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Man’s Favorite Sport

25 Nov

Man’s Favorite Sport — Directed by Howard Hawks. Romantic Comedy. A world-renowned expert on angling has never fished until goaded into a competition by a PR lady. 120 minutes Color 1964.

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Paula Prentiss! – Wow!  I had never seen her before, because at the time she was always in the sort of movies I avoided – but she is clearly one of the greatest light comediennes in film. What a gift! She’s bright, quick on the uptake, pretty, has a nifty figure. Her voice is low and well-placed, just like Hawks liked, and with lots of variety in the intonation, and she even has a Southern accent. (I got some catching up to do.) She plays a part perfectly suited to Katharine Hepburn thirty years prior, the usual Hawks comic lead, a fast-talking intruder into the life of a duller mate, and she is superb in it. And so, fellow citizens, we now wrench our fascinated gaze from her towards the Wonder Bread of Rock Hudson. Now, to give him his due, the movie is unevenly written, and Paula Prentiss seems to have all the lines, and the man does his manful honest best. But it is a part perfectly suited to Cary Grant thirty years before, and Rock Hudson does not have a funny bone in his body. When you consider Rock Hudson comedies, you will notice that the leading role is bifurcated, the other half of it being played by someone who is funny, namely Tony Randall. Cary Grant never needed a Tony Randall to be funny. Fred Astaire was usually given Edward Everett Horton, and James Garner was given no one, for it is this actor that this role cries out for. Hudson had a beautiful speaking voice, is tall, dark, and handsome in a not very interesting way, and acted in a very well worked out one-dimension. And so all he can do is be put-upon by the person of the infuriating Prentiss, rather than by the female exasperator in her. The film is padded with physical comedy which I am not sure even Cary Grant could have rendered droll, but Hudson, who is not like Grant an acrobat, nonetheless does them all thoroughgoingly, ya gotta give him credit. Cary Grant and James Garner are exactly the same physical type of leading man as Hudson, and both are master light comedians. Why are they that and Hudson not? It’s gift of god, as everyone knows who sees this picture and watches only Prentiss while Hudson and she are on the screen together.

 

 
 
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