Kiss Them for Me [DVD] [1957]

Stanley Donen's Kiss Them for Me (1957), starring Cary Grant, Suzy Parker, Jayne Mansfield, Leif Erickson, Werner Klemperer, Ray Walston, and Larry Blyden, never made it to laserdisc. It comes to DVD in an edition filled with handy little extras -- but, alas, no interview with or commentary track by Donen, though the man was very much with us in 2003 -- and in a fine letterboxed transfer, capturing the movie's 2.35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio. The transfer is a beauty and captures the San Franscisco and Pacific vistas utilized in the film magnificently; between those shots and the presence of Jayne Mansfield, this is a demonstration-quality disc. Sometimes Donen seems a little awkward trying to fill the CinemaScope frame, but that problem is solved as soon Mansfield shows up; once the extended party scene gets going with Suzy Parker on hand as well, it seems as if Donen could use triple-lens Cinerama. There's all kinds of good to be found in here, not least of which are the entertaining performances by Grant, Walston, Klemperer (playing an American -- this was before he was typecast as a comical German), and Blyden, and the stunning appearances of Suzy Parker and Jayne Mansfield. Even though it's set during World War II and involves Navy combat officers on leave, from the moment one hears the McGuire Sisters' rendition of the title tune over the opening credits, one knows that Kiss Them for Me has about as much to do with the real Navy as Abbott & Costello's Buck Privates had to do with the Army. Still, there are some moments that are serious and entertaining, such as Ray Walston's explanation of his attempts to become a wounded war hero (including happily cracking up his plane on a carrier deck), in order to forward his intended political career; and Blyden's otherwise cool, laconic Southern pilot having screaming nightmares about being in a burning plane. Most of the movie comes off as an attempt at recapturing the magic of Donen's On the Town (1949) in San Francisco -- the Julius Epstein screenplay is too serious for that, but the result is a strangely compelling and honest nostalgia piece, something that On the Town never really was. The 102-minute movie has been given a very generous 20 chapters that are well selected, and comes with the original theatrical teaser and trailer, plus a still-frame array and a selection of trailers from other Cary Grant films in the Fox DVD library. The audio is mastered a little low, but the nearly half-century-old Deluxe color has been restored to richness and a fine luster. And the disc opens automatically to a simple four-selection, two-layer menu that's very easy to maneuver around.
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Special Features

  • Theatrical trailers
  • Still gallery
  • Closed Captioned


Kiss Them for Me
Luther Davis' racy wartime comedy Kiss Them for Me was expurgated a bit for the 1957 film version. Cary Grant, Ray Walston and Larry Blyden portray three navy war heroes who've been booked on a morale-building "vacation" in San Francisco. Eluding their ulcerated public relations officer (Werner Klemperer), the trio arranges a wild party with plenty of pretty girls. Cary Grant is paired with knockout Suzy Parker, an icy socialite who eventually thaws under his charms. Also on hand is Jayne Mansfield, playing a "good time girl" whose profession was a bit more explicit in the original play; the role was originated by Judy Holliday, who brought a wistfulness to the character that Ms. Mansfield couldn't quite manage. TV sitcom fans will get a kick out of the supporting cast of Kiss Them for Me: Ray Walston, later star of My Favorite Martian plays a libertine navy officer; Werner Klemperer, shorn of the accent he'd use as Colonel Klink in Hogan's Heroes, is hilarious as the flustered p.r. man; and Richard Deacon (Leave It to Beaver, The Dick Van Dyke Show) pops up unbilled as a dour businessman who can't understand the war-hero mystique. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Cary Grant
    Cary Grant - Comm. Andy Crewson
  • Suzy Parker
    Suzy Parker - Gwinneth Livingston
  • Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne Mansfield - Alice Kratzner
  • Leif Erickson
    Leif Erickson - Eddie Turnbill
  • Ray Walston
    Ray Walston - Lieutenant J.G. McCann
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