Monday, June 30, 2014

Martin was nicknamed the “King of Cool” an original beatnik, for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness.

Hey pallies, likes today we shares with all youse Dino-holics likes what we consider to be a very provocative proposition on our most beloved Dino....the thought that our "'King of Cool'" is " an original beatnik, for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness."  This notion comes from the evocative blog, "LIFE WITH CATNIP - Just A Bit Hopeless," where someone who tags themselves "Catnip" holds forth.

Now, likes while we woulda never ever disagree with their perfectly powerful perspective that our Dino has "seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness," we just ain't sure how that translates into bein' "an original beatnik." But, likes always always digs learnin' of other pallies new insights into our Dino's  persona.
Besides we also grooves on the Dino-pose and youtube Dino-vid that are shared here....pure, pure Dino-magic.

ilovedinomartin expresses our appreciato to Catnip for their  intriguin' insight into our marvelous marvelous man.  To checks this out in it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-gram.  Dino-diggin', DMP

Real Beatnik Moments – Remembering Dean Martin


Dean Martin
Dean Martin was an American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed the “King of Cool” an original beatnik, for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness. He was a member of the “Rat Pack” and a star in concert stage/nightclubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television. He was the host of the television variety program The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Danny G's Sunday Serenade with Dino: "From Lover To Loser"

Hey there pals! How's Summer treatin' youse? Too hot? Too sweaty? Just right? Well...let's matter's OOZIN' with Dean either way!

Now pallies...I thinks that I might have mentioned this before, but...there ain't NOTHIN' that I digs more than stumblin' 'cross some swingin' swoonin' Dino-tune that I've never swung to before!!!
Well, man o man pals...I've stumbled 'cross a GREAT GREAT jam this time & it's just PERFECTO for this week's Serenade!

"From Lover To Loser" is such a cool cool little tune...can't believe I overlooked it all these years!!!

Found it right in the middle of Dean's hit 1964 al b um, "Everybody Loves Somebody". There are so many swingin' jams on this record that somehow this one just snuck by me.
 O well pallies...better late than never & now I gots some new Dino to groove with!

 OK pals o' mine, let the swoonin' & croonin' begin!

Hate to hear Dean bein' SO upset 'bout some silly little chickalina! DEF I NATE LY no loser in our book, right pallies? No worries...I'm usual...Dino will straighten thins' out & ALL will be right in the universe once again! Hahaha!!! Enjoy!

(From lovers to losers from lovers to losers)
From lovers to losers that's me that's me
For your lips aren't willing like they used to be
You once were so hungry for my embrace
Now goodbye is written all over your face
I'm fallin' from heaven for I know we're gonna part
The fall may not kill me but it's bound to break my heart
Yes lovers to losers you made that clear
I walked in here laughin' but I'm leavin' in tears
I'm fallin' from heaven for I know we're gonna part
The fall may not kill me but it's bound to break my heart
Yes lovers to losers you made that so clear
I walked in here laughin' but I'm leavin' in tears.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Nobody played a hot mess of a hipster better than Dino.

 My Photo
Hey pallies, likes dudes any ol' prospector for gold will tells you that once pay dirt has been struck in one location there is usually more precious gold metal not far away.  Well what is true for the glittery gold stuff, is often true for our most beloved Dino as well.  Likes yesterday we just shared a great great bit of Dino-homage, "Dean Martin, as himself, spoofs his own Rat Pack hipster image -- and he's a hoot," from the self-tagged blog "Bobby Rivers TV."  In that post Rivers was hugely  accentin' Miss Kim Novak, but likes it doin' so he had wondrously wise thin's to say 'bout our great great man 'specially playin' his ever hip, cool, and randy persona in the big screen epic "Kiss Me Stupid

Well, likes we thought if Rivers spoke so highly of our King of Cool once, there was a great likelihood that he had offered more Dino-devotion as well.  And, likes when we did a simply search of his blog puttin' our Dino's name in the site search slot, indeed we struck Dino-gold once 'gain.  This time 'round we found Dino-praise in a post of what starts out as a review of 'nother of our Dino's big screen efforts, "What A Way To Go," in which he starred with Miss Shirley MacLaine.

Once 'gain, while the major emphasis of Bobby's scribin's is on Miss MacLaine and "What A Way To Go," he has a number of coolly complimentary thoughts on our main man.  And, as seems to be Mr. River's pattern of reviewin' he speaks 'bout several other of our Dino and Miss Shirley's big screen efforts together....our most fav Dino and Jerry's comedy  flick, "Artists And Models,"  as well as two of our Dino's best dramatic efforts, "Some Came Running" and "Career" as well as the sex farce, "All In A Night's Work."

