Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Sixties rarirty: The Pleasure Of His Company, 1961

A clutch of '60s rarities we have re-visited, before moving on to some current releases like NOCTURNAL ANIMALS and DR STRANGE

THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY. This 1961 release is perfectly Paramount, another of those smooth Perlberg-Seaton plush comedies, with a leading role for Fred Astaire as the wayward playboy Pogo who returns to San Francisco for his daughter's wedding. He has not seen her since she was a child but his visit causes all kinds of repercussions for his ex-wife, Lilli Palmer, as elegant as ever, and her current husband Garry Merrill (a decade after his Bill Sampson in ALL ABOUT EVE). The young folk are Debbie Reynolds and Tab Hunter, Add in Charlie Ruggles as grandfather and the stage is set - another mansion overlooking San Francisco bay, rather like the location for the rather similar GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER?. 

San Francisco debutante, Jessica Poole, is marrying Napa Valley cattle rancher, Roger Henderson, and hopes her peripatetic father, "Pogo" Poole, whom she hasn't seen for years, comes to the wedding. He arrives, disrupting the household of his ex-wife, Katharine, and her long-suffering husband, and befriending their cook, Toy. At first it seems that Pogo is set on breaking up the engagement, making up for years of neglect by wining and dining Jessica, showing up Roger as a hick, and enticing her to come to Europe with him. Then it seems his real goal is to win back Katharine's heart: why else would he have two tickets to Paris booked on a plane leaving right after the reception?

We are also in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER territory as Pogo is a monster - with no regard for anyone, he takes over the house, ejecting Merrill from his study, and is determined to sabotage the wedding as he now wants his daughter for himself and to take her travelling with him as he circles the globe. Will Debbie fall for it? Will Tab erupt? Will Lilli see through his plans, and who is Pogo taking with him on the plane at the end?  It is fitfully amusing but rather predictable, I last saw it when I was a kid, good though to see Astaire again and the ever radiant Lilli - one of our favourites here - after her good roles then in BUT NOT FOR ME in 1959 and CONSPIRACY OF HEARTS in 1960, we also saw her in another Perlberg-Seaton THE COUNTERFEIT TRAITOR in 1962, where she gets shot by the Nazis, and in the German ADORABLE JULIA, then her other supporting roles in THE ADVENTURES OF MOLL FLANDERS and that very determined secret agent in OPERATION CROSSBOW

1 comment:

  1. I love this film despite its flaws. It's completely to Astaire's credit that the selfish Pogo comes off as charming as he does. Lilli is grace itself, Debbie is sweet and appealing even if she doesn't really have many demands placed on her. And I LOVE Charlie Ruggles as Kate's dad who steals every scene he's in with his sly asides. It's all pretty and pleasant, a perfect feel good movie.