A Very Special Favor Film Details
Overview: A rich man asks a womanizing playboy to marry his daughter and make a grandson for him.
Review: “A Very Special Favor” has a very clever idea for a movie plot. Oh, sure, it’s strange, even weird, and hardly believable. But that’s the kind of stuff that often makes for wonderful comedies. And, this could have been such – with the screenplay and very funny dialog, and supporting cast. But there’s a big problem with the film that actually detracts from the humorous schemes and dialog of Charles Boyer’s Michel Boullard. It may be two parts of a problem, or two separate problems. The first and biggest one is Leslie Caron as Dr. Lauren Boullard. In her women’s suits, professional demeanor and wise, controlled persona, Caron is about as attractive as a mackerel in the market. And she is as exciting, alive, and believable as an alluring pursuit of Rock Hudson’s Paul Chadwick, as a wet fish. She never loses this persona at any time, so that in each scene with Chadwick, any attraction seems impossible. The second minus for the film is related to the first – there is absolutely zero chemistry between Hudson and Caron. Again, there is very funny dialog between Hudson’s and Boyer’s characters and others. And Boyer’s schemes and reversals are hilarious. Doris Day would have been perfect for the part of Dr. Lauren Boullard. With a couple of strokes of the pen, she could have been the American-born daughter of Michel’s American wife who left him or who died. As is, the unattractive, cold fish character of Caron’s Dr. Boullard is a real turn-off for this film. The absence of any spark between her and Hudson’s Chadwick is all over the screen, and his slight show of interest isn’t at all believable. Leslie Caron had a marked beauty about her, and she was very attractive in many films. But not so in this one. Universal really needed to do a makeover of the leads for the cast here. The ending of this film is a surprise and almost shouts for the female lead to have been Doris Day. It could have been a real funny and good closing. Instead, it puts a nail in the coffin of disbelief in the story. But for the superb script and very good comedy provided mostly by Hudson, Boyer and Walter Slezak as Etienne, this film wouldn’t even rate four stars. When fans had been flocking to Rock Hudson movies, especially his comedy romances, this film had just $4.5 million in box office ticket sales. It barely covered its budget, if that, in a year that had blockbuster films such as “The Sound of Music” ($145 million box office), “Doctor Zhivago” ($127 million box office), and four comedies that had $20 to $38 million at the box office. I don’t think that Rock Hudson’s scheme of pretending to be gay (which he was in real life) had anything to do with this film almost tanking. In 1959’s “Pillow Talk,” Hudson’s Brad Allen schemes over the phone with Doris Day to make her think the Texan she has met and is dating (a role he assumed when he met Day’s Jan Morrow by chance) is an effeminate momma’s boy. It was done with great humor and didn’t stop that film from being a box office hit. I’m not one who thinks of movies as occasionally miscast. But this one surely is an exception. Here are some funny lines from this film. Arnold Plum, “I was a mess. And the sad thing is, I never knew it. She had to point it out to me.” Paul Chadwick, “What does she look like now… today… this minute?” Michel Boullard, “How does one describe inner beauty?” Paul, “Forget the inside. Let’s stay on the outside for a while.” Michel, “I feel safe in saying she’s attractive…” Paul, “YOU feel safe? Would it be risky for anyone else to say it?” Paul Chadwick, “She’s a skinny, flat–chested girl with buck teeth. And so far, you’ve only been talking about her good points.” Paul Chadwick, “Oh, doctor, it’s a curse, a nightmare. Do you know what it feels like to be wanted just for your body?” Dr. Lauren Boullard, “Nooo.” Paul, “Ah, how I envy you. What I’d give to have a body nobody’d want…” Paul Chadwick, “I had just enlisted in the Marine Corps that morning…. Wanda was a decent girl, but in a moment of patriotism, she offered herself to me.” Dr. Lauren Boullard, “She offered herself to you.” Paul, “I said, ‘No!’ I was a Marine now. I didn’t want to do anything to besmirch the honor of the Corps. But, if I hadn’t said no, she never would have jumped.” Dr. Lauren Boullard, “Mr. Chadwick, not all women destroy themselves when a man refuses to make love to them.” Paul Chadwick, “I can’t risk another woman.” Dr. Lauren Boullard, “Believe me, Mr. Chadwick – you can accomplish just as much within a group.” Paul Chadwick, “Mmm, yeah, but it makes it a little more difficult.” Dr. Lauren Boullard, “And what is the next step? Even if a woman is standing there with no clothes on, you will be able to walk out on her.” Paul Chadwick, “That’ll be the day.” Etienne, “But you said he had to be destroyed.” Michel Boullard, “I was thinking of a normal revenge. In France, what happens? The woman shoots the man. That’s civilized.” Etienne, “Michel this is madness. Your daughter cries, so you break down and tell her the truth. In the hands of an outraged woman, that’s a dangerous weapon.” Michel Boullard,, “For what she did, make her suffer, my son – marry her.” Paul Chadwick, “I’m being broadsided. You said ‘my son’ again and my stomach didn’t turn. There’s something evil going on and I don’t know how to fight it.”
Country: United States
Duration: 105 min
Genre: Comedy, Romance
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