Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Haters gonna hate

Everybody's favorite family man is showing up in another movie on the Fox Movie Channel. That man would be Clifton Webb, and the movie is Holiday For Lovers, tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM ET.

Webb plays Robert Dean, the father of a teenage girl and a college-age girl. The elder daughter Meg (Jill St. John) has an interest in art, and has just received an offer of an art scholarship -- in Brazil. So, she cables her father to tell her about the renowned architect (Paul Henried) who has helped her get the scholarship offer. Daddy thinks his daughter has fallen in love with the architect, and he's not about to let her get into that sort of relationship. So he takes himself, his wife Mary (Jane Wyman) and younger daughter Betsy (Carol Lynley) down to Brazil to try to break up the relationship.

It turns out that Meg isn't in love with the architect, but is in love with the architect's son, who has a thing against Americans, and especially Americans like Robert Dean. And that's just the least of Dad's problems. Dad takes the family on a day trip up the Brazilian coast, and the plane has to stop at an isolated military radar station, where US Air Force sergeant Gary Crosby meets Betsy and falls in love with her. (Well, Carol Lynley is certainly pretty to look at.) He'll follow Betsy to the ends of South America -- and indeed, Dad will take the family all over South America to try to keep Meg from her beau.

Holiday For Lovers is a relatively formulaic premise that falls flat for a whole bunch of reasons. One is that the whole Gary Crosby/Carol Lynley sub-plot defies reality. The other romantic plot isn't that much better, either. Clifton Webb is more or less made to play the part of a buffoon, the "how could anybody possibly be that stupid" father type. And Jane Wyman is underused. There's some nice establishing shots of Latin America as it was 50 years ago, but other than that, this is really for the people who want to see all of Webb's or Wyman's movies.

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