While we have tagged  this post with what we think is Bobby's wisest of wise Dino-observation, "  Nobody played a hot mess of a hipster better than Dino," speakin' of his role in "What A Way To Go," his well scribed review shows not only his deep devotion to our Dino, but incredible insights into our Dino's actin' prowess....and likes we hope all youse Dino-philes will delve deeply into River's revered remarks on our most beloved Dino.

Indeed, likes ilovedinomartin salutes Mr. Bobby Rivers for 'gain speakin' so so highly of our wonderful man and helpin' others dig Dino to the max.  Our hope is that one day Rivers will author a Dino-centric review 'cause likes we know how thrillin' that will be!  To checks this out in it's original source, likes please clicks on the tag of this post to go directly to Mr. Bobby Rivers' pad.  Dino-raptured, DMP


It was just the tonic I needed last weekend to lift my spirits.   I know it's a silly movie but it's good-natured fun -- even if the lead character is widowed a few times during the story.  I wanted to see something in Deluxe color with lots of laughs, big stars and fabulous costumes.  20th Century Fox delivered all that in the 1964 extravaganza, What A Way To Go! starring Shirley MacLaine as the poor little rich girl.  If I programmed a TV channel like TCM (Turner Classic Movies), I'd air this in prime time on April Fools Day.  The story opens on April 1st with a lovely widow, played by Shirley MacLaine, attempting to donate a check for $211 million to the IRS.  Of course, that clerk at the counter thinks it's a joke.

She leave the IRS office then goes to see her therapist.  She believe she's cursed because men marry her, get rich, then kick the bucket in some crazy way.  She doesn't want wealth.  She wants a simple life, the kind of life that Thoreau wrote about in books.  It's been written that 20th Century Fox intended this to star Marilyn Monroe before her untimely death in 1962.  However, it's a better vehicle for Shirley MacLaine with her knowing sideways glance and impish smile.  It glides with her style of physical comedy and musical talents.   One thing I really dig about this movie is her list of co-stars.

MacLaine teams up once again with Dean Martin.  Those two had definite screen chemistry.  One of the first films she did was the last movie Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made before they ended their successful comedy partnership.  (MacLaine told me the guys were yelling a lot at each other and arguing off-camera.)  Shirley was Jerry's love interest in Paramount's colorful 1955 comic book comedy, Artists and Models.

Dean's love interest was played by cool blonde Dorothy Malone.  Dean and Shirley acted together in Vincente Minnelli's drama, Some Came Running, the first of five movies to put Shirley in the running for the Best Actress Academy Award.      


They teamed up dramatically again in Paramount's Career with Dean truly showing his impressive acting chops as the politically blacklisted actor/director.  She played his reckless, alcoholic girlfriend in that strong 1959 show biz drama.

 MacLaine and Martin were the stars of a sprightly romantic comedy called All in a Night's Work,  and her funny cameo with him Ocean's 11 is one of the highlights of the Las Vegas caper movie starring Frank Sinatra and his famed Rat Pack.  Their chemistry works again in What A Way To Go!  Nobody played a hot mess of a hipster better than Dino.  He was so excellent at it and such a natural entertainer that, I feel, it often eclipsed his dramatic skills.  He never got the acting accolades that Sinatra did, but Dean Martin was deserving of them.  Lot at his work in Career, Rio Bravo and The Young Lions co-starring Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando.

In What A Way To Go!, therapy sessions show us that Louisa (MacLaine) began her disdain for wealth in her youth.  Her battle-ax mother practically shriveled Louisa's father by harping on him about money and success.  Mother bellowed that love was unimportant.  She was played by Margaret Dumont, famed for playing straight woman to Groucho Marx in his best comedy movies.  Dean Martin's rich swingin' bachelor is everything young Louisa doesn't want.  Mother wants Louisa to marry him.  Louisa weds a poor man instead.  This works momma's last good nerve.  There are touches of the kind of screwball comedy that starred Ginger Rogers in the 1940s -- movies in which Ginger could play a girl and have fantasies of married life with Mr. Right.  Think of Ginger in Tom, Dick or Harry and Billy Wilder's The Major and the Minor.  With her big star leading men -- Paul Newman as the constantly eating abstract artist, Robert Mitchum as the workaholic multi-millionaire and Gene Kelly as the world famous egotistical movie star named Pinky Benson -- Shirley MacLaine seems to be having a lot of goofy fun.  They join in the fun.  One of the biggest stars at work in this satire is not seen on-camera.  That's costume designer Edith Head.  She topped herself in this movie and got another one of her many Oscar nominations.  I'm surprised this comedy, with Shirley MacLaine as a one-woman Edith Head fashion show, has not achieved a bigger cult status -- especially in this age of TV's Project Runway and America's Next Top Designer.

