• MASTER PLAN: steal a formula for water resistant hairspray. The director and star of "The Glass Bottom Boat" returned for another stab at comical intrigue. This one starts as a seemingly serious thriller about someone getting killed on the snowy Alpine slopes and others involved in some sort of espionage in Paris; the ski chases even precede the ones in the James Bond thriller "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"(69). But, we soon find out it involves corporate espionage, not the other kind; it's all about stealing formulas for perfumes and fragrances, with Doris Day playing a private secret agent in the employ of a tycoon (Mulhare). We're not sure who Richard Harris works for; he might be working for Mulhare's character; or, for one of his enemies; or, both; then again, he might be working for someone else entirely. Walston (of "My Favorite Martian" and "Picket Fences" TV shows) is the intense chemist and odd ladies man, obviously a little sinister. They all take the proceedings quite seriously, as if he who ends up with the special formula for hairspray shall rule the world. I found it difficult to get too excited as the story wore on, especially since I was expecting to laugh for a good portion of it. There is some mystery attached, I will give it that, as we wait for everyone to reveal what they're really doing by the conclusion.

    This is a bit more stylish than "The Glass Bottom Boat" and has some real nice sets, trying to capture the elegance of a James Bond-wannabe suspensor, but it also lacks the breezy qualities of the previous Doris Day comedy. Since it is supposed to be a comedy when all is said and done, it fails to capture that easygoing tone of the better laughers, with barely any chuckle-inducing scenes, despite some silly slapstick involving Day's clumsiness (again). This is probably because it has trouble deciding what it wants to be - a comedy or a thriller - and the two tones scrape against each other uncomfortably rather than jell. Day and Harris have no chemistry and Harris was obviously miscast - this type of role is for Rock Hudson, James Garner or Rod Taylor to breeze through; Harris is known for his intense dramas & realistic thrillers, and his intensity still seeps in despite his efforts to be carefree. When he and Day are telling the audience that they've fallen in love in the last act I didn't buy it for a second; I expected him to start slapping her or just shoot her as the movie was ending. There's also not much surprise as to who the real villains are; Mulhare, for example, was best known for his dastardly role in "Our Man Flint" at this point. The actress Tsu was quite cute in a secondary role and it's too bad she didn't have a bigger career. Watch for actor Pollard ("Bonnie and Clyde") hamming it up as Tsu's boyfriend in one scene. The filmmakers also broke a fourth wall here by having Day's character in a theater which is playing the movie "Caprice." This was the one genuinely amusing moment. Heroine:6 Villain:6 Male Fatales:5 Henchmen:4 Fights:4 Stunts/Chases:5 Gadgets:5 Auto:5 Locations:6 Pace:5 overall:5