Critics Choice (1963)

critics choice 1963

Final movie pairing of Bob Hope and Lucille Ball. Maybe it’s just as well since this is pretty dull. It’s based on a play by Ira Levin who would years later explode with, among others, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “The Boys From Brazil” and “The Stepford Wives.” There are a number of good character actors throughout but nothing can save this one.

Parker Ballantine (Bob Hope) is a theatre critic. His second wife is Angela (Lucille Ball). He has custody of his young son John. He was married to actress Ivy London (Marilyn Maxwell). One of John’s friends is a new neighbor named Geoffrey. His father is psychiatrist Dr.William Von Hagedorn (Jim Backus). Geoffrey likes to hold a glass to the wall and listen in to his father and his patients.

Angela announces that she’s going to write a play. It’s called “Sisters Three” and is about growing up with her two sisters and wacky mother Charley (Jessie Royce Landis). Parker tries to discourage her but nothing can stop her. At a party tossed by producer S.P.Champlain (John Dehner) Parker and Angela meet egotistical ladies man director Dion Kapakos (Rip Torn).  Word gets out that Angela is writing a play and Dion encourages her.

When she’s not using a typewriter Angela writes everywhere..in the car…in the kitchen, anyplace she can take her tablet. After five weeks she’s done. S.P. asks about it but she doesn’t tell it’s finished. She wants Parker to read it first. He warns her that he’s not going to lie about what he thinks.

When he’s done he tells her he likes the title and that’s it. He completely tears it apart. She doesn’t take it well. Parker finds out later that S.P. is going to produce it and Dion will direct. She and Dion spend a lot of time together. The play is going for try outs in Washington,D.C. and Boston. Charley will watch over Parker and John while they’re gone.

Charley is surprised Parker hasn’t called Angela is Boston. He relents and takes a plane there. While trying to track down Angela in the hotel he runs into Ivy. She asks him to buy her  a drink but he turns her down. He goes to Angela’s room and find Dion in the shower. Angela is in his room fast asleep.

The play isn’t going well and Angela and Dion asks him for some help. He refuses saying he’s going to review it when it opens in New York. No matter what they say he refuses to change his mind and that cause a rift.

Back home at the airport he’s runs into Ivy again. His back goes out on him and they head back to his place for some TLC from Ivy. Charley and John come back and Ivy leaves. Parker sets up a nice surprise for Angela. Then Dion shows up to take her to opening night. She tries one more time to stop him from doing the review. He finally relents and tells the paper to have second string critic Harvey Rittenhouse (Richard Deacon) write it. John gets mad at him and tells him he’s lost his self respect.

An upset Parker goes to a bar and gets drunk. He calls Ivy. The bartender (Stanley Adams) has a little surprise for him.

The rest of the movie is just bad. It’s not worth wasting your time on. The two positives are Rip Torn’s performance and the fact that Parker stands his ground even if he waivers a bit. Still this is nowhere near what you’d expect with all the pro talent involved.

Lucy and Bob after he takes a catcher's mitt out of the fridge

Lucy and Bob after he takes a catcher’s mitt out of the fridge

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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