In London, stuffy statesman Carter Harrison meets Toni, a Bohemian artist with a hot Italian temper. The two impulsively marry and then find that they disagree on everything. Shortly afterward they separate. We then meet them five years later on the eve before their divorce becomes final. After seeing each other again, sparks are reignited and they spend the night together. Reality sets in when morning comes and they begin arguing again. Once again, divorce proceedings are on, until Carter that an important promotion hinges on whether he's married. He schemes to win back Toni and eventually succeeds. But can he keep her from destroying his career by posing as Lady Godiva in a protest movement?
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The Oilman and the Bohemian
The Strange Bedfellows are Rock Hudson and Gina Lollabrigida, a married but separated couple, separated now for seven years. Gina would like a divorce because she wants to marry her new boss Edward Judd. But Rock has reasons to want to patch things up. He's in line for a big promotion on his job and the old money in the person of Howard St. John that runs the company likes the stability of a family man in his top executives.
Rock and Gina had a lot of passion in their relationship. Great for sex, but they brought into other things and didn't agree on anything. Gina is a bohemian free spirit and Rock is a conservative oil executive and is that ever a redundancy.
Gig Young is in a typical Gig Young part and I did love seeing the way Edward Judd got over him pretending to be a British secret agent. Paul Lynde did a fabulous job in Rock's Send Me No Flowers as a funeral director and since the film is set in London, Terry-Thomas steps in and does a fine job as a British funeral director.
Strange Bedfellows is not as good as Rock's films with Doris Day, not quite as good as his previous film with Lollabrigida, Come September. Still I think it will please audiences today.
The blonde Lady Godiva
This absurd comedy conceived by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, a successful team that were pretty active in the Hollywood of the 40s and 50s, was an uninspired project to begin with. The film that was trying to capitalize on the stars because the screenplay does not present any surprises, or breaks any new ground. Michael Pertwee is also given credit for helping with the writing.
Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida had appeared together in the light comedy "Come September", directed by Robert Mulligan. Rock Hudson was at a high point of his movie career. His character, Carter Harrison, is the same role he repeated from film to film, with the exception, perhaps, of "Pillow Talk". Gina Lollobrigida's American career had its moment, but she never big in this country.
The best thing, and unfortunately it comes at the end, is the sequence in which Terry-Thomas appears as the befuddled undertaker that has no clue as to what is really going on in his work area. Gig Young did what he could with the thin material he was given. Nancy Kulp shows in a couple of scenes also.
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Enjoy the First Ten Minutes, The Comedy Stops After It
This film will make you appreciate how well written and well directed the Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedies were.
Hudson has a tendency to be stiff, but here it is worse than I've ever seen it. Gina Lollobrigida was 38 and possibly because her character is supposed to be a political activist, she doesn't wear much make-up. She looks rather plain and not glamorous, so it is a mystery why Hudson falls for her. If you're expecting the Italian sex symbol, Gina Lollobrigida, this is not the film. Gig Young plays the Tony Randal sidekick part to Hudson. Young is a good actor, but really is too handsome for the sidekick role.
There is no reason I can think of to watch this film, except for perhaps a short scene where Rock Hudson wakes up in bed with another man. Hudson is quite calm about it. Lollobrigida explains that he had no other place to sleep, so she put him in bed with Hudson. She asks Hudson if he minds. He answers that he doesn't mind. It is only because of what we know now about Hudson's sexuality that the scene is funny and sticks out. I an pretty sure that this is the only film where Hudson is in bed with another man.
The movie's 1950's puritanical tone destroys the sex comedy aspect. Since this was made in 1965, when censorship was ending, it is unfortunate that the producers didn't seek to take advantage of the new freedom. For example. Gina is a member of a group that supposedly supports artist's freedom of expression. The group has Gina ride nude on a horse like Lady Godiva to protest an artist's censorship. However Gina doesn't really go nude, but wears a flesh colored body stocking. This destroys the whole point of the protest and destroys any hope of the viewer seeing Gina looking sexy.
So, in summation, if you want to see Rock Hudson's dullest performance, Gina Lollobrigida's least sexy performance, and Gig Young as a bumbling sidekick, this is the movie for you.