Not With My Wife, You Don’t (1966)

NORMAN PANAMA

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 1966. , . Story by Norman Panama, , Screenplay by Norman Panama, , . Cinematography by . Produced by Norman Panama. Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Norman Panama struggles to make his romantic comedy formula stick in the burgeoning era of free love and counterculture, placing a love triangle into a slapstick farce that has shades of Philadelphia Story and Unfaithfully Yours.

American army lieutenant is in a difficult stage of his marriage with , she’s tired of his job as Man Friday to a General stationed in London and feels ignored by him whenever he runs off to various cities on diplomatic duties that mostly involve shopping for the general’s wife.

When Curtis spots his old friend and fellow flier, now colonel in the lobby of his headquarters, he flashes back to when they were serving together in the Korean War and first met Lisi in an army hospital. Having a competitive relationship over girls already well in place, the two do their best to outwit each other in order to land the lovely lady, even going so far as to let her think Scott is dead so that she has no choice but to marry Curtis.

Now that he’s back in their life, Curtis is nervous that Scott will try to steal her away from him, and not one to avoid giving back as good as he got, Scott gets Curtis sent on a survival mission to Labrador while he wines and dines Lisi in Rome, trying to woo her into her bed and having no luck until she remembers how poor a job her husband is doing of making her feel special.

A number of sequences are giggle-inducing and the actors are all at their punchy best, but why Panama thinks he can justify a 120-minute running time for a goofy comedy is beyond anyone’s understanding, it’s a charmer of a film but it runs far too long and drags in its final third.

has a wonderful time behind a fake moustache as Curtis’s boss, and Lisi manages to deliver a great deal of charm and charisma despite having little more demanded of her than to be the trophy for two overly exuberant male stars.

Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy

 

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