DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

IT STARTED WITH A KISS (director: George Marshall; screenwriters: Charles Lederer/story by Valentine Davies; cinematographer: Robert Bronner; editor:  John McSweeney Jr.; music:  Jeff Alexander; cast: Glenn Ford (Sgt. Joe Fitzpatrick), Debbie Reynolds (Maggie Putnam), Eva Gabor (Marquesa de la Rey), Gustavo Rojo (Antonio Soriano), Fred Clark (Gen. O'Connell), Edgar Buchanan (Congressman Tappe), Harry Morgan (Charles Meriden), Alice Backes  (Sally Meriden), Robert Warwick (Congressman Muir), Frances Bavier (Mrs. Tappe), Robert Cunningham (The Major); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Aaron Rosenberg; MGM; 1959)

"The most exciting thing about the touristy breezy romcom is an experimental 1955 Lincoln Futura, the concept car that was the future model for the Batmobile."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The most exciting thing about the touristy breezy romcom is an experimental 1955 Lincoln Futura, the concept car that was the future model for the Batmobile. The sexy custom-made car was at the time the most expensive car ever made.

It Started With A Kiss is based on a story by Valentine Davies and is written by Charles Lederer. Director George Marshall ("My Friend Irma"/"Destry Rides Again"/"The Sad Sack") keeps it sitcom friendly, predictable and formulaic, while filling it with plenty of sexual innuendos, misunderstandings and lame sex comedy antics. If the stars Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds weren't so likeable, this pic would have stalled.

In NYC, Air Force Sergeant Joe Fitzpatrick (Glenn Ford) is on leave and awaiting orders for his next destination, when he is attracted to gold digger nightclub dancer Maggie Putnam (Debbie Reynolds). She wishes to meet a millionaire and thereby volunteers to sell raffles at the Fresh Air Fund charity event for the flashy $40,000 Lincoln Futura. While trying to pick her up, the sergeant buys a raffle and convinces her to go on a date. After kissing Maggie on the date, they marry the next day and the sergeant receives orders to go to Madrid. While Joe is reading his wife's letter with his Air Force pals, every one thinks the big wonderful surprise Maggie mentions, "the most wonderful surprise that could happen to two people," is that she's pregnant. When she arrives in Madrid, the surprise, it turns out, is that Joe won the luxury car at the charity raffle.

The inane plot revolves around Maggie wanting to make sure the marriage between the strangers is based on more than a physical attraction and therefore decides sex is off-limits for the next thirty days to see if they have other things in common. The subplot has the military worried its soldiers would embarrass the host nation, Spain, by acting like rich Americans and orders the soldiers to keep a low-profile. When "the car of tomorrow" arrives in Cadiz, the couple ride it throughout Spain's colorful tourist spots and there's a clash between congress, the military and soldier Joe over the flashy car and if it should be sent home. There's also an amorous bullfighter (Gustavo Rojo) making a play for the pouting Maggie, that works itself out as easily as every other problem in this pic does.

Publicity of the stars headline divorces at the time, caught the public's interest and brought them into the theaters in big numbers for a very good box office.

REVIEWED ON 8/5/2013       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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