.
For all the outdoor fishing and camping scenes, Man's Favorite Sport? is another take on the old romantic comedy premise where a man and a woman meet and seem completely incompatible. In this case, Abigail falls for the guy she has done nothing but antagonize through the movie's first half. So much so that Roger Willoughby would like nothing more than to be as far away from her as possible, hoping never to see Abigail again.

And it's easy to see why. Abigail will get on your nerves at times. She talks fast, changes the subject in mid-sentence, and rattles on endlessly, sometimes almost incoherently. So pay attention because eventually, she'll grow on you and work her way into your heart despite her propensity for being obnoxious.

You can attribute that to Paula Prentiss, who never lets her character become so over-the-top irritating that she alienates you. In fact, once you get used to the rapid-fire overlapping dialogue that runs rampant in this film, it's a real hoot. You'll probably want to go back and watch it a second time just to hear what you've missed.
Hudson is good here as well. The role was meant to go to Cary Grant at one time. While they are birds of different feathers, it’s a bit of a switch for Hudson to be the nice guy right from the start instead of starting out as the loathsome creatures he played in films such as Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back. And given a chance to do a lot of comedic slapstick as the inept fisherman, he handles it like a pro.
The supporting cast is just what the term implies, here to prop up our two leads for the most part.

Character actor John McGiver who made a career out of playing the nitpicking worry wart fuss budget does it well here. How can you not like a guy with a name like Cadwalader? Just saying it elicits a chuckle, for that matter. With monikers like “Cadwalader, Willoughby, Abigail, Easy, Screaming Eagle, Tex, Skaggs, and Major Phipps, it’s better than a novel by Dickens.

Maria Perschy is charmingly beautiful as Abigail’s friend and confidante, Easy. And she has a simmering, sultry, sexy quality to her, not to mention the sexiest back one might find in an early sixties movie (Read on for an explanation). Although Perschy was never a massive star, she was an international one, having starred in numerous foreign films. U.S. films such as 633 Squadron and guest starred on many television shows, including Hawaii Five-O.

Charlene Holt, a former Miss Maryland who plays Roger’s fiancĂ© Tex, comes on long enough to play the part of the aggrieved girlfriend. And to wear a very revealing negligee which helps make the visit worthwhile. Holt would also do most of her acting in T.V. series but would work with Hawks again in Red Line 7000 and another film. Read on to find out more about that gig as well. Her last listed appearance was in the 1980 film Melvin and Howard, and according to the IMDB, she passed away in Tennessee in 1996 at age 67.

Roscoe Karns as Major Phipps and Forrest Lewis as Skaggs are Willoughby’s main competitors in the tournament. Still, their own personal rivalries and friendly bickering with each other add a nice touch to the film. Both of them were old pros at this sort of thing. Karns began his career in 1915 and has a list of film credits as long as both of your arms. Lewis started his career in 1943 at 44 and was a consistent character actor on television, even having appeared on The Andy Griffith Show six different times as six other characters. Man’s Favorite Sport is Karn’s last listed film role on the IMDB, and he would pass away six years later. On a trivia note, Karns appeared in the first talkie, The Jazz Singer, and the first Academy Award Winning Best Picture, Wings.

All is not peaches and cream, however. There are times when this film screams, “Filmed on the Universal Studio lot.” During some fishing scenes at the lake, I fully expected Gilligan, The Skipper, and the rest of the gang to come floating up on the S.S. Minnow.

The film has a low-budget-cheap studio look, which puts a damper on the feeling that you are part of the great outdoors. And some bits don’t work. I’m considering one incident involving a fake broken arm and a little bird falling from a tree. It’s not particularly funny, and for all the time spent on it, the whole thing leads nowhere. If it were excised from the film, you would never miss it. There were 20 minutes cut from the film’s release because studio execs thought it was too long for a romantic comedy which made for a very unhappy Howard Hawks. It’s doubtful that the 20 minutes of footage still exists, and you have to wonder how it would have changed the film, if at all.

The worst part of the movie for me had to be the opening credits which featured an abundant bounty of scantily clad women in bikinis accompanied by one of the worst theme songs in the history of motion pictures, neither of which actually has anything to do with the content of the film. The theme song was written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, and I can only surmise these two great composers were on a drunken binge when they wrote it. It’s that bad. Although it may be no big deal to most moviegoers, I found it beyond irritating, and believe me, I absolutely have nothing against eyeballing scantily clad-beauties. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

The film was directed by Howard Hawks, who was revisiting the kind of rapid-fire dialogue-driven slapstick comedy screwball films such as his own 1938 movie, Bringing up Baby. Baby is listed as number 14 on the AFI top 100 comedy films of all time, and I sought the film out on Amazon Prime based on that fact and to compare it with this film. Although it’s a good film, I’m not sure I hold Baby in the same high esteem as others. Still, I’m an outlier who shakes his head negatively, wondering how The Godfather is often placed in the top ten films of all time. But Hawks thought so highly of his movie he even lifted a whole scene from it.

imageBut Hawks gets a pass because Man’s Favorite Sport was initially supposed to be either a remake or a homage. In fact, Hawks wanted Cary Grant to star in the film, but he turned it down because, at 59, he thought he was too old to play opposite the much younger 24-year-old Prentiss.


Hawks was practicing for the day when he would completely remake another of his films. In 1959, he would make Rio Bravo starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson, and Ricky Nelson. Just seven years later, in 1966, he would rehash the whole shebang as El Dorado, again starring Wayne but co-starring Robert Mitchum, Charlene Holt, and James Caan.

Hawks denied it was a remake, but anyone who has seen both films knows better, and I’ve seen them both. Man’s Favorite Sport will never be held in the lofty esteem of many other Hawks-directed films such as Red River, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (probably my favorite), Sgt. York, The Big Sleep, His Girl Friday, and The Thing from Another World. But it gets by thanks mainly to the snappy dialogue, an immensely engaging Paula Prentiss and Rock Hudson, and a plot that may seem absurd but is still highly plausible. It’s hard to figure out why the film sat on the shelf for almost two years before being released because it is pretty good lighthearted entertainment. And if you’re as light at heart as I am, you leave me no choice but to give you my B grade.