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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OPERATION PETTICOAT (1959)

This first-rate WWII service comedy about a hobbled sub limping its way to port with a cargo of female officers, refugee kids & a coat of barely dry pink paint still looks fresh & funny. It’s no more than a pleasant lark of a film, but it deftly avoids the witless gags and over-played shtick of others in its genre. In his first big-time directing assignment, Blake Edwards holds the reins lightly, almost impersonally, on the Stanley Shapiro/Maurice Richlin script. (He’s not even shooting in his customary CinemaScope format.) Just don’t come in expecting the comic savagery seen in Edward’s other WWII farce, WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR, DADDY?/’‘66, also taken from a Richlin story, but far more personal. Playing in his late, refined comic mode, Cary Grant still lets out the occasional whoop & whinny, now trimmed down to their essence. And if you notice Tony Curtis grining like the cat who’s just swallowed the canary, well, he’s just off filming SOME LIKE IT HOT/'69 with his wickedly funny Cary Grant impersonation.

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