Saturday, March 16, 2024

#2,950. Don't Make Waves (1967) - Alexander Mackendrick 4-Pack


Don’t Make Waves gets off to a wild start, then barely slows down to take a breath.

Tourist Carlo Cofield (Tony Curtis) stops along a stretch of road in Southern California to admire the ocean view. Also nearby is temperamental artist Laura Califatti (Claudia Cardinale), who, after abandoning her effort to paint a picture of the landscape, angrily hops into her car and speeds off. Unfortunately, she clipped the bumper of poor Carlo’s vehicle on the way out, sending it careening down a hill and off the side of a cliff!

Stranded and with no money (his car exploded on impact, burning all of his worldly possessions), Carlo spends the night in Laura’s beach house, with the promise that she will give him her insurance information, to pay for the damages, the next morning.

Things take an uncomfortable turn when Laura’s “benefactor”, Rod Prescott (Robert Webber), president of a company that installs luxury swimming pools, turns up in the middle of the night and demands that Carlo leave immediately.

Forced to spend the rest of the evening on the beach, Carlo nearly drowns during high tide the next morning, but is rescued by the gorgeous Mailbu (Sharon Tate), a sexy skydiver who is dating body builder Harry (played by David Draper, at the time the reigning Mr. Universe).

Realizing the true nature of Laura’s and Rod’s romance (Rod is already married, and Laura is his mistress), Carlo weasels his way into a job with Rod’s pool company, promising, in exchange for his employment, he’ll keep his mouth shut and not reveal anything about Laura or the affair to Mrs. Prescott (Joanna Barnes).

Now gamefully employed, and having recently purchased both a beautiful house and a classic car for practically nothing, Carlo sets his sights on winning the heart of Malibu by forcing a wedge between she and Harry, going so far as to convince the bodybuilder, with the help of a writer / astrologer whose pen name is “Madame Lavinia” (Edgar Bergen), that sex wears the body down, and could keep him from winning the upcoming championship.

Everything comes to a head during a torrential rainstorm, at which point Carlo and the others discover why his house was so inexpensive.

A later entry in the Southern California beach movie craze, Don’t Make Waves is a breezy, lighthearted romantic comedy, with Tony Curtis giving a strong performance as the lead who, though likable, has a sinister streak a mile wide. Not only does he blackmail his way into getting a job (after first proving his talents as a salesman by talking none other than Jim Backus, who appears briefly as himself, into buying a pool), but he’s also slick and dishonest in the way he breaks up Harry and Malibu. In fact, by the time the final act rolls around, we feel a little guilty that we like Carlo as much as we do!

Claudia Cardinale is beautiful as always, but also demonstrates here that she is an able comedienne (her opening scenes are a riot), while Webber, Barnes, Tate, and Bergen hold their own in supporting roles.

Featuring a handful of crazy moments (including a skydiving fiasco and a pretty costly mudslide); a catchy title song (performed by The Byrds); and more than its share of bikinis, Don’t Make Waves flows along at a brisk pace, and manages to keep us smiling the entire time!
Rating: 9 out of 10

1 comment:

Hal said...

I like this one a lot. Eclectic cast; don't forget Mort Sahl, and briefly and uncredited China Lee (Mrs. Mort Sahl at the time). If only Curtis' other mid-60's comedies were as wild as this one.