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Friday, 2 July 2010

Rock solid entertainment (Come September)

Liza Fellini says, "They are four boys and six girls. Together they add up to ten. And, there's safety in numbers." Perturbed beyond words, Robert Talbot retorts, "There is much to it than mathematics. Those boys are very capable of dividing and multiplying!" And, the fun starts...
Robert Mulligan's romantic comedy, Come September, pits Rock Hudson against Bobby Darin (the singer makes his debut here). And, we have an uproarious battle of wits and fun schemes.
If Hudson combats with his experience, Darin settles scores with his astute spontaneity. The match is top notch with these two good looking players locking horns to outsmart each other. And, we get to enjoy an enthralling film in the process.
That's not all. Hudson, apart from a bunch of giggly college girls and four 20-year-old boys pining after them, has to handle the feisty Gina Lollobrigida. And, Maurice, and Margaret, and matters of the heart. Not to mention the Italian police!!
Come September is exhilarating in its execution. And, easy on the senses. Robert Talbot, a wealthy businessman, visits his Italian villa every September. A refuge for the man who wants some moments away from the din of the world, he rests in this oasis with his Italian sweetheart, Liza. A commitment phobic, Robert shies away from marrying Liza because he cherishes his freedom too much and the settlement with Liza hurt nobody till now. But, Liza's had enough and decides to marry Spencer, an Englishman (Ronald Howard's sufficiently dimwitted). But, things are not so simple. Not ready to let go of Robert's memories she melts when the attractive hero beckons her on her wedding day. Little realising that 'old love is like don't fill in the old, you buy a new bottle', Liza calls off the wedding, packs her bags and is off to be with Robert once again. That Robert couldn't wait till September and came calling in July is enough to pacify her agitated nerves. She is only too happy reveling in his amorous attention, at his idyllic villa in the picturesque Italian Riviera...(What does it take to get to this paradise, may I inquire?!?!)
Robert is also happy to be back at his Italian abode. But, little does he know that his trusted servant has transformed his precious home to Le Dolce Vista, a hotel. But Maurice (Walter Slezak is very cute, but a bit effeminate with his arm movements, I feel) covers up very fast. (Sounds familiar right? Yes, Mere Sanam and Kashmir ki Kali is borrowed from this plot) Unfortunately, Maurice's bluff is exposed when Sandy intrudes upon Robert's privacy and irritates him with her psychoanalysis. Sandy, one of the 18-year-old girls staying at the villa as a guest, is instrumental in Robert getting to know what's up in his villa. And, the repercussions are riotous.
This 1961 entertainer is best experienced first hand. For, I cannot elucidate enough on the marvellous intricacies of the fun plot. I cannot put to words the rib-tickling effects that the four young boys have on Robert. He instantly becomes over-protective about his guests, the young girls (kids as he says) to whom he delivers lectures on love and respect. Robert? The man who himself prefers to continue his detached arrangement with Liza? It's only normal that his sermons would boomerang on his own life!!
Liza soon realises that she had been 'selling her love by giving out free samples' and compromising on her self respect! Robert implores her to not think (and why not?) about their relationship. She talks sensibly (even though she is Italian and is not supposed to do so, she says) during her crazy fight with Robert! It is only for her own good that she leaves him, so that he values her. And, that Robert soon does, courtesy the smart and apologetic medical student, Tony (Darin). What happens next? There is a funny proposal sequence and more gags... Find out yourself...
So, was Rock Hudson really gay? Hard to believe. His passionate overtures towards Lollobrigida, his heavy baritone, his sex appeal, his rugged sensuality...where do I start? Also, his impeccable sense of humour, his quick comic timing and his jaw-dropping physique!!! Hudson just makes Come September shine... I just love him outsmarting Tony and his cronies during the hike and on drinks, romancing with Liza and obsessing over the girls. As Liza says, he reveals a moral streak, a protective side to his otherwise nonchalant but flamboyant character. And, when he dances... Oh!!!
Lollobrigida looks like a dream in Morton Haack's attires. All of them exquisite pieces. I particularly like her hairstyle, short fancy bobs clipped up with exclusive accessories. She is a true Italian beauty, replete with warm brown eyes, an alabaster skin and a sexy shape (as Tony says, "There are 206 bones in a human's body, and, I have never seen them better arranged"). Though her jawline is a bit hard, she has a charming smile. But, it is her vivacious personality that's remarkable. She makes Liza so much fun to watch. Ebullient and spunky, Liza is easy to love and laugh at simultaneously. You really feel like tapping her head with your knuckles when she is ready to fall into Robert's trap. Turning into jelly at a mere "Oh, how I have missed you" from Robert, she fails to see that he is a bit too self-indulgent and selfish to regard her emotions.
But then, when she sees light, you cheer for her when she smashes Robert's ego and triumphs over her foolishness. She says, "The market is closed. Now you can go shopping somewhere else." Clap clap...
Any bit of trivia about any film always excites me. I read about Darin and Sandra Dee's love affair during the making of the film. They married ten days after the film was wrapped. Sweet story. Their chemistry is almost palpable in some scenes. When Tony flirts with Sandy during the picnic (on the pretext of catching a butterfly) I find myself smiling. Of course Tony is testing her by praising Liza's beauty. Sandy is obviously jealous and Tony's purpose is solved! Watch what happens next...
Dee and Darin look awesome together. He is smart and cute (especially in Multiplication) and she is bubbly and pretty. I love her golden bob and her perky smile (I don't know why, but she reminds me of the young Farida Jalal). I love the scene where she catches Liza sneaking out of the bedroom to enjoy some intimacy with Robert. She is innocently cheeky with that quick wink!
And, of course, the scene where Tony meets Sandy for the first time. He greets her with an amiable Buen giorno. She returns the greeting with a coy smile as well as a Buen giorno. Kicked by the favourable response, he shrugs to his friends and declares, "This one's mine!" Quick and effective, I must say!!


  1. Very pretty, this film - and I love the title music, plus Muliplication is the name of the game. Otherwise, I didn't much care for Come September (I reviewed it a year ago):

    I guess one reason for my not liking this one too much was that I'd seen several Rock Hudson films one after the other - and, when compared to Send Me No Flowers or Man's Favourite Sport?, I think Come September falls rather short.

    Love that observation about Sandra Dee being reminiscent of Farida Jalal! You're very right - in something like Aradhana, for instance?

  2. @Dustedoff: Yes yes Aradhana and a bit in Dharmatma (though Jalal was really podgy by then). Well, I have to see Rockm Hudson's other more famous films then, as you say they are even better :)
    Now I'm off to read your take on it :)

  3. @Sharmi: Though it's not the best of the rom-coms I’ve seen, the situational comedy triggering a veritable midsummer madness provides capital fun.

  4. @Netdhaba: Yes, and you have Hudson and Darin on top of that :)

  5. I love this film! Its frothy and fun and so pretty. Rock Hudson+Gina Lollobrigida would have err... multiplied to some very good effect! :D

    There is another Bollywood adaptation of this one that I love - Ek Baar Kaho. Its more of a romance than a comedy, but it is meltingly sweet and I've always had a soft spot for Navin Nischol because he did the Rock Hudson part in EBK.

  6. Not the most rocking of rom-coms, but i like it for the midsummer madness and the resultant situational comedy.
    Good post :)

  7. @Bollyviewer: I agree with you on that multiplication bit Bollyviewer :)
    Navin Nischol is quite cute. Then i must see EBK :)

  8. @Dwaipayan: It might not be the best but it does ensure good laughs. And, Rock Hudson is so so good :) Thanks for the comment :)