The Perfect Furlough (1958)

BLAKE EDWARDS

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 1958Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by Golden Globe Awards 1958

A group of soldiers is stationed at a research facility in the Arctic, the top brass receiving reports of disciplinary issues thanks to the men being isolated for so long with no leisurely activities (or women to share them with).  Military psychologist Janet Leigh suggests to the army that they hold contest to come up with the perfect furlough and allow one man to go on it, the photographic evidence of which will allow the other men to live vicariously through the winner and help relieve their woes.   All the men in the Arctic unit are there voluntarily except one, the rascally Tony Curtis, who helps come up with a ridiculous vacation in France with movie star and then swindles his way into the winning spot, hoping that by the time he arrives in the City of Love he can partake in some romance with either Cristal or any woman he can get his grubby hands on.  Unfortunately, his superiors have seen him coming and do their best to make sure he sticks to the plan, posing for photos and seeing the sights and keeping himself to himself; Leigh, in taking it upon herself to avoid a public relations nightmare for her bosses, makes him her personal priority and, of course, ends up falling into the pools of eyes.  It’s not Stanley Shapiro’s smartest or most complicated script, the obsession with sex as expressed through so much effort made to keep characters from having any is a staple of these movies, but the experience is usually elevated by the level of expertise with which the script creates convoluted complications.  Here there are only one or two major sequences to twist things up before the inevitable conclusion, but the scenery is lovely and the two stars, who were married in real life at the time, enjoy very sexy chemistry.

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