All these fabulous fashions were designed and created for one actress in one film by one designer.  Who is doing stuff like this today?  I love this feel-good, guilty pleasure comedy.

Yes, as they said back in the 1970s:  "Edith Head gave good fashion."

The movies also boasts three Gene Kelly dance numbers.  The big splashy movie musical fantasy number allows Shirley MacLaine to be Gene's partner and remind us that she started her career as a Broadway dancer.  The original songs are good.  Kelly's bar/restaurant number is a sweet catchy tune that would work in cabaret acts today.

Gene Kelly's ultimate favorite dance partner was his butt.  As usual, her wears tight pants during a dance number and shows off his trim asset.  Gene Kelly was about 50 here.  If I looked that good in my early 50s, I'd have been wearing tight pants too.

If you're up for a weekend comedy DVD double feature with some things in common, rent What A Way To Go! and the 1949 classic MGM musical comedy, On The Town.

What do they have in common?  Gene Kelly dancing in a nautical outfit, choreography by Gene Kelly, a screenplay and new songs written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff.  Enjoy.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dean Martin Expo is amore in Manhattan

Hey pallies, likes we just were doin' some more googlin' lookin' for more info on the Dino-expo in Manhattan tomorrow, and likes we came 'cross this release from the blog Newsday where scriber Mr. Daniel Bubbeo shares more information on this Dino-happenin'.

There are some interestin' details to catch below such as this huge huge display of Mr. Jim Monoco's  "Dino-rabilia" is  "valued at close to $1 million."  Loves how Mr. Bubbeo has got into the swin' of Dino-isms with "Dino-rabilia."  Likes how cool is that?!?!?!

So, so sorry that we ain't gonna gets there, but likes if any of youse dudes do, please drop a note and let us all know 'bout it!  Thanks to Mr. Daniel Bubbeo and the pallies at Newday for givin' us more info on this massive massive Dino-event.  To checks this out in it's original source, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-report.  Dino-always, ever, and only, DMP

Dean Martin Expo is amore in Manhattan


Dean Martin in 1955.

Dean Martin in 1955. (Credit: Passport International Productions / John Springer)

The moon won't hit your eye like a big pizza pie, but the sight of one of Dean Martin's gold records just might if you're in Manhattan next Saturday.

The record will be one of the items on display at the Holiday Inn on West 57th Street for the Dean Martin Expo and Nostalgia, Comedy and Comic Convention, a daylong flashback to the 1950s and '60s featuring autograph signings, live comic performances and "the largest collection of Dean Martin memorabilia," says Jerry Nolan, co-organizer of the event.

EVERYONE LOVES SOME MEMORABILIA SOMETIMES The first sight greeting Expo visitors will be the Dean Martin Museum, an exhibit featuring Dino-rabilia valued at close to $1 million. It's owned by James Monaco, host of the event and an avid fan. Monaco is also friends with Martin's daughter, Deana, who will be at the show.

In addition to the gold record, the "museum" will feature a gun and costumes used by Martin in the 1959 Western "Rio Bravo," movie posters, photographs, magazines and more Martin artifacts.
None of Monaco's pieces will be for sale, Nolan says, but there will be another area where guests can purchase non-Martin collectibles, including comic books, movie posters, toys and lunchboxes.

WHO WAS THAT LADY? AGENT 99 Rat Packers weren't Martin's only pals. Several of his famous co-stars will be on hand to greet their fans and sign photos ($25 a pop) at Saturday's expo. Among those scheduled to appear are "FTroop's" Larry Storch, Martin's co-star in "Who Was That Lady?" (1960); impressionist Marilyn Michaels and "Get Smart" star Barbara Feldon, both of whom guest- starred on Martin's variety hour; Caroll "Big Bird" Spinney; and, to celebrate "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." turning the big 5-0, series star Robert Vaughn.

And holy guacamole! The Batmobile will be parked in front of the hotel.

'THAT'S AMORÉ' AND THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT You'll hear the dulcet tones of Dino's voice piped throughout the show, plus clips from his TV show, but there also will be three live comedy performances by tribute artists saluting Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

"We want to take people back in time," Nolan says, "to when it was a simpler life, and things were fun."

WHAT The Dean Martin Expo and Nostalgic, Comedy and Comic Convention
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on June 28, Holiday Inn, 440 W. 57th St., Manhattan
INFO $15;

the largest collection of Dean Martin memorabilia in the world

Hey pallies, likes we just gotta shares this breakin' Dino-news with all youse Dino-holics.  Likes while doin' our usual daily Dino-searchin' we happened upon a link that took us to "The Dean Martin Expo and Nostalgic, Comedy and Comic Convention"  (likes clicks on tag of this Dino-gram to goes there).  Happenin'  tomorrow in the Big Apple is what is billed as "  the largest collection of Dean Martin memorabilia in the world."

