- by Zoë Shaw
Crewson, Mac and Wallace
have four days' shore leave in San Francisco. They devote their brief leave
to wine, women and song....
- Jeff Lang
Some people look at Kiss Them For Me as one of Cary's worst
films. Personally, I enjoy the film each time I see it, but I can see how a few of its
critics' complaints are substantiated. Kiss Them For Me is the story of three navy officers
that con themselves a shore leave to San Francisco during WW II. While there, they go
through many different situations trying to outsmart their superiors so that they can stay
as long as possible. Along the way they happen upon a delightful variety of people. Cary
is Commander Andy Crewson, the voice of the group who happens to fall in love with the fiancée of a tycoon that wants the officers to be spokespersons for his company. After
several failed attempts to give speeches for the tycoon, the threesome find themselves in
trouble with the shore patrol. Like I mentioned, I like Kiss Them For Me. There is one
thing, person actually, that annoys me throughout this movie. Suzy Parker and her
narcoleptic delivery style is enough to put you to sleep. She is totally wooden throughout
the picture, not even showing emotion until close to the end, which by then, you already
The main saving graces of the movie are the interaction
between three crew members. Usually throwing parties in their suite, the three characters
draw you in. Another saving grace would have to be Jayne Mansfield. Without her, the only
notable female in the film would be Suzy Parker and we just can't have that! Jayne's
flirtations with the three men are some of the funniest parts of the film. There is that
one squealing scene though, but it's short enough that it shouldn't bother you too much.
In the end, Kiss Them For Me does the job that any good movie should do, capture your
attention. When you watch this movie, you forget about everything else whether you enjoy
this film or not, you'll just wish Suzy Parker was forgotten as well.
Film Review - November 6, 1957
- by "Kap"
- submitted by Barry Martin
It has taken a dozen years and a transition from printed page to
stage to screen to lend commercial possibilities to Frederic
Wakeman's first novel, "Shore Leave." It was
moderately successful as a book and eked out a short run on
Broadway as a play by Luther Davis, under the title of "Kiss
Them For Me." Now, with virtually all of the serious
material excised to hew closely to a comedy line and with Cary
Grant and Jayne Mansfield as marquee bait, the film version
produced by Jerry Wald for 20th-Fox release looks like okay
Julius Epstein's glib screenplaying
of the basic material now emphasizes the comedic aspects of the
hectic, four-day "informal" leave in San Francisco of
Cary Grant, Ray Walston and Larry Blyden, a trio of naval air aces
of the Pacific war. Grant, the reckless leader of the
triumvirate, coolly circumvents red tape to get stateside after an
extensive tour of duty, with the intention of loving it up for
four days. He does, meeting and falling in love with Suzy
Parker in the process and winning her away from stuffy tycoon Leif
Walston meanwhile has been
victorious in a campaign to be elected a congressman and Blyden
has had little luck in the quick romance department. News
that their carrier has been sunk, however, sends them back to the
war, ignoring the chance for extended shore leave for Grant and
Blyden via speaking tours of war plants and Walston's opportunity
to become a civilian as a result of his elections. There are
occasional and bitter references to wartime profiteers, an angle
which dominated much of the play, but the passage of time has
dulled the sting and they serve now only to slow the comedy
slightly. To overcome this, Epstein has come up with sharp
dialog that frequently cues solid chuckles.
Stanley Donen has directed with a
fine feeling for the comedy aspects and the film unspools
smoothly. Grant is slick and satisfying in the key role and
both Walston and Blyden register with conviction. Miss
Parker is decorative but without any emotional quality in the
role. And Jayne Mansfield wanders in and out to supply good
humor, eye appeal and emphasis on war-weary pilots' inclinations
in a good portrayal. There's also good work from Erickson
and, in much smaller parts, from Nathaniel Frey as a Chief Petty
officer; Werner Klemperer as a PRO officer seeking to feather a
post-war next; and Jack Mullaney as an ensign sent to check on the
trio's orders and side-tracked by wine, women and song.
Wald's overall production
supervision is good and the film has a professional flavor, aided
by such technical assists as Milton Krasner's DeLuxe color lensing
and Robert Simpson's editing. Lionel Newman did the score
and teamed with Carroll Coates for the title tune which the
McGuire Sisters sing over the opening and closing credits.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - November 9, 1957
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
A tall, slumberous miss named Suzy Parker is the one new and
fascinating thing in "Kiss Them for Me," a lot of
nonsense that came to the Roxy yesterday.
Miss Parker, they tell us, was a
model until a few months ago, when she was tapped by Jerry Wald,
this film's producer, and that we can well believe. She is
elegant, cool and slightly haughty, high-cheeked and
auburn-haired, just the sort to appeal to the likes of a ravening
Cary Grant. She is not yet much of an actress (let's say she
doesn't have a lot to act with here), but she does lend an air to
Succinctly, she rates a courteous
cheer. But "Kiss Them for Me" - well, let say
this: it is the sort of film that might have been timely and
affecting about twelve years ago (which is when a play of the same
title and somewhat the same content appeared on the Broadway
stage). Then its arch and ribald maundering about three
heroes of the War in the South Pacific squandering four days in
San Francisco might very well have struck home.
Granted. But now the high
bravado of the heroes as they roll into town and take up
extravagant lodging at the Fairmount Hotel seems pat and a little
bit weary. Their goggle-eyed gazing down ladies' gowns and
their withering sarcasm towards civilians seem stale and
considerably forced. And their sentiment and self-pity,
capped by a rush to get back into the war, strike a contemporary
viewer as intolerably juvenile. This is trying to recapture
a desperate war mood twelve years after it has gone.
Furthermore, writer Julius Epstein,
who adapted Luther Davis' play (which was based on Frederic
Wakeman's novel "Shore Leave," one of the best out of
the war), has killed what little pathos there was in it by cutting
the heart out of the girl, who gave herself generously to one of
the heroes. As a matter of fact, he has cut her in two.
He has given one half (Miss Parker)
to the hero, whom Mr. Grant plays. She is the loveless fiancée
of a gross civilian, and she doesn't need more than a slight
shove. The other half, played by Jayne Mansfield, he has
farcically flung to the other boys. They can have her.
She is grotesque, artificial, noisy, distasteful - and dull.
Neither of these young ladies adds poignancy or humor to the film.
What humor there is - and there is
a little - comes from some breezy repartee tossed off by Mr.
Grant, Ray Walston and Larry Blyden as the heroic three. Mr.
Grant is a little creaky for this sort of Navy-flier jazz, but he
is eloquently sardonic. The others are okay. Leif
Erickson, as the gross civilian, and Werner Klemperer, as a Navy
public relations officer, adequately symbolize dullards.
Stanley Donen's direction ebbs and flows.
This picture, in Cinema-Scope and
color, is a product of Twentieth Century-Fox.
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
<< Back to Reviews | Top of Page