Dean Martin stars in this once-controversial comedy as Dino, a Las Vegas crooner, alcoholic, and celebrity playboy. Dino requires women like oxygen -- a companionless night leaves him with a headache. Ray Walston is Orville, a provincial piano teacher, aspiring songwriter, and jealous husband. Orville violently obsesses over his wife Zelda's (Felicia Farr) fidelity -- any man she encounters becomes his sworn enemy. When a chance detour brings Dino to Orville's hometown of Climax, NV, it is the perfect opportunity for the piano teacher and his songwriting partner, Barney (Cliff Osmond), to pitch their tunes. Yet, Orville predictably fears the possible combination of Dino's libido with Zelda's childhood crush on the singer. Before the two can meet, Orville deceitfully bullies Zelda out of their house and Barney hires local roadhouse prostitute Polly the Pistol (Kim Novak) to pose as Orville's wife. Zelda turns to drink for solace, ending up at the exact bar where Polly plies her trade and, eventually, in the call girl's empty trailer. By the next morning, Orville is with Polly and Dino (looking for a prostitute) finds his way to Zelda -- and husband, wife, hooker, and Barney will all reap the benefits of infidelity.
As indicated, this picture (which endured numerous complications on its long journey to the screen, including Walston's replacement of ailing star Peter Sellers) drew a great deal of attention upon release, most of it overwhelmingly negative. The Catholic League of Decency gave it a "condemned" rating (the first one applied since the 1956 Baby Doll), the picture was charged with debauchery, and movie theaters across the nation discontinued its run. This bed-trick comedy had America's panties tied in a knot, with many arguing that one could not imagine a story so distasteful. As a reflection on changing mores and standards, though, it was rated GP in 1970 (eventually changed to PG-13 in 1994). ~ Aubry Anne D'Arminio, Rovi
- Dean Martin, Kim Novak, (more)
- Billy Wilder
- Theatrical MPAA Rating:
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