Likes, likes oh how we yearns to be able to jump in a jet and gets ourselves there, but that's not to be.  But, likes we wanna all youse Dino-philes close to the city to know of this major major Dino-event.  As you will note below the Dino-extravaganza takes place tomorrow, Saturday, June 28 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 440 W 57th St., New York City, NY 10019 between 9th and 10th Ave.

If any of youse dudes likes does gets there, please report in!  Likes we just typed Jim  Monaco and our Dino into google search and we located a youtube vid of Jim's Dino-collection for your viewin' pleasure!  Dino-reportin', DMP

The Dean Martin Expo and Nostalgic, Comedy and Comic Convention
                                            The 3rd- 2nd Childhood Memorabilia Show

Join us on June 28th, 2014
At the Holiday Inn
440 W 57th St., New York City, NY 10019 between 9th and 10th Ave
From 11 am-7 pm
The Dean Martin Expo and Nostalgic, Comedy and Comic will be hosted by entrepreneur Jim Monaco and have the largest collection of Dean Martin memorabilia in the world.Our opening act, Bob Greenberg, will MC as Jackie Gleason and perform various other impersonations. Our main live attractions, Joe Ziegler, Bill Riley and Jason Crutchley will thrill the audience as they recreate the Abbott and Costello legacy with pinpoint accuracy, complete with all their famous routines. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Join us for For the Man From Uncle 50th Anniversary, the largest amount of comics for sale on the Easr Coast (courtesy of Joe Koch), and the remembrance of a legend with Jennings B. Barnett as Red Skelton And Friends.
To look forward to...
This show will feature a multitude of mediums for all type sof movie and comic buffs. There will be...

*Invited Guests
*Lobby cards
*Sports cards
And much more

Dean Martin, as himself, spoofs his own Rat Pack hipster image -- and he's a hoot.

My Photo
Hey pallies, likes sometimes dudes, likes even though our Dino is not per se the center of attention in a particular blog post, a blogger often has huge huge praise for our most worthy Dino, and that dudes is the case in point today in our shared Dino-devotion.

Today ilovedinomartin takes you to the self-tagged blog, "Bobby Rivers TV," where Mr. Rivers a "Former VH1 VJ and celebrity talk show host. A native Los Angeleno, I had great teachers and family support. I am a veteran network TV host (VH1, Food Network), entertainment reporter and film reviewer (USA Network, ABC News/LifetimeTV, CNN, Premiere Radio) and TV commercial spokesman (Showtime, Starz)" holds forth.

Rivers post, "Loving Kim Novak," begins with Kim's starrin' role in Hitchcock's classic "Vertigo," and then wanders into a bit of Dino-territory speakin' of Miss Marilyn Monroe and our most beloved Dino in the never finished "Something's Gotta Give," and then moves on to Miss Novak starrin' with our great great man in the epic sex comedy, "Kiss Me Stupid."

Bobby shares a lovin' pose of our Dino and Miss Marilyn from the ill-fated flick and what was to be the poster for advertizin' it.  Likes just seein' this powerfully provocative poster with extremely evocative poses of our Dino, Miss Marilyn, and Miss Cyd with the tag "sexsational" is well worth the price of admission.

From there Mr. Rivers goes into a very scribed and highly supportive review of KMS sayin' a number of great thin's 'bout our great man.  We tagged this Dino-gram with Bobby' highest of high Dino-praise...."
Dean Martin, as himself, spoofs his own Rat Pack hipster image -- and he's a hoot."  His other tellin' Dino-remark chocked full of Dino-knowin' is "Swinger Dino has finished a sold-out engagement.  Now he wants a few drinks and some horizontal recreation."

ilovedinomartin shouts out our appreciato to Mr. Bobby Rivers for accentin' our King of Cool in such cool ways and encouragin' others to checks out one of our Dino's most underated performances in "Kiss Me Stupid."  To checks this out in it it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-report.  Dino-psyched, DMP

Dean Martin was following Cary Grant in the perplexed husband role.

After Monroe's untimely death, the project was repackaged, recast and retitled.  It became the Doris Day and James Garner hit, Move Over, Darling.  Monroe's death also changed Billy Wilder's plans.  He was writing a new comedy with her in mind for the female lead.  The comedy was Kiss Me, Stupid.  Kim Novak took on the role, opposite Dean Martin.  It wasn't one of Wilder's critical hits but I feel it rates a look.  Kim Novak gave the warmest, most surprising and funniest performance of her screen career in Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid.  She played Polly the Pistol, the Nevada cocktail waitress and occasional hooker who longs for the life of an average housewife.  I didn't see this movie until the 1980s when I rented it on VHS.  I could not believe I was watching the same actress from Vertigo.  She was so ditzy, so different, so endearing.  Her look and her sound were new.  You should make this a half of a double feature one weekend and watch it right after Vertigo.

