Kiss Them for Me

They tried so hard ... so very hard ... not to fall in love !

Comedy Romance
105 min     5.4     1957     USA


Three navy war heroes are booked on a morale-building "vacation" in San Francisco. Once they manage to elude their ulcerated public relations officer, the trio throw a wild party with plenty of pretty girls.


John Chard wrote:
Hmm, just about sails out on to safe enough waters. Three Navy pilots earn themselves a four day break in San Francisco and rent a swanky suite in a hotel. Commander Crewson (Cary Grant) promptly arranges for the suite to be a party venue for like minded adults, but stumbling blocks come thick and fast, the pilots are requested to make speeches to rally the home front at shipyard magnate Eddie Turnbill's yards, but the boys don't want to do it, they wish to forget the war. Crewson also starts to fall for Turnbill's lady, Gwinneth Livingston, while scatter brained but demur blonde, Alice Kratzner is stirring the passions of all she comes across, most notably Lieutenant McCann. Directed by the very talented Stanley Donen, and adapted by Julius J. Epstein from Luther Davis' less than successful play, Kiss Them For Me is something of an oddity. It's an uncomfortable splice of comedy and drama and never fully satisfies in either department, with the cast being a very mixed bunch that has divided opinions right across the board. Its satire heart is fine, and to a degree it works, nobody in their right mind could fail to not emphasise with members of the armed forces being fed up with the grind of war, especially since the guys here are not bluffers who haven't done their bit for the war effort. The film also has a bit to promote as regards self promoting tactics of business men not engaged in the forces themselves, but these little proposed edgy slants are asked to sit side by side with sexy comedy and the inevitable romantic plot strands, thus the film almost sinks within its attempt at genre fusion. After reading a number of reviews as regards the cast, I too find myself having a very different view of things, but the one thing i'm adamant about is that Cary Grant most certainly isn't miscast here, he's actually the films one true saving grace, some of his delivery of the barbed wired dialogue is first class. Suzy Parker (Livingstone) appears to get the most stick that is flailing around, but she really isn't that bad, no trees being pulled up but she is tidy enough working off Grant, looks fantastic (definitely giving Jean Simmons a run for her money in the gorgeous bone structured face department), and crucially she's far better than the annoyingly dull Jayne Mansfield (Alice Kratzner). Mansfield has her marker in cinema history, her shtick has worked in a couple of decent movies (The Girl Can't Help It & Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?), but it doesn't here, and it's one of the main reasons the film doesn't quite make it as a rewarding watch. Too much effort is made to shoehorn Mansfield's mugging into the equation, almost usurping the decent efforts of Ray Walston as McCann. So the film to me is pretty much a mismatched effort all round, some good moments are offset by meandering dull ones, the play failed, and really the film is just about watchable fare without being recommended as a marker for all involved. 5/10