#2 – If a Man Answers (1962)
Sandra Dee, Bobby Darin, and Micheline Presle
Director: Henry Levin, Producer: Ross Hunter, Production Company: Universal Pictures
A beautiful blonde with a French mother from the Folies-Bergere and a wealthy, stuffy Bostonian father meets a commercial photographer, but she wants to do more than pose for him. Using her mother’s French wiles, she marries him, but once married, she employs a dog training book and a fake lover to keep him interested.
This is the first full film I have watched during August, and the only one, so far. Although a lighthearted, amusing, and generally enjoyable film, this movie is very obviously from 1962 in terms of its Code compliance or lack thereof. The film begins with a cartoon sequence narrated by Chantal (Sandra Dee) recounting her parents’ courtship. The cartoons show a nearly nude maman dancing in the Folies-Bergeres, and the narration features the blatant usage of previously taboo term sex education. The word sex is used as more than a synonym multiple times in this movie’s dialogue. Some of the costumes in which Chantal poses are rather risque, too. Of course, they are very staid compared with the scandalous costumes her mother (Micheline Presle) recounts having worn in Paris. This film’s main un-Codishness comes from its steady stream of suggestive dialogue. Also, the situation of the imaginary lover, Robert Swan, is discussed a bit too pointedly. This is an example of a film which contains no profanity, no nudity, no violence, and no actual immorality. However, a thorough sprinkling of Shurlockian surface problems makes it very indecent compared with the clean, wholesome fare which we enjoyed during #CleanMovieMonth2020.
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