It’s Quite a New Twist Isn’t It?

Posted: 18/06/2013 in 1953


There’s no doubt that we won’t be getting another film with the type of dialogue that is featured in Otto Preminger’s The Moon is Blue for the rest of the year.   It’s a sexy comedy that focuses on subjects that are taboo, not just for the time period, but really in any conversation for that matter.   Although it is not a perfect film, it does deliver laughs, it does make the viewer think about social norms, and I do believe it is the funniest film of the year.  These are not cheap laughs that are being forced here, but F. Hugh Herbert’s witty dialogue that makes the viewer chuckle often and smile from ear to ear when not laughing.

Much will always be made of the subject matter of this comedy for adults.  Personally, I see the controversy as distracting.  The film doesn’t really knock down any barriers.  It still is rather sexist.  Or is it?  Is Maggie McNamera as Patty O’Neill really playing the rest of the cast the whole time?  Is she possibly the smartest and most manipulative person in the room?  It is hard to tell, and I think that’s what makes her performance really work.  She will be accused of being annoying and too chatty for film, but in reality I think that is all part of her trap.  In a year of helpless damsels in distress, Miss McNamera may be the one that may be laughing in the end.  She purposely brings up topics that aren’t to be brought up.  She purposes says things that aren’t to be said.  Is she naive?  This viewer thinks the opposite.  I was actually to the point of thinking that she might be the best written female character of the year.  And then the end comes and ruins that notion.  I don’t want to say much about the end for fear of revealing spoilers, but let us just say it is completely inconsistent with what I want Patty to be.  Minus the final 5 minutes, this film gets an all out rave, but it will have to join a small group of films this year that fails to deliver from beginning to end.

Ending aside, The Moon is Blue is a refreshing comedy when viewed in context with other comedies seen so far this year that deal with the subject of romance (or infactuation or lust or whatever it is that this film is addressing). William Holden is ok, but many could have played his role.  All of his shining moments are coming out of Stalag 17 this year.  David Niven, however, has a ton of great lines, and it’s enjoyable performance that he delivers as co-lead indeed.  In terms of comedic timing, his is the best of this film, and I hope it will be remembered a few months down the road.  A perfect film this is not, between the ending and the fact that nothing remarkable is done in terms of direction to this stage play, but it is genuninely funny and refreshing in a year with tired love stories.

***1/2 ~AOS

Up next… a more standard comedic-musical with Charles Walter’s Lili.


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