Sunday, March 01, 2020

Tonight's Movie: It Started With a Kiss (1959) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds star in IT STARTED WITH A KISS (1959), a bright romantic comedy just released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

Debbie plays Maggie Putnam, a nightclub chorus girl who volunteers at a charity ball in order to meet millionaires. Instead she meets Sgt. Joe Fitzpatrick (Glenn Ford), a decidedly not-rich soldier. Despite his lack of money chemistry cannot be denied, and the next thing they know Joe and Maggie are celebrating a very short honeymoon before he ships off to Spain.

Maggie follows Joe to Spain a month later, once the military has done the necessary processing.  Before leaving the U.S. Maggie writes Joe that she has a big surprise for him. He assumes she must be expecting already...but it turns out he won the raffle for a very expensive futuristic car at the charity auction. (That same car would later be transformed into TV's Batmobile.)

Upon her arrival in Spain Maggie wonders if they've moved too quickly and whether they have anything in common but their combustible chemistry. She proposes they live platonically for 30 days in order to make sure they'll make a go of their marriage before any children come along. Needless to say, Maggie's eager bridegroom is none too happy, but he goes along with it because he loves the somewhat ditzy Maggie and wants to remain married.

Things just get crazier from there, with the fancy car causing all manner of problems, including attracting the attention of a bullfighter (Gustavo Rojo) and a wealthy widow (Eva Gabor) who wouldn't be sorry if Joe and Maggie were to split up.

The plot is goofy but frankly this film was better than I was expecting. Reynolds and Ford have a very nice romantic and comedic chemistry; Ford makes a great straight man for Reynolds, and he has a good way with some funny lines himself. Maybe you have to see and hear it for it to be funny, but the moment he tells Reynolds "Don't fight the Air Force, honey. It's bigger than you are. It's got weapons" caused me to sputter with laughter.

Fred Clark is a solid plus as Ford's not-unsympathetic commanding officer, who has to deal with a pair of Congressmen wondering how a sergeant can afford such an expensive car. And, as it turns out, he actually can't, when he learns about the income tax he'll have to pay for his "free" car.

Harry Morgan has a couple scenes as Ford's military pal, and there are other familiar TV faces such as Marion Ross, Richard Deacon, Frances Bavier, and William Boyett. And what would a fancy ball be without everyone's favorite "dress extra," Bess Flowers, dancing in the background? The supporting cast also includes Robert Warwick, Edgar Buchanan, Alice Backes,

The movie should have wrapped up in around an hour and a half instead of 104 minutes, but other than dragging out some conflict for too long, this is a fun film which I found enjoyably diverting.

The movie was directed by George Marshall. The script was by Charles Lederer from a story by Valentine Davies (MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET). It was filmed by Robert Bronner in CinemaScope. The sunny Spain locations are an added plus.

The widescreen Warner Archive Blu-ray print is very attractive, with a top-notch soundtrack. The only extra is the movie trailer.

This film was previously released by the Warner Archive as a remastered DVD.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura, good write-up of a really entertaining fun movie starring two favorites of mine, Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford. IT STARTED WITH A KISS(1959) is a delightful military service comedy, of which Glenn Ford specialized in, starting with THE TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON(1956). All of Ford's service comedies a well worth watching.

I remember, as a youngster, being very impressed with the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car that was used in this movie. IT STARTED WITH A KISS had its NBC-TV premiere just before ABC premiered the BATMAN TV show on January 12, 1966.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Walter, I'm belatedly catching up on comments now that I have "down time." Thank you so much for your feedback and sharing your thoughts on this film. Glad to know you enjoyed it too! I need to check out more of Ford's service comedies.

The car was a very fun aspect of the movie! It was fun to recently visit where it was filmed exiting the Bat Cave in BATMAN.

Best wishes,

11:57 AM  

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