Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Tonight's Movie: The Perfect Furlough (1958) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

THE PERFECT FURLOUGH (1958) is a fun romantic comedy which is part of the new Tony Curtis Collection, available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

THE PERFECT FURLOUGH is one of a trio of films in the set, along with THE GREAT IMPOSTOR (1960) and 40 POUNDS OF TROUBLE (1962).

Curtis stars in THE PERFECT FURLOUGH with his then-wife Janet Leigh, the fourth of the five films they made together.

The duo had quite a movie year in 1958; in addition to this film and their previous movie together, THE VIKINGS (1958), Leigh costarred that year in TOUCH OF EVIL (1958) and Curtis starred in THE DEFIANT ONES (1958), for which he received his only Oscar nomination.

For good measure, their younger daughter, future actress Jamie Lee Curtis, was born just a few days before the premiere of THE PERFECT FURLOUGH.

The lightweight plot begins with Corporal Paul Hodges (Curtis) stuck at an Arctic base for an entire year with over 100 other men, and not a woman in sight.

The Army decides to boost morale by holding a contest in which one of the men will win a three-week "perfect furlough" in Paris with movie queen Sandra Roca (Linda Cristal).

The determined Hodges, who has a legendary romantic history, manages to maneuver things so that he's the lucky winner. However, he doesn't count on his time with Sandra being chaperoned by an Army psychologist, Lt. Vicki Loren (Leigh), plus a pair of M.P.'s and a woman (Elaine Stritch) employed by Sandra's agent (Keenan Wynn).

Nor does he expect to learn surprising news about Sandra's personal life...or to find himself attracted to Vicki, the woman shadowing his every move.

This comedy, written by Stanley Shapiro and directed by Blake Edwards, starts out on the flimsy side; the initial scenes at the Arctic base are a little too childish to be funny.

However, as the movie went along, I found myself drawn into it despite myself. I've always been a fan of Curtis, Leigh, and HIGH CHAPARRAL star Cristal, and they're so good-natured that I found myself warming up to the film and having a good time. It's a pleasant 93 minutes of enjoyable romantic fluff.

The handsome and charismatic Curtis is perhaps one of the few actors who could make a character as manipulative and woman-crazy as Paul appealing; he's amusing rather than annoying. And when Sandra levels with him about some personal information, he's really quite sweet about it -- as he also is when he starts to fall hard for Vicki.

The ladies are both gorgeous and fun to watch interacting with Curtis, and Stritch is quite good tossing off one-liners in the kind of part that would have been perfect for an older Glenda Farrell.

Also on hand are Marcel Dalio, Les Tremayne, Jay Novello, King Donovan, Alvy Moore, and, in a small role, Troy Donahue.

The movie was shot in CinemaScope by Philip Lathrop.

The Blu-ray extras consist of the movie trailer and a commentary track by David Del Valle.

For Curtis fans, he also stars in another recent Kino Lorber release, SIX BRIDGES TO CROSS (1955), which is part of the Dark Side of Cinema IV collection.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Margot Shelby said...

I just watched the movie two nights ago. Coincidence. It's one of these harmless silly 50s sex comedies that I just love. You're right about Curtis being able to make his character actually likable. He was a vastly underrated actor.

I also loved the dresses worn in the movie.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

What a coincidence that you just saw THE PERFECT FURLOUGH, Margot! Sounds like we saw the movie pretty much the same way.

I really agree about Tony Curtis. The more I see of his work the more he impresses me.

Best wishes,

6:09 PM  

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