Saturday, January 16, 2021

Tonight's Movie: The Art of Love (1965) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

THE ART OF LOVE (1965), a dark comedy starring James Garner, Dick Van Dyke, Angie Dickinson, and Elke Sommer, is available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

The story concerns Paul Sloane (Van Dyke), a poor artist in Paris who's about to give up on painting.  One night he jumps into the Seine River to rescue Nikki (Sommer) and is mistaken for dead.

Paul's roommate Casey (Garner) finds that the work of his "dead" friend is now worth considerable money and starts selling off the paintings.  When Casey turns up alive they plot to make more money by having Paul continue to be "dead," turning out paintings Casey can sell.

When Casey falls in love with Paul's girlfriend Laurie (Dickinson), Paul is outraged, despite the fact he now loves Nikki.  Paul frames Casey for his "murder," and Casey comes perilously close to being executed.

I was looking forward to this film, given the cast; a decent IMDb rating of 6.3 gave me further encouragement.  Alas, this one was quite a disappointment, flat, macabre, and unfunny.  If the team of Garner and Van Dyke can't make you crack a smile, well...and Ethel Merman as the madam of a bordello was just painful.

The two leading ladies were cute, but otherwise this was a prolonged 99-minute mishmash despite being cowritten by Van Dyke's DICK VAN DYKE SHOW colleague Carl Reiner, with directing by Norman Jewison and widescreen color cinematography by Russell Metty.  The back projections and backlot "European" filming certainly didn't make the film any better.

The best thing about the movie is when Van Dyke shows up in full "Dawes Sr." old age makeup.  This was his first film after MARY POPPINS (1964), and he seems to have made off with the makeup kit!

Kino Lorber's good-looking Blu-ray print is from a new 2K master.  The disc includes the trailer and a commentary track by Peter Tonguette.  There are eight additional trailers for other films available from Kino Lorber.

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

4 Comments:

Blogger Hamlette (Rachel) said...

This is a very bizarre movie, and I agree that it just doesn't quite work.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Interested to hear your feedback, Rachel, as I always wonder a bit if I'm having an off day when a movie falls so completely flat for me. Thanks very much for sharing your take on it.

Best wishes,
Laura

3:08 PM  
Blogger rcocean said...

I say this on TV as a Small-town kid, and loved it. I thought it was so sophisticated and funny. Of course, in the 1970's I didn't know who anybody in the cast except Dick Van Dyke (from TV re-runs). I looked for it for years on DVD and was disappointed I could NOT find it. And finally, finally, I saw it in 2020. And..it was as bad as you say it is. Its TV-movie of the week quality.

I guess Thomas Wolfe was right, "you can't go home again".

5:37 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I was very interested in your "then and now" takes on the movie! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

I heard from someone on Twitter who loved it as a kid in the '60s, just as you did. Wonder what that person will think when they catch it again.

Best wishes,
Laura

10:24 AM  

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