Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Strain Begins to Tell in Stewart, Dee Epic

Cleveland Press November 22, 1963

Phoebe and Henry Ephron's play "Take Her, She's Mine," was no earth shaker. But it was a pleasant little thing that gave voice to some obvious and eternal truths about parents' concern for their children when they leave the nest.

Specifically, the play dealt with a father's concern for his daughter as she leaves home for college. The father is a rather silly character and his worries are exaggerated for the sake of comedy.

So much for the play. For the movie version 20th Century - Fox decided to open up this vehicle to the proportions of a minor epic, transform the father from a frantic comic to a bungling jerk and toss in some Paris scenery for good measure.

WHAT'S LEFT of the play is capsuled into the first third of the movie. From then on Nunnally Johnson's script gets more and more strained and one tired situation follows another.

Item: The father, James Stewart, has trouble in crowds because he resembles a certain actor -- James Stewart.

Item: Stewart in Paris makes a phone call from what turns out to be a house of ill repute and gets caught in a police raid.

Item: Stewart at a costume party is wearing an outfit that falls apart at the seams and he is left running around in his shorts.

The gags are not only corny, they are embarrassing;

Stewart does his best in a part that is an awful strain on anyone's credulity. Fathers in the audience will not find any sympathetic identification with the role.

SANDRA DEE is effective as the daughter until it comes time for any genuine emoting, then she's lost.

Robert Morley has a gem of a part as a British traveler. Audrey Meadows has little to do as the mother. The French boy friend is played by Philippe Forquet, a handsome youth in a one dimensional portrayal.

Fox manages to drag in a plug for another of its movies as Miss Dee and most of the other girls in sight show up at a costume ball made up as Cleopatra.

One other bit of reaching in search for a laugh cannot pass without mention. A wolfish college boy is readily identified as a Harvard man by his accent.

He sounds like the President.