I was a Catholic youngster in L.A. when this movie was in production, when it was released and when Catholics were forbidden to see it.  Seriously.  Peter Sellers was playing the hyper and suspicious piano teacher husband, Orville, who's half of a struggling songwriting team in Nevada.  He had a mild heart attack and had to withdraw from the project.  He was replaced by Ray Walston, seen in Wilder's The Apartment.  Dean Martin, as himself, spoofs his own Rat Pack hipster image -- and he's a hoot.  Kiss Me, Stupid also lampoons Kubrick's Lolita.  We see a sign for a town called "Climax" and there's a phallic-shaped cactus plant in a front yard.

Swinger Dino has finished a sold-out engagement.  Now he wants a few drinks and some horizontal recreation.

But he's stuck in a non-swinger town.  The teacher/songwriter's loving wife is a huge Dino fan.  Her Dino crush makes her husband jealous.

Orville''s songwriting partner, Barney, hatches a scheme.  If they can get hipster Dino to hear one of their songs -- and if he likes and records it -- they'll be made.  If they can coax Orville's wife to leave for the night, they can get Polly the Pistol to pretend she's Orville's wife.  Then they can invite Dino over for dinner, play him their music -- and let him play with "Mrs. Spooner."  Polly goes along with Barney's plan because she's tight on cash and could use the extra money.

Dino comes over, Polly pretends to be Mrs. Orville Spooner and Dino tries to get his hands on her when Orville isn't looking.

Like in Vertigo, there's a duality to Kim Novak's character in Kiss Me, Stupid and a marriage is involved.  And sex.  While Polly plays her part, she discovers something.  She really likes having a wedding ring on her finger.

She likes doing those ordinary domestic things, like making dinner for her husband and holding his hand.  There's broad burlesque humor in this sex satire and that's mostly what critics, at the time, didn't like.  Who really hated it?  The Catholic Church.  I remember my parents talking about this.  A Catholic newspaper called The Tidings had movie listings with ratings for Catholic moviegoers.

Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid was rated "Condemned" by the Catholic Legion of Decency.  Catholic moviegoers were told that they would be committing a major sin if they went to see it.  I kid you not.  Catholics were essentially told that if they saw this sexy comedy and, afterwards, died of a sudden heart attack before confessing to a priest that they'd seen Kiss Me, Stupid, their souls would go directly below.  You could be in Eternal Damnation sitting on a hot bench right next to high-ranking Nazi officers simply because you saw Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid.

All the suggestiveness and the risqué sight gags seem tame today in comparison to what we've heard on a typical episode of Two and a Half Men, the prime time CBS sitcom that's been on for over 10 years.  I think that Vatican veto on Wilder's movie came because Kiss Me, Stupid has a happy ending.  No one got hurt.  Fantasies came true.  Love prevailed.  If Polly the Pistol had been killed by a drunk driver as drove back to work at the cocktail lounge, the church would've been satisfied.  The "woman of loose morals" would've been punished.  But that didn't happen.  She was treated with humanity.  She was treated sweetly.  That's the way she treated Orville.

Is Kiss Me, Stupid in a class with Wilder's The Apartment, Some Like It Hot or the first Hollywood film he directed, The Major and the Minor starring Ginger Rogers?  No.  But it's not totally bad.  I've seen worse.  One example is Need For Speed, a movie I paid to see this year so I could review it on TV.  I'd rather keep a dental appointment during a New York City snowstorm than sit through that clunker again.  I believe that the Catholic Legion of Decency action plus the critics' displeasure kept folks from seeing Kim Novak stretch herself as an actress and show a talent for screwball comedy that was never tapped during her Columbia Pictures time in the 1950s.  Never before was she as outgoing, kooky and lovable in a role as she was for Wilder.  Novak created a nice character.  Polly the Pistol may not be the brightest bulb in the lamp, but she is honest.  And kind.  There's a radiance about Polly when she's wearing a simple dress and acting like a housewife in the kitchen.  And, I'll admit it, my heart is touched watching Polly when Orville sits at the piano, plays and sings the tender Gershwin tune, "All The Livelong Day."  Novak and Walston play that scene beautifully.  Polly loved her temporary time as a housewife.

When I've heard people criticize Kiss Me, Stupid in conversation, I've never truly felt that they were speaking from an honest place. I always had the feeling they were repeating reviews they'd read by noted critics and wanted to come off as urbane instead of forming their own opinions and independent observations.

