Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Tammy and the Bachelor (1957)

Tonight's movie, TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR, was chosen in honor of the late Leslie Nielsen, the film's leading man.

I'd never seen TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR before, and for the first 15 minutes or so, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. It started out on a fairly hokey note, with Debbie Reynolds' backwoods girl Tammy rescuing Peter (Nielsen) when his plane crashes near the houseboat where she lives with her moonshiner Grandpa (Walter Brennan).

Once Tammy found herself a visitor in Peter's ancestral Southern mansion, the movie quickly got under my skin. Innocent, direct Tammy's honest opinions lead to some amusing moments and help Peter's parents (Sidney Blackmer and Fay Wray) and his aunt (Mildred Natwick) discover what they truly want in life.

Reynolds and Nielsen are a charming pair in what turns out to be a gradual, tender romance. I liked that there was never any Awful Misunderstanding or other cliched romantic problem. The fadeout set to the classic TAMMY theme music brought a happy tear to my eye. Plain and simple, it's a feel-good movie.

The title song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans is sung by the Ames Brothers over the opening credits. Reynolds' gentle, heartfelt performance of the song, sitting on a window seat late at night, is the loveliest scene in the film. Indeed, it's a quintessential '50s movie moment which lingers in the memory.

Nielsen's obituaries have largely focused on the comedy roles for which he became so well known in the last part of his career. But as I mentioned earlier this week, when I think of Leslie Nielsen, first and foremost I think of his roles as a handsome leading man of the '50s and early '60s. TAMMY was released the year after Nielsen appeared in the sci-fi classic FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956). He's quite good in a sincere performance as a nice guy who gradually realizes Tammy's all grown up and the woman he's meant to be with.

The cast also includes Mala Powers, Louise Beavers, Philip Ober, and Craig Hill.

TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR was directed by Joseph Pevney (THE CROWDED SKY). It was filmed in Technicolor and CinemaScope. The movie runs 89 minutes.

TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR is available in a nice print on DVD along with TAMMY TELL ME TRUE and TAMMY AND THE DOCTOR.

It's also had a release on VHS.


Blogger Ed South said...

I can't believe you got to a Leslie Neilsen viewing before I did! I've been meaning to watch Airplane! or Spaceship this week.

I've seen Tammy and the Bachelor, the Tammy films were among my mom's favorites and she introduced me to them a long time ago. Of course, when I first saw them I puzzled why Neilsen was so serious.

6:14 AM  
Blogger becca said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. This first Tammy movie is one of my favorite flicks, and, yes, Nielsen is very appealing in it. Along with other classic film fans, I'm saddened by his passing.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Is this the movie that did not do well when first released and a few months later the song was released as a single. The song did so well they re-released the movie several months after the first release and it did a lot better.

Does that ring a bell?


9:29 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Love knowing this was one of your mom's favorites, Ed. :)

Thanks your thoughts, Amanda. Glad to know you enjoyed it too.

Missy, I'm not sure about that! Will have to read up on the film to find out.

Best wishes,

4:25 PM  

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