Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Pleasure Seekers

So I noticed that The Pleasure Seekers is available on DVD from the Fox MOD scheme, and decided to watch it off my DVR so I'd have something to do a full-length post on and clear up a bit of space on the DVR.

The movie starts off with Maggie (Carol Lynley) taking a taxi through the streets of Madrid to pick up her friend Susie (Pamela Tiffin) at the airport. Maggie is an American ex-pat working in Madrid for their bureau of America's "Continental News" orgainzation; Susie doesn't seem to have any plans for Spain other than to see all the art. Susie already has another roommate in the form of Fran (Ann-Margaret), who's studying flamenco dance but works doing nightclub-type shows at private parties..

Anyhow, when Susie arrives at the apartment where she's going to live with Maggie and Fran, she starts asking Maggie about her life, and specifically the "problems", which all seem to be man-related. In fact, Maggie thinks a lot about men and gives Susie advice on the topic, such as not to look directly as Spanish men lest they think they're interested in you and start looking back. Like, for example, the guy in the aparment across the way from theirs, which is a running joke throughout the movie (and actually handled quite well at the end).

So you can guess that a major theme in The Pleasure Seekers is going to be the men the three women meet. And you'd be right. Fran has the simplest relationship. While she's rushing to rehearsal, she nearly runs into a moped being driven by Andres (André Lawrence). Andres is a doctor in a small Spanish seaside town who wants to open up a clinic of his own there and is visiting Madrid to learn about how clinics are run. The only problem is, he seems to be more in love with his clinic than he ever could be with any woman. He doesn't want Fran to know his full identity, and at first doesn't want to see her again, even though he really does like her.

Slightly more complicated is Susie's relationship. She goes to the Prado one day and, while looking at the paintings, finds two men talking about her. One of those men turns out to be Emilio (Anthony Franciosa). He doesn't seem to be working right now, but that's in part because he comes from a family that's wealthy enough for him to be able to do the playboy thing while he apparently lives off his investments or plans to go into some family business or something. (His father is apparently dead; we do meet his mother who likes Susie.) Complicating things is the fact that Emilio was "last year's problem" for Maggie, and she keeps telling dumb Susie what a cad Emilio is. But Susie keeps pursuing the relationship.

And then there's Maggie and this year's problem. She works with a lazy reporter in Pete (Gardner McKay) who would be right for her, although neither of the two realize this in each other. Meanwhile, Maggie's boss Paul Barton (Brian Keith) feels as though he's trapped in a loveless marriage to Jane (Gene Tierney) and decides he's going to pursue Maggie for a mistress. It's a problem when you're going after your secretary, and a further problem that another of your employees is actually the right man for your secretary. But Maggie goes back and forth with Paul and Pete.

The romantic plots are reasonably well-handled, and make the movie competent if a bit old-fashioned. It's a remake of Three Coins in the Fountain and still seems to be going for that 50s innocence vibe. But it bears repeating that there's nothing in terms of plot that's actually bad about the movie. The other big plus about the movie is the cinematography. Madrid looks gorgeous and everybody is well-served by all the location shooting. If there is one big problem, it's the fact that Fran is a singer and dancer, and so given several musical numbers. These all drag the film down, slowing it to a screeching halt, when you just want them to get on with the story.

The Pleasure Seekers does succeed as entertainment, even if it is nothing special.

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