I saw actor Laurence Fishburne in a special TCM conversation with film critic Elvis Mitchell.  Fishburne praised Dean Martin's performance in Kiss Me, Stupid.  How refreshing it was finally to hear another viewpoint about something relative to that Wilder comedy.  He spoke from an honest place.  Given that Kiss Me, Stupid was a scandalous comedy for its time, I'm surprised it hasn't been remade.  Maybe it's just as well is hasn't been redone.  A Kiss Me, Stupid remake would probably cast Vince Vaughn in the Dean Martin role.  Vince Vaughn as Vince Vaughn from Swingers.  Heaven only knows how today's Hollywood would re-imagine the Ray Walston and Kim Novak characters.

I'll stick with the original, imperfect as it is.  Give Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid a look -- after you see Kim in Hitchcock's Vertigo.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The powerhouse, however, is Dean Martin.

Hey pallies, likes over the course of the time ilovedinomartin has been sharin' Dino-devotion with you, we have published numerous reviews of what is considered to be our most beloved Dino's most controversial big screen effort, "Kiss Me Stupid" directed by Mr. Billy Wilder.   We have shared perspectives that have run the gamut of most favorable to highly objectionable and everythin' in between.

Likes today we are delighted to share what we consider to be one of, if not the most thoughtful and balanced reviews we have run 'cross.  Scribed by Gabriel Urbina  for " - ALL THAT MATTERS IN MOVIES," the post is tagged "Director B-Side: Billy Wilder’s ‘Kiss Me, Stupid’."  To our thinkin' Urbina shared amazin' insights into the what makes a great comedy flick and in particular the genius of Mr. Wilder to do so as a director.  Gabriel also lends great insights into some of "considerable setbacks" that the film "suffered" from.

As we read Urbina's remarks we were struck by the depth of perspective he has for this very underated Dino-effort.  And, likes of course, we were thrilled by how wonderfully Gabriel gives our most beloved Dino his due.  Urbina professes that, "The powerhouse, however, is Dean Martin."

Speakin' boldly of our Dino's most bold performance, Gabriel sez, "The Rat Packer had already been playing thinly veiled versions of himself in his films with Jerry Lewis for years, but this was something different: a biting, mean-spirited satire of the darker side of his public playboy persona. It’s the kind of performance that a lesser actor might shy away from, but Martin commits to it wholeheartedly and makes Dino an animal.  It’s a brave, take-no-prisoners performance, both a precursor and a towering superior to the self-parodying antics of films like This is the End."

Finally, we have found someone who truly gets our Dino playin' his ever cool, hip, and randy self to likes the max!  We highly commend Gabriel Urbina for such a well scribed and Dino-hononrin' review of "Kiss Me Stupid"....truly truly a classic review of a classic film.  To checks this out in it's original source, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-gram.  Dino-always, ever, and only, DMP
 Director B-Side: Billy Wilder’s ‘Kiss Me, Stupid’

To make a comedy film is to reckon with the odd bedfellows that lie at the heart of the genre: danger and comfort. The two concepts are antithetical but are absolutely essential if a film is going to make us laugh. A comedy without any sense of risk will never get its audience invested enough in the proceedings to be truly funny. It’ll have no stakes, no bite, no reason to care. But it’s not enough to make a situation dangerous – played straight, a man tripping and falling is not funny. It can, however, be made humorous if the filmmaker creates a sense of comfort around whatever is happening, if they remind us that we’re only watching a film.

That’s where the familiarity of the banana peel, the exaggerated movements, and the elaborate physical choreography comes in: they create distance between the audience and what we’re watching, a sense of comfort. “Yes,” the comedy film will whisper in your ear, “that is a dangerous tumble that fellow just took, but don’t worry, it’s just a movie. He’s in danger, but you’re safe. Yes, it’s all right, go ahead: laugh.”

Danger and comfort. This is the challenge that every great comedy filmmaker has had to tackle. Charlie Chaplin roller-skated, blindfolded, towards the ledge of a balcony.  Howard Hawks put Cary Grant in the same room as a live leopard. Ernst Lubitsch had a Polish acting troupe infiltrating the Gestapo. Stanley Kubrick brought the Cold War to a boil. Mel Brooks opened Springtime for Hitler on Broadway. Trey Parker and Matt Stone put Satan in bed with Saddam Hussein. How do you make these shocking, distasteful, perilous, vulgar, or treacherous situations palatable without rendering them inert? That’s the challenge, that’s the tightrope.

