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The Operation Mad Ball/Good Neighbor Sam/The Notorious Landlady/Three for the Show [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Operation Mad Ball
In this frantic service comedy, a group of bored-to-tears American GI's stationed at a medical facility in France would like nothing more than to have a big party to let off steam -- except for the possibility of having a big party with some of the nurses they work with. However, it seems that the nurses are officers and the GI's are enlisted men, which means the Army forbids them to socialize, and Capt. Locke (Ernie Kovacs), the camp's Commanding Officer, is not a man to bend the rules. But Private Hogan (Jack Lemmon) is not the sort of guy to let the rules get in the way of a good time, and with the help of Yancy Skibo (Mickey Rooney), a sergeant with a talent for scaring up needed supplies, and Mme. LaFour (Jeanne Manet), a local hotel manager with a soft spot for making money off American servicemen, Hogan hatches a plan to make his dream a reality. Hogan's lady friend, Lt. Betty Bixby (Kathryn Grant), isn't quite as convinced as her beau on the potential success of this scheme. Operation Mad Ball was the first directorial effort from former actor Richard Quine, and afforded Jack Lemmon his first starring role; Blake Edwards also contributed to the screenplay. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The Notorious Landlady
This uneven farce by director Richard Quine has its hilarious and witty moments as American diplomat William Gridley (Jack Lemmon) inadvertently gets caught up in a jewel theft and mayhem. After William lands in London to take up his new position and get settled in his new digs, he becomes involved with his gorgeous landlady Carlye Hardwicke (Kim Novak). Carlye's husband is missing, and she is suspected of doing him in. But then he unexpectedly comes back home where an argument with Carlye over some jewels makes him as dead as everyone had assumed -- with her wielding the murder weapon. Carlye is eventually acquitted thanks to a witness who has designs on the jewels herself -- but the story is far from over. First there is an exciting helicopter ride and a wild chase to decide just who will end up with the loot. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Three for the Show
Three for the Show is a musical remake of the 1940 comedy Too Many Husbands, which in turn was based on a play by Somerset Maugham. In her next-to-last film, Betty Grable plays Julie, a popular musical comedy stars whose husband Marty (Jack Lemmon) is reported missing in action during WW2. After an appropriate waiting period, Julie makes plans to marry Marty's best friend Vernon (Gower Champion), even though she still carries a torch for her "late" husband. After the wedding, who should show up but Marty, demanding his rights as a husband. At first appalled, Julie eventually begins to enjoy the notion of two husbands. In the original film, the plot was never resolved; in the remake, Marge Champion plays a sidelines character named Gwen, so it's a safe bet that Vernon will lose out to Marty in the Julie sweepstakes. Most of the songs in Three for the Show are old standards, written by such notables as the Gershwin brothers, Gene Austin and Hoagy Carmichael. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Good Neighbor Sam
Disgusted by the smarminess of his 1963 vehicle Under the Yum Yum Tree, Jack Lemmon vowed that his next effort would be a wholesome family picture. Good Neighbor Sam is suitable for all ages, to be sure, but that doesn't stop producer-writer-director David Swift from injecting plenty of double-entendre dialogue and harmlessly risque situations. Lemmon plays ad executive Sam Bissell, happily married to all-American blonde Minerva (Dorothy Provine). Anxious to land the Nurdlinger's milk account, Sam is carefully scrutinized by the prudish Simon Nurdlinger (Edward G. Robinson), a staunch advocate of old-fashioned family values. Meanwhile, Minerva welcomes her old school friend, sexy Janet Langerlof (Romy Schneider) into her home. Janet is in line to inherit a fortune, but only if she's married. Unfortunately, Janet is currently separated from her insanely jealous spouse Howard Ebbets (Michael Connors), so big-hearted Minerva volunteers Sam to pose as Janet's husband. The ensuing comic complications come to a head when Nurdlinger elects Sam and Janet as the nation's ideal "married" couple, and posts their pictures on billboards all over town! Some of the smaller pleasures in this film are provided by Louis Nye as a high-tech private eye, Joyce Jameson as a squeaky-voiced call girl, Robert Q. Lewis as Sam's lascivious neighbor, and an uncredited Gil Lamb as a genial wino. An amusing running gag involved the Hertz "man in the driver's seat" commercials of the 1960s has sometimes been cut from TV prints of Good Neighbor Sam. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Jack Lemmon
    Jack Lemmon - Private Hogan
  • Ernie Kovacs
    Ernie Kovacs - Capt. Paul Lock
  • Kathryn Grant
    Kathryn Grant - Lieutenant Betty Bixby
  • Mickey Rooney
    Mickey Rooney - Yanccy Skibo
  • Arthur O'Connell
    Arthur O'Connell - Col. Rousch
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