Move Over, Darling (1963)

Move Over, Darling
Directed by Michael Gordon
Written by Hal Kanter and Jack Sher based on a screenplay by Sam and Bella Spewack
1963/USA
Melcher-Arcola Productions
First viewing/Netflix rental

Judge Bryson: Well, are you gonna answer the question or is she going to talk for you the rest of your life?

This is a fairly faithful remake of My Favorite Wife (1940) with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. I prefer that version but this isn’t bad.

Nicholas Arden (James Garner) is an attorney whose wife Ellen (Doris Day) was presumably lost at sea after an airplane crash which he survived.  It is five years later and Nick is seeking to have Ellen declared legally dead so he can marry his girl friend Bianca (Paula Prentiss).  On the very day he ties the knot, Ellen reappears, having been rescued from a mostly deserted island by a submarine.

Helen shows up at her husband’s honeymoon hotel determined to halt the consummation of his new marriage.  But this has an idiot plot and Nick finds himself unable to spit out the situation to his new bride for most of the running time of the film.  Many misunderstandings ensue on the way to the happy ending.  With Edgar Buchanan as a befuddled judge and Thelma Ritter as Nick’s mother.

This was pleasant enough though the usually reliable Day gets a bit shrill at times.  It lacks the sophistication of McCarey’s original.

An Actor’s Revenge (1963)

An Actor’s Revenge (Yukinojo henge) (AKA Revenge of a Kabuki Actor)
Directed by Kon Ichikawa
Written by Natto Wada; adapted by Teinosuke Kinugasa and Daisuke Ito from a newspaper serial by Otokichi Mikami
1963/Japan
Daiei Studios
First viewing/FilmStruk
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

 

Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should all be bigger than life. ~ Bette Davis

The versatile Kon Ichikawa makes a beautiful and captivating film in which all the world’s a stage.

Yukinojo Henge (Kazuo Hasegawa) is an acclaimed actor who specializes in women’s roles in the kabuki theater, in which all roles are played by men.  Yukinojo wears female garb off-stage as well and maintains a stereotypical feminine persona.  As a child, he lost both parents to madness and suicide.  He has vowed revenge on the three men responsible. The first ploy he adopts is to make a government official’s innocent daughter, who has been given as a concubine to the shogun, fall in love with him.

We follow the elaborate revenge plot.  Concurrently, we also become acquainted with a female thief that also falls for Yukinojo, the thief Yamitaro (also played by Hasegawa) who comments on the narrative, and a swordsman who has his own scores to settle with the actor.

Hasgawa is phenomenal in both his roles in this one.  It is fascinating watching him mimic demure girlish gentleness while disguising a heart of stone.  The other outstanding aspect is the production.  It’s one exquisite color composition after another.  Highly recommended.

Exploration of the use of theatrical wide shots in the film