Woody Allen's first film was not quite his best film
O'Toole is Michael, a magazine editor who turns on every woman he meets, including the adorable Carole (Romy Schneider), sexy but mental stripper Liz (Paula Prentiss) and upper-crust nymphomaniac Renee (Capucine). He loves Carole, but is unable to keep it in his pants, which leads him to trouble. Seeking a solution, he visits a psychologist, Dr. Fritz Fassbender (Sellers), who is more messed up than he is. The same can be said for Michael's nebbish pal Victor (Allen), the opposite of O'Toole's swinging bachelor. It's the first of many such roles for Allen, and he's got the act down cold right out of the gate.
The film is loaded with bed-hopping and witty one-liners, as Sellers' bumbles his way though the film as a would-be lothario, playing a one-note joke, but getting more out of it than anyone else might have been able to. The movie doesn't exactly make much sense, stringing together jokes and misunderstandings, before culminating in a Scooby-Doo-style chase climax that can only be described as "wacky," involving go-carts, an orgy and a fat opera-singing valkyrie. Benny Hill must have been proud. If there's any reason to watch this movie, it's this scene, the kind that you just don't see anymore.
As seen in 1986's Hamburger: The Motion Picture, the concept of a man too attractive to women is a fun idea if the guy is likable, and O'Toole fills that bill. Of course, the relationships have to work and be as different from each other as possible. Schneider, as the woman wronged, is just right for the part, while Prentiss is a bit too over-the-top as a suicidal stripper. Even in a small part, Ursula Andress is great, providing a bit more sexiness to the proceedings Only Capucine comes off as a weak link, as she just sort of floats through the film. That she manages to be meaningless in a movie so bereft of meaning is pretty impressive in its own right.
There's no enjoying this film as a proper movie, as the plot is all but pointless. View it instead as a memory of a time long gone; a chance to watch Sellers, Allen and O'Toole ham it up; and one hell of a guilty pleasure; and you should have a better go of it.
The audio, presented in Dolby 2.0 Mono, is necessarily low-key thanks to the source material, with a vanilla center-focused presentation. There's a flatness to the sound, especially the score, but there's nothing distorted. I've heard more-impressive mixes, and a film as active as this, a bigger mix might have helped.
The Bottom Line