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"Kiss Them For Me"

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Character's Name: Cmdr Andy Crewson
Release Date:  December 10, 1957
Director: Stanley Donen
Studio:  20th Century-Fox
Running Time: 102 minutes

Cast: Cary Grant (Crewson), Jayne Mansfield (Alice), Suzy Parker (Gwenneth), Leif Erickson (Eddie Turnbill), Ray Walston (Lt. "Mac" McCann), Larry Blyden (Mississip), Nathaniel Frey (C.P.O. Ruddle), Werner Klemperer (Commander Wallace), Jack Mullaney (Ensign Lewis)

- 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 hate her.

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.

VARIETY 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 boxoffice.

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 Erickson.

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 this picture.

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.

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