Saturday, August 01, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Come Fly With Me (1963)

COME FLY WITH ME is great fun, starting from the very first widescreen shots of the drive to a New York airport while Frankie Avalon sings the classic Cahn-Van Heusen title tune. This lighthearted tale of three stewardesses looking for love, set against the backdrop of Paris and Vienna, is charming '60s escapist fare; it doesn't pretend to be great art, but it's highly diverting.

Carol (Pamela Tiffin) is a ditzy but beautiful sweetheart whose highminded morals may just shock ladies' man copilot Ray (Hugh O'Brian) into settling down and becoming a one-woman man. "Bergie" (Lois Nettleton) is the nice, quiet girl in the trio who starts out dateless but hits the jackpot with a widowed multimillionaire (Karl Malden) traveling in tourist class. And Donna (Dolores Hart) has a rocky road ahead when she falls in love with an aristocratic jewel smuggler (Karl Boehm).

I particularly liked the plotlines focusing on Carol and Bergie. Tiffin (from 1961's ONE, TWO, THREE) has a real flair for comedy and she and O'Brian provide much of the film's humor, while Nettleton and Malden are touching as two lonely people who meet at just the right time. Malden also has a hilarious airport scene near the end of the film. Whenever any of these four actors are on the screen, the movie fires on all cylinders.

This was the last film made by Dolores Hart, who left Hollywood to become a nun. Hart is lovely and gives a good performance, but she and Boehm are the film's least sympathetic characters and had a somewhat tiresome storyline. I suppose they wanted one girl to suffer some heartbreak for contrast, but it wasn't nearly as much fun as the other stories.

A fourth stewardess, glimpsed only briefly, is played by Lois Maxwell, better known as "Moneypenny." Dawn Addams plays O'Brian's old flame.

Part of the film's enjoyment comes from its "vintage airline" look -- you have to love the stewardesses with their proper hats and gloves, or their matching scarves when the weather is bad. Those were the days of glamorous flying! The movie is also a great travelogue of Vienna and especially Paris.

COME FLY WITH ME runs 109 minutes. It was directed by Henry Levin. Levin's credits include THE MATING OF MILLIE (1948), BELLES ON THEIR TOES (1952), THE PRESIDENT'S LADY (1953), and IF A MAN ANSWERS (1962).

This movie is not available on DVD or video. It has been shown on Turner Classic Movies, which has the trailer available here.

4 Comments:

Blogger Raquelle said...

Laura, I'm so glad that you got a chance to see this and that you reviewed. I like what you say about this film being escapist fare that doesn't take itself too seriously and that it's appeal is the vintage airplane stylistics. I totally agree with you.

I also enjoyed the fact that they basically made a movie to capitalize on the Frank Sinatra song "Come Fly with Me".

I really wanted to finish my Pamela Tiffin series with an entry about this film, but life got in the way. Maybe I'll still do it sometime soon.

7:57 AM  
Blogger James Corry said...

Laura, thank-you for basically getting me to look at "chick flicks"....NOW, before you get offended, I DON'T mean that term in a derrogatory or snide way at ALL. I kind of pride myself on my knowledge of "classic" films, however, after reading your blog now for a few weeks, I realize that you have opened my eyes (as it were....!) to films that I never would have looked at otherwise.....When someone knowledgeable (such as yourself) recommends them then, yes, I'm going to take that recommendation seriously!
BTW, Henry Levin also directed one of my all-time favorite films, Fox' 1959 CinemaScope relase: "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" which I saw when it was brand-spankin' new in Dec. 1959, as a wide-eyed 7 year-old (it was Fox' big Christmas release for that year). I loved that picture then and I love it now. It's interesting how films that we saw as a child have lived with us and taken on a kind of "mythic" status as the years have gone by. For example, I saw "Invaders From Mars" as a kid and it scared the HELL out of me! And to this day, it STILL gives me the creeps!!

Keep up the great work!

Brad

10:39 AM  
Blogger theresa said...

I found your blog while searching for movie posters of "Come Fly With Me". I enjoyed your commentary. Have you checked out Delores Hart w/ George Hamilton in Where the Boys Are? One of her first films, although he was already a contract star. I long for the days of civility when flying was exciting & people dressed appropriately. I guess I was born in the wrong era. But I have found one place that retains something from the old days of glamour, evening cocktails, dressing for dinner, ballroom dancing & big band - Cunard Line, and their ship the Queen Mary 2. Ironically, the jet age put an end to the old ways of transatlantic crossings and Cunard is the only line left to do it. CFWM is probably one of the last movies to focus on glammorizing the jet age, because only a few decades later the jet age became a mass market production & the glamor went away. But this is a great temporary escape.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Welcome, Theresa! Glad you found my blog and enjoyed this post. I haven't yet seen WHERE THE BOYS ARE but I'll be watching for it. I'd enjoy seeing more of Hart's films.

I enjoyed your thoughts on flying. I have some neat books on my shelves with wonderful photos of flying "as it used to be." It really was another world!

Best wishes,
Laura

12:40 PM  

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