Enter Billy Wilder, professional cinematic tightrope-walker

In all the annals of film history, few have struck this balance as adroitly or as confidently as Billy Wilder. A German émigré who started his Hollywood career as a screenwriter, Wilder soon transitioned his career into being a God of Cinema. Even if he hadn’t done genre-defining work in the fields of film noirs, courtroom dramas, and war films, Wilder would have a seat reserved in the filmmaking pantheon for all eternity just for his work in comedy. Never a man to shy away from provocative subject matters, Wilder mined for jokes in topics as somber and controversial as organized crime, war, infidelity, prostitution, East-West tensions, Communism, Nazism, murder, violence, and suicide. And moviegoers everywhere laughed and laughed and laughed. Every time Wilder pushed the envelope further, and every time he hit the bull’s eye.

Then he made Kiss Me, Stupid.

Push the envelope enough times, and the envelope pushes back.

Kiss Me, Stupid, released in 1964, was the third film that Wilder directed after his controversial monster hit and triple Oscar win for The Apartment. It’s a film that was made at the height of his powers, but it’s also one that suffered from considerable setbacks. Wilder originally wanted Jack Lemmon for the lead role in the film, but when previous obligations made his usual partner in crime unavailable, Wilder settled on Peter Sellers. Yes, that Peter Sellers. The idea of a Sellers/Wilder film is enough to provoke acute salivation in most film lovers, but God decided that the result might be a bit more than the world could handle. Sellers had to be hospitalized after a heart attack shortly after filming started, and Wilder was forced to recast and reshoot. After that hurdle, he had to deal with an even bigger problem: the Catholic Legion of Decency. The fine folks at the C.L.D. objected to Wilder’s finished film and, dissatisfied by cuts he made to appease them, condemned the film publicly. This led to distribution problems, which were only exacerbated when the reviews for the film came in. The film was widely panned by critics and the masses, the general consensus being was that it was unfunny vulgarity that lacked the nimble wit and sophisticated charm of the previous Wilder films. Few saw it, and the ones that did left the theater with a bad taste in their mouth.

What went wrong? Had Wilder’s taste for the provocative finally gone too far? Had his reach into the realms of the dangerous and the shocking finally exceed the grasp of the comfort he could bring to the proceedings?

Well… maybe.

Dean Martin drinks Chianti out of Kim Novak’s shoe. I think that kind of covers everything you need to know about this movie.

Orville Spooner (Ray Walston heroically stepping into Peter Sellers’s shoes) is an underachieving music teacher in the sleepy town of Climax, Nevada. He’s married to the prettiest girl in town, Zelda (Felicia Farr), and consumed by paranoid delusions that she’s cheating on him with practically every man in town. He spends his free time writing songs with his friend Barney (Cliff Osmond) but after years of thanks-but-no-thanks and doors slamming in their faces, is starting to fear they’re never going to sell a song. His life’s a neurotic mess, and he needs something to shake things up.

As luck would have it, a famous singer, actor, and philanderer named Dino (played by Dean Martin… more on that in a moment) has pulled into town just in time for his car to break down. By hook and by crook, Orville and Barney are able to convince Dino to stay at Orville’s for an evening, hoping that they’ll be able to sell him one of their songs once he’s a captive audience. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Orville realizes that Dino is a sex-addicted fiend who’s only interested in seducing women. Rather than let the Hollywood Casanova set his sights on his wife, the two pals come up with a plan worthy of the most convoluted of P.G. Wodehouse novels: they’ll get Zelda to leave for the evening and then replace her with a notorious call girl from the local den of iniquity, a girl by the name of Polly the Pistol (Kim Novak). Polly will pretend to be Orville’s wife, Dino will have his way with her instead of Zelda, somewhere along the way they’ll sell him one of their songs, Zelda won’t find out that any of this ever happened. What could possibly go wrong?

Yup. Solid plan. Totally fool proof.

Just by reading the above description, you might already be cringing a little. Or a lot. It’s not difficult to see why the guys and gals at the Catholic Legion of Decency ended up in a tizzy over this one. Kiss Me, Stupid approaches its subject matters in a way that walks a fine line between “risqué” and “just plain uncomfortable.” The Apartment had dealt with adultery and prostitution, but it used a defter touch, came at these matters sideways. At the very least it did us the common courtesy of having a protagonist that was unambiguously against these matters. Kiss Me, Stupid is blunter, less inclined to comforting niceties. This film feels sleazy by design, and its dangers are more present and alarming, partly because they’re coming out of our protagonists themselves.

Speaking of the film’s protagonists, you may have already surmised this, but all of the men in this film are awful human beings. Barney is perhaps the least offensive of the three, but even he spends most of the film trying to toss girls into Dino’s arms just so he can make a buck. Orville is a jealous, possessive mess. In an early scene he is so obsessed about catching his wife in an imagined act of infidelity that he forgets it’s their wedding anniversary. But both of these sterling examples of horribleness pale when compared to Dino. The film plays the superstar as a one-dimensional, unsympathetic nightmare, a man who is so used to having women throw themselves at his feet that his brain has evolved backwards and erased all notions of consent from his conciousness. In many ways the plot of this film might could be summed up as “two horrible men try to entertain a sexual predator so they can profit.” Gee, aren’t you just itching to spend two hours with these guys?

