I have just had quite an argument with a well known film critic. He maintains that films are either good or bad and any good film is just simply good. I maintained that films are little worlds. Some are created more successfully than others. Some are more novel or clever or valuable than others. Navigating your way through film is part of building a life worth living.
This film is a good example of what I mean. It is pleasant enough. It is well enough brought into being. But it is damaged goods.
The situation is supposed to sharply display a late fifties environment of a man trapped in a mechanical organisation, having to cater to the norms of that organisation with wit and grace. The situation centres on sex. Now, after a few decades, it becomes clear that Wilder himself was in the same situation. Early, he could make intelligent, edgy films. “Sunset” is a masterpiece. But by this time, he was a chef in someone else’s kitchen, turning out perfect pastries.
Lemmon and MacLain do cute as well as anyone from that period.
Posted in 2003
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.