Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Film Review: Cactus Flower (1969)

Such a fun film!
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TCM: A philandering dentist asks his assistant to help him deal with his latest girlfriend.

     So, I've wanted to see this film for a really long time. It's been on my wish list for just as long, but for some unknown reason every time I see it at Barnes and Noble or check on it at Amazon randomly, I never end up buying it.
     Shame. On. Me.
     I went to the good ole' library this past Saturday with the intent of returning books and scanning some paper for a college that won't leave me alone and I really have no intention to going to because it's a couple of hours away from home, and while some seniors are biting at the quick to get the hell out of dodge after they graduate high school, I'm not one of them. I like where I live and I plan on staying here for a really long time. In any case, however, despite the fact that I basically wasted my time scanning files and talking on the phone, I did have enough time to kind of scan through the aisles to find a couple of books and a couple of DVDs.
     Guess what one caught my eye?
This is the look that I had on my face, too, when mulling
over the cast.
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     Go on. Guess. Did you guess Cactus Flower? Yay! You get a cookie.
     Okay, all joking aside . . . eh, maybe, I decided that it was high time to watch Cactus Flower. I mean, hello, we've got Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Goldie Hawn all in one film. Together. The cast alone makes it a required film to watch at least once in your lifetime.
     So, I didn't really know what I was getting into before I watched this film, because as much as the cast alone makes it a required film to watch, it's also, in my opinion, one to really make you puzzle over. Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau with Goldie Hawn in her first film? Walter and Goldie as a couple in this film? Ingrid as a dentist's assistant in love with the dentist?
     It shouldn't work . . . but it does!
Ingrid and Walter.
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     Cactus Flower is a very quite comedy to me, in that the humor, while funny, isn't over the top or very blatant. To me, it's very subtle and smart and witty. Sure, there's sex in it (or rather the overt idea of sex), that would surely make some back in the day blush (or rather the parents of the teenagers that watched the film blush). Yeah, and I know that by the time the sixties hit the film industry, the Code was long gone, but as I watched Cactus Flower I couldn't help but think, "What code?" because believe me--they're not hiding anything in this film.
Still as gorgeous as ever.
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     My favorite person in the film was the always lovely Ingrid Bergman. Ingrid aged with so much grace and I found her even more beautiful in this film then in, say, Casablanca more than twenty years earlier. She is as charming as the day is long and funny as hell as the "drill sergeant" dentist assistant who's in love with Walter Mattahu's character, Julian Winston. And, hey, she makes "The Dentist" (a dance move) look good . . . Offhand, I can't think of too many comedies that Ingrid did, I know there's a couple thrown in there, but sadly they weren't a regular thing for her,  and they should've been because she sure has a great flair for them and most of the parts that I was laughing at was because of the things that Ingrid did or said.
Silly Walter.
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     Now, Walter Matthau has always been a favorite of mine. I remember watching Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men when I was a kid, and I always felt like I was going to pull something because I laughed so hard at Walter's and Jack Lemmon's antics. He's no different in Cactus Flower. For me, Walter Matthau was one of the all time greatest zingers; he gave as good as he got--most of the time even better. He has some great one liners that had me laughing so hard I could hardly breathe.
     Okay, here's one thing I want to throw out there for anyone and everyone that has seen this film before: Is it just me, or does sometimes, by the way he makes a face or turns his head, Walter remind any of you of Gregory Peck? I'm not saying that they look anything alike--because they most certainly do not--but as I just listed, when Walter did something in a certain way, he just reminded me of Gregory Peck . . . I have no idea why, but he did. I maybe off base here, but I just got to know one way or the other . . .
Look at them eyes!
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     And, last but certainly not least, we have sweet little, blue eye Goldie Hawn in her first film. I've always liked Goldie Hawn, and I think she's really fun, but Cactus Flower takes the cake. She was just fantastic! And for me, after watching this film, I knew that there could never have been a doubt back then that one day Goldie Hawn would become Goldie Hawn . . . and sure enough, she did just that!
Quick Fact: The girl who plays Juliet in the film that is
shown is none other than Olivia Hussey, also known as
Dean Martin Jr's first wife, meaning Dean's daughter-in-law.
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     The supporting characters along the likes of Jack Weston (that guy that owns the hotel in Dirty Dancing), Rick Lenz, Vito Scotti, and Irene Hervey round out this wonderful cast to make a wonderful film that I would highly recommend anyone to watch if they are in the mood for something light and sure to make you laugh. It's definitely being bought by me in the very near future so I can add this wonderful and, in my opinion, underrated gem to my collection . . . which I also suggest for you to do if you have not already.

1 comment:

Silver Screenings said...

Thanks for the review. I have never seen this film, but I'll watch for it now. It'll be interesting to see Bergman in a comedy.