TV Cream

Films: G is for...

Guide for the Married Man, A

A film of two halves, this Walter Matthau middle-aged libido-com. On the one hand, it’s dated, lairy cobblers of the first water, with endless sub-Playboy dolly birds, ‘hilarious’ clandestine affairs and up-for-it/subservient women, which pretty much wastes not only Matthau but Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Joey Bishop, Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Phil Silvers and Terry-Thomas (who plays host to a braless Jayne Mansfield) in a series of sketches poorly linked by the story of Matthau’s rocky road to fidelity. On the other hand Gene Kelly, in the director’s seat, takes one look at the calendar on the wall reading ‘1967’ and fills the film with jump cuts, location swaps, psychedelic effects and speeded-up/slow-mo work (the final shot, with Matthau rushing home from a Bunny-filled office to his family, which starts in extreme Benny Hill mode and ends in slow motion may be old hat by today’s standards, but back then must have been a hell of an achievement). All this conspires to make a film it’s impossible not to watch, if you’re a fan of Casino Royale (and if you’ve read this far, you must be). And don’t forget that swinging theme song by The Turtles.

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