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I Can Get It for You Wholesale / The Marriage-Go-Round / Untamed - Triple Feature
I Can Get It For You Wholesale is arguably the most entertaining of the three. Hayward plays Harriet Boyd, a longtime model with a dream of something bigger. For years, she's been saving money and designing her own dresses, even slipping a few of her garments out with the help of Sam Cooper (Sam Jaffe), production manager at the firm where she currently models, who puts his own name on them. She just needs one more piece of personnel: fast-talking salesman Teddy Sherman (Dan Dailey), who will take the designs she's drawn up and use his existing relationships with buyers to get their company's foot in the door. He's got a bit of cold feet about bailing on a reliable job for a risk, but she convinces him to join up and toss in some of the capital needed to get the business off the ground. In truth, what Teddy's really interested in is Harriet herself, but their relationship becomes strained when he takes issue with her willingness to gladhandle the buyers (despite the fact that it's exactly what he does).
Of all three films in the set, this is the one that's Hayward's show above all else, and she's utterly delightful as the whip-smart Harriet. In all three films, she gives off a certain businesslike air (even when she's being charming), so it's almost a surprise to discover this is the only one of the movies where she plays an authority figure. The one problem is that her rigidity and the film's short running time do kind of block out the chance to really feel the romance building between Harriet and Teddy before they're placed against each other. The film also features George Sanders as J.F. Noble, a high-class designer who also has eyes on Harriet. The movie features an oddly funny love triangle in which the man standing in the way of the inevitable happy ending seems perfectly content to move out of the way, should Harriet say so. He often states aloud the very conflicts in question, and is diplomatic throughout her indecision. Ultimately, even if there isn't an overwhelming sense of romance, the film gets by on witty, biting dialogue and Hayward's own charisma.
The Marriage-Go-Round kind of sounds like a film that will have aged poorly, a battle-of-the-sexes comedy pitting Hayward, playing women's dean Content Delville, against her husband, professor Paul Delville (James Mason). The conflict comes in the form of Katrin Sveg (Julie Newmar), a statuesque blonde woman who both of them only remember as a little girl with pigtails and braces until she shows up to visit them. Katrin has a plan: she wants Paul to be the father of her child, in the hopes that it will result in a child as smart as it is beautiful. Paul, who studies marriage and mating rituals in his work, is intrigued by the idea, and also possibly intrigued by Katrin's incredible beauty. He confesses this offer to Content, who is upset by this but not angry, setting off a ridiculous back-and-forth between Content and Katrin to see who can win Paul's affection.
Although the gender politics of the 1960s sound like a minefield for a movie like this, the fact that Paul is upfront with his wife about his potential infidelity successfully makes the movie (based on a play by Leslie Stevens) into a tongue-in-cheek affair that's easy to enjoy because it's so exaggerated. Katrin gives Paul a sculpture of her own naked body, which she apparently sculpted herself. Constant enlists the help of a friend (Robert Paige) to try and make Paul suspicious she's having an affair. The entire film is framed within a series of lectures, which also takes the edge off of the stakes at hand. Much of the tone is set by Hayward, who is game to play along with Paul's experiment, and Newmar has a ball really playing up her own beauty, slinking around in revealing outfits, spreading her tall, slender frame across the Cinemascope screen. Mason is also fun, but he's frequently left to ogle Newmar's latest gambit, which is both entertaining, and kind of creepy.
If the premise of Marriage-Go-Round makes one nervous about shifting societal mores, Untamed sounds downright dangerous. A movie about rich white people trying to make it in South Africa is more than a little bit concerning, but Untamed ends up being more of a stuffy bore than a racially insensitive lightning rod. Hayward plays Katie O'Neill, daughter of an Irish farmer. She is introduced to Paul van Riebeck (Tyrone Power) when he comes to buy a set of horses from her father, and the two of them go riding together. Although they only know each other for a brief period of time, she finds herself falling for him, but he refuses to give into her affections, returning to South Africa, where he is a member of the Boer calvary and assists in fighting off the vicious Zulu tribes. That seems to be that until Katie's father dies, and she moves to South Africa to start a new farm, and comes back into van Riebeck's life.
If I Can Get It For You Wholesale skimped a bit on the chemistry, Untamed skimps a bit on emotions in general. The brief courtship before van Riebeck returns to Africa is dry and moves like molasses. When Katie arrives in the continent, very little seems to upset her, including her family's responsibility in the death of a family whose carriage is pushed into a canyon, and the death of her husband in a Zulu attack. The one sensation the filmmakers are able to handle is irritation and anger: Katie is constantly being pursued by Kurt Hout (Richard Egan), one of the people in the convoy that leads them through Zulu territory and into the country where they can start a farm. Despite Katie's complete lack of interest in him, he becomes the film's antagonist, repeatedly forcing his way back into her life and personal space. The love triangle in this one hardly registers; Power is away for long stretches of time, and the pairing of he and Hayward doesn't exactly set the world on fire. Honestly, she appears to get more upset when a windstorm destroys her farm than the many times he disappears.
This triple feature is one of Fox Cinema Archives' MOD DVD titles. The art features original poster imagery for at least two out of the three movies, with the collection's standard gold border. The back cover features billing blocks for the three movies, and the art is printed as if off a laser printer. The three-disc set comes in an eco-friendly 3-disc DVD case, and there is no insert.
The Video and Audio
Transfer-wise, this is a pretty mixed bag. I Can Get It For You Wholesale is a 1.33:1 full-frame transfer in black-and-white, and it appears average, with print damage being the one major drawback. Detail is generally nice, although there is the occasional soft shot, and the contrast seems properly balanced, but the presentation is constantly afflicted by scratches, nicks, and marks (generally not serious, but consistent). The best-looking of the three is Marriage-Go-Round, with a decent 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation capturing decently saturated colors and a strong amount of detail. It doesn't leap off the screen, but it is solid, with no noticeable drawbacks. Untamed is arguably the most disappointed, saddled with a 2.39:1 non-anamorphic transfer which is very soft and lacking in detail, thanks to the lack of 16x9 enhancement. It looks more drab than Marriage-Go-Round, even aside from the technical drawbacks.
All three films are presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks, which sound adequate. The relative qualities of each track are generally in line with the picture: Wholesale's soundtrack is a bit flatter and tinnier, with more hiss and crackle; Marriage-Go-Round's is not exactly enveloping but certainly sounds nice and the dialogue comes through cleanly; Untamed is a bit lacking in crispness and can also come off as flat. There are no serious problems to report with any of them. Sadly, no captions or subtitles are included on any of the three discs.
Those who like Susan Hayward will find this a bit of a mixed bag: two good films with solid transfers, one bad film with a weak transfer. Anyone who wants these films from Fox Cinema Archives but hasn't yet bought them should be pleased by the bundle. Recommended.
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