Tall Story (1960)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.  

USA, 1960.  .  Screenplay by , based on the play by and , from the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

makes her film debut in this dreadful campus comedy, playing a college freshman who proudly announces to her two new professors that she is at school merely to land herself a husband.  She has her sights set on basketball superstar , partly because he’s so dreamy but also, for practical reasons, because like her he is tall.  He, in turn, is getting good grades and scoring big on the basketball court while making a few bucks as a cab driver, eventually succumbing to Fonda’s advances and realizing he wants to marry her.  To do so he needs money, which brings him to a moral quandary when an upcoming game against a visiting Russian basketball team puts him in the way of some shady gamblers who want to fix the outcome.  An unusually small movie for the generally more ambitious Joshua Logan, who directed Fonda’s father in Mister Roberts only a few years earlier, this one has as its main joke the fact that the kind of All-American scrubbed up small town you see on Leave It To Beaver is populated by old people screaming politics at each other while young hormones rage in private corners at every available opportunity.  Perkins and Fonda are adorable and have a great time together, but the screenplay is all over the place, likely the result of editing out the more political overtones of the play, and even when you factor in how dated most of its social morality is, the whole thing makes little sense. Robert Redford makes his film debut as one of the basketball players.

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