27 May 2003 | sep1051
Poor Repairing Of Hudson And Lollobrigida
In 1961 Universal had a popular success, Golden Globe winner I believe, with pairing Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida in the comedy "Come September". In 1965 they attempted to recreate the magic with "Strange Bedfellows". Unfortunately this failure just goes to prove that scripts and characters are just as important as actors. Rock Hudson plays a conservative oil executive who impetuously weds bohemian artist Gina Lollabrigida. Given their incompatible natures they separate after a short marriage. Seven years later Lollobrigida wants a divorce to wed newspaper editor Edward Judd while public relations man Gig Young encourages Hudson to portray himself as a happily married man in order to get a big promotion. Hudson proceeds to re-kindle the flame with Lollobrigida, while Judd tries to disrupt the relationship by encouraging Lollobrigida's bohemian causes and thus embarrassing Hudson. The outcome of all this is Lollobrigida riding through London as Lady Godiva as a protest for one of her causes. The movie fails for a variety of reasons. Hudson's scene in bed with Judd might have some "camp" value but, although ungallant of me to say so, I've seen Lollobrigida look better. The character development is limited, with fundamentally incompatible pair coming together apparently without any change in character. None of the supporting players has any personality in the script. Gig Young does many scenes solo, supposedly on the telephone to Hudson's character, and could probably been written out of the entire movie. Judd's acting is unfortunately limited to putting a pipe in and out of his mouth. The producers obviously recognized these problems and brought in British character comedians (i.e. undertaker Terry Thomas and several taxi drivers) for cameos. Much of the Lady Godiva scene requires physical comedy which is not Hudson's and Lollobrigida's forte. As commented on by others the Hollywood backlog substituted for London is cheesy. By way of comparison I would note that Come September had strong support from old pro Walter Slezak, energy from a young Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, beautiful Italian scenery and a coherent plot. Suffice it to say that "Strange Bedfellows" at 98 minutes seemed dreadfully long while "Come September" at 112 minutes whizzed by.