Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1966. Sol C. Siegel Productions. Story by Robert Russell, Frank Ross, Screenplay by Sol Saks, based on the screenplay by Garson Kanin. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.. Produced by Sol C. Siegel. Music by Quincy Jones. Production Design by Joseph C. Wright. Costume Design by Morton Haack. Film Editing by Walter Thompson, James D. Wells.
Cary Grant appears in his final film role in what was also Charles Walters’ last directorial effort in feature films. This remake of The More The Merrier moves the setting from the Washington housing crisis during the war to a similar stricture in accommodations in Tokyo leading up to the 1965 Summer Olympics (some real footage from the events are cleverly inserted into the action). Grant plays a wealthy industrialist who has come to the city on business but, because he is two days earlier than expected, his hotel is not prepared for him and has no room to give him. Grant sees an advertisement for a room to rent on the embassy bulletin board and follows it up, finding himself appealing to a young woman (Samantha Eggar) who won’t accept a man sharing her apartment. He won’t take no for an answer and moves in, then when he meets an American athlete (Jim Hutton) who has arrived to compete in the games and is in the same boat, Grant invites him to share the half of the apartment that Grant is sharing. Colourful and lighthearted, this charming romantic comedy would work beautifully if the stakes were in the least bit convincing, but for some reason the very basis of it makes little sense: why is Grant interested in their love lives? As played by Charles Coburn the character was a devilish, meddlesome old man, but here we have the eternal movie star who even in his sixties wouldn’t have someone as young and beautiful as Eggar say no to him (he shows off quite a bit of athletic prowess in the event he accidentally joins at the end), so what does it benefit his living arrangements or life in general to force them to fall in love? The political situation of the earlier film made for a much more compelling atmosphere against which love would bloom than the peace-promoting beauty of the Olympics, but there’s charm aplenty and all performances (including a very young George Takei) are terrific.