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Don't Make Waves
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10 from APPROVED votes
Release: 15 Sep 1967 /

Don't Make Waves

Genre: Comedy
Director: Alexander Mackendrick,
Stars:
Synopsis: New York tourist Tony Curtis falls asleep on a Southern California beach on his first night in the West and wakes up to The New Phantasmagoria--catamarans, surfers (including a dog), ...

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Critic Reviews


This is one of a multitude of sex comedies Tony Curtis starred in around this time in his career; incidentally, I had seen about half of it some years back (also on Italian TV) but had to abort the viewing due to a bad reception!

Anyway, if the film is at all remembered today, it is primarily for two reasons: it not only marked the cinematic swan song of a great director, but was also the official Hollywood introduction of the beguiling but ill-fated Sharon Tate. Two more (if lesser) claims to fame should be the undeniably funny Chaplinesque ‘house-teetering-on-the-edge-of-a-cliff’ climax and the fact that leading rock band The Byrds perform the film’s rather charmingly light title tune.

Patchy and somewhat hesitant overall, it is nonetheless engaging and occasionally delightful; the satirical barbs aimed at L.A.’s muscle beach mentality (especially David Draper, the amiably moronic blonde hulk who is Tate’s boyfriend), the then-current astrological fad and businessmen indulging in extramarital activities often hit the target – even if with a much blunter edge than in Mackendrick’s previous film with Curtis, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957). Two other lively highlights of the film are the initial ‘meeting cute’ between Curtis and leading lady Claudia Cardinale (in which, as he tells her himself, she inadvertently manages to ruin his whole life in 30 seconds flat!) and the potentially disastrous sky-diving stunt performed by Tate and (unexpectedly) Curtis, which ends with both of them landing in his newly-inaugurated pool.

The film does benefit from a workmanlike cast: Curtis is in good form as an opportunistic young man who, while being compulsively pursued by the accident-prone Cardinale, becomes hopelessly infatuated with luscious, free-spirited beach girl Sharon Tate (her effortlessly sensual slow-motion exercises on the beach early in the film are quite disturbing to watch now when one realizes that she would die so horribly in less than two years’ time); Robert Webber is a swimming pool company executive driven to his wits’ end by lover Cardinale and the blackmailing schemes of Curtis, who soon shows his salesmanship skills by selling a pool to Jim “Mr. Magoo” Backus (playing himself) and a celebrity fortune-teller with the unlikely name of Madame Lavinia (played by famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen).

While it is undoubtedly Mackendrick’s least (i.e. most inconsequential) film – and could well have been the reason why he left the profession and went into teaching – it’s a tribute to his mostly unsung genius that the film is as enjoyable as it is despite the evident flaws.

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