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Saturday, March 25, 2017

BOYS' NIGHT OUT (1962)

Well-cast (frustrated) sex comedy, written for the screen, but much like one of those lightly sanitized Hollywood adaptations of a slightly smuttier B’way original. (It’s something of a transitional piece, as if the leering libido of George Axelrod’s SEVEN YEAR ITCH met Neil Simon’s ODD COUPLE on an apartment hunt.) Four suburban commuters (James Garner, Tony Randall, Howard Duff, Howard Morris) meet every Thursday after work, dreaming of debauch, settling for scotch & soda. If only they had a little den of iniquity. Of course, once they get the pad, and, thru a silly misunderstanding, an available girl to meet them there (on separate nights, of course), they do everything but . . . well, you know. The big gag is that Kim Novak’s girl of their wet dreams is really a sociologist writing a grad thesis on guys just like them. Pretty lame; pretty tame. Yet the playing, direction and most especially, the Kennedy/New Frontier-era decor is a hoot, much livelier than the norm for these things. Plus, all the boys are in tip-top form (Randall is a sort of genius at this stuff) while Novak shows unexpected chops playing the comic bait. There’s enough LOL moments to put it ahead of many a better known sex-farce from the period, including some from its director, Michael Gordon, like PILLOW TALK/’59 with whom it also shares cinematographer & scorer.

DOUBLE-BILL: Normally the best of sideman, Randall shines playing a more conventional leading role in WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER/’57 which does equally well by director Frank Tashlin & writer George Axelrod.

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