Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin in If A Man Answers 1962

For those of you who are fans of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedies, I have a treat for you. In 1962 Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin took a stab at the genre with this cute film. Free spirit Chantal Stacy (Sandra Dee) finds romance with photographer Eugene Wright (Bobby Darin), and after a whirlwind courtship, they're married. The course of love is never smooth in this genre, however, and Chantal soon finds herself neglected by her husband. So, advised by her French mother, she sets about to solve this using a series of deceptions and is, of course, eventually deceived herself. As in all these films, all is well in the end. The cast also includes a young Stefanie Powers and veteran Caesar Romero. The production values are top of the line with beautiful color photography and lush sets and costumes. It's a frothy bonbon, but a fun way to spend an evening.

I was completely unaware of this film until I stumbled across it on Netflix. It's been pretty much forgotten and is rarely seen on TV. There is a DVD of it available and you can find the trailer, uploaded to YouTube by bobbyfan64 above.

Obscurity factor: 5 (largely forgotten, rarely on TV, DVD available)


  1. I love how the Universal comedies of this period looked. They are like period magazine ads for furniture and carpeting and appliances and cars and clothing come to life! When I used to see them on TV in the 1970s I enjoyed them but they looked so artificial to me (which of course they were). I was fascinated by how styles for everything (hair, clothing, architecture - well everything) had changed in about 10 to 15 years. I remember looking around at people with their awful long and shaggy or long and stringy hair, and sloppy, ill-fitting clothing, and at ugly, drab-colored household items and buildings and being amazed that not too many years earlier (which I was too young to really remember in detail) things looked like they did in these movies. (Of course I realized not everything looked that perfect, and not everyone was attractive or had good taste.) It amazed me to think just a few years earlier that one would go outside and actually see people dressed and styled like the characters in the movies. Also, so many TV shows and movies in the 1970s just looked so ugly. I don't know what kind of color processes they used, but so many of them looked so washed-out and grainy. I guess it was part of the naturalistic movement - just point the camera and shoot. Who cares about lighting and make-up and camera angles? When I watch these Universal comedies today I appreciate how they looked in a different way than I did then, because I realize the artifice was not really as fake as it seemed to me before. When I watch "Desperate Housewives," for example, I am also struck by how it looks like like ads for furniture and carpeting and appliances and cars and clothing come to life! It is just the ideal for 2011 instead of the ideal for 1962. Of course, the fact that Wisteria Lane is the Universal suburban neighborhood back lot is not lost on me! I recall Doris and Rock living there in "Send Me No Flowers."

  2. You're right about the difference between the 70's and 60's in styling - it's like another film I wrote about in January - Alex in Wonderland. That has that hippie 70's vibe. It's the hippie answer to 8 1/2, which is all about the sleek, sophistication and beauty of the 60's.