Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Man's Favorite Sport? (1964)

This is a late Howard Hawks-directed comedy that I somehow never saw until now. I remember when it came out and it’s been on television many times, but I missed it anyway. I’m glad I finally caught up to it since Hawks is one of my favorite directors.

In a role that seems to have been written for Cary Grant, Rock Hudson plays an Abercrombie & Fitch salesman who specializes in fishing gear and has even written a successful book on fishing. But he has a secret: he’s never been fishing in his life. Then the publicity director (Paula Prentiss) for a lake lodge that sponsors a big fishing tournament has the bright idea of having Hudson’s character enter the competition. Hudson’s boss agrees. When he finally admits to Prentiss’s character that he can’t fish, she sets out to teach him. Slapstick hijinks ensue, as does romance, of course. This is, after all, a screwball romantic comedy from the director who made BRINGING UP BABY and MONKEY BUSINESS.

I enjoyed MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT? quite a bit. The reviews on IMDB talk about how hilarious it is, but I didn’t really find that to be the case. Consistently amusing and good-hearted, yes, definitely. I smiled a lot, chuckled a time or two, but didn’t really laugh out loud. I got caught up in the story, though, and the cast is good. I’ve never been a big Rock Hudson fan, but he’s a likeable lug and handles the slapstick stuff fairly well. Paula Prentiss really had that cute, early Sixties, Mary Tyler Moore thing going on. Or maybe Mary Tyler Moore had a Paula Prentiss thing going on, take your pick. Either way, I always liked her. John McIver, Norm Alden, and Roscoe Karns provide sturdy support. Maria Perschy, a beautiful German actress who didn’t make a lot of American films, is good as Prentiss’s sidekick. Charlene Holt, a latter-day member of the Hawks stock company, plays Hudson’s fiancee and doesn’t have much to do, but she’s spectacular to look at in one scantily dressed scene.

Hawks was past his peak when he made this film, but he was still a very good director and keeps things moving along quite well in MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT? It’s a good but not great film and is certainly worth watching.

1 comment:

Regan MacArthur said...

Great review. Charlene Holt really had something. Shame she didn't have more of a career.