‘Kiss Me, Stupid’: making you uncomfortable about what you’re seeing since 1964.

Okay, so the people in it are horrible, the subject matter’s uncomfortable, and most people who saw this film wrote it off as vulgar claptrap – why in God’s name am I telling you to watch this thing? Well, for starters, this is still a Billy Wilder joint, so all of the above is presented through some of the most creative, inventive, and sparkling dialogue that you have ever heard. Wilder came up during the restrictive era of the Hays Code and became an expert at getting his audience to deduce what he couldn’t show them. He once famously said that working under those conditions taught him that you should never call someone “a son of a bitch” if you can instead tell them, “If you had a mother, she’d bark.” There is a power in getting your audience to put two and two together on their own, in getting them to supply the dirty joke for themselves. This attitude is in full swing in Kiss Me, Stupid, and the way in which Wilder is able to get us to understand the horrible things that are happening through suggestions, innuendo, and vague allusions is a masterclass in audience control. The film’s content is tamer than most of the things that you’ll see in a modern gross-out comedy or on HBO but still feels outrageously seedy and lewd. Maybe that’s because, rather than just giving us all of the awful things that are happening outright, the film lets us infer and discover a lot of what’s happening. Nobody in the film directly states that Polly is a prostitute – we just know and that makes it all the dirtier.

Billy Wilder and Kim Novak try to come to a decision about a nuanced artistic issue while Dean Martin provides… moral support. The presence of Kim Novak’s “assets” throughout the film was one of the major reasons for the Catholic Legion of Decency’s condemnation of ‘Kiss Me, Stupid.’

Secondly, the film’s performances are reason enough to check out this black diamond in the rough. Ray Walston is a bit out of his depth in a role that was clearly designed for a comedy titan, but he gives it his all and acquits himself admirably. Kim Novak, on the other hand, brings layers upon layers to one of the best performances of her career. Polly is supposed to be a straightforward participant in the schemes, but she actually emerges as the film’s most complicated and three-dimensional character. Novak handles each of her transformations and turns with pitch-perfect vulnerability and likability. The powerhouse, however, is Dean Martin. The Rat Packer had already been playing thinly veiled versions of himself in his films with Jerry Lewis for years, but this was something different: a biting, mean-spirited satire of the darker side of his public playboy persona. It’s the kind of performance that a lesser actor might shy away from, but Martin commits to it wholeheartedly and makes Dino an animal.  It’s a brave, take-no-prisoners performance, both a precursor and a towering superior to the self-parodying antics of films like This is the End.

In spite of the film’s critical and commercial failure, Wilder spoke highly of the experience of working with Dean Martin for the rest of his life.

And, finally, the film is really, really funny. Oh, it’s uncomfortable and challenging, and definitely not for everyone’s taste, but if you are a fan of black comedies, this is a beast unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The filmmakers definitely went all out with how much awfulness and reprehensibility they could stuff into one film, but they also remembered to add the comfort necessary to make the proceedings funny. Everything in the film is stylized and exaggerated, from the hyper-small town setting and all the male characters’ one-dimensionality to Dino’s over-the-top portrayal. The entire thing feels like a deranged, breakneck-speed cartoon, but one that revolves around seedy and shocking subjects. Put all of this together with Wilder’s unparalleled ability to assemble funny set pieces, his ever-inventive reversals of roles, and his flawless comedic timing and what you get is the most uncomfortable set of laughing fits any film will ever give you.

There’s a scene early in the film where Orville is trying to get his wife upset enough to leave their home before she runs into the philandering Dino, an enterprise that proves a lot more challenging than one might think. He starts by saying very upsetting things to her, and these only escalate as she shrugs them off and he gets more and more desperate. The problem is that it’s such an unrelenting onslaught of awfulness, and Wilder couches each of the heartless things he says in such creative articulations, unexpected turns, or deadpan deliveries that my brain just ends up laughing because it has no idea how else to process what’s going on. No matter how many times I watch this scene I always feel like a worse human being by the end of it. Kiss Me, Stupid turns fifty years old this year and it feels shocking and unsettling now, almost like after all these years we’ve caught up with it and it can finally push the envelope the way it was meant to. Every time I watch this film I gasp and my jaw drops and I feel like a horrible person… and then I laugh and laugh and laugh.

Sure, it’s kinda dirty and raunchy, but you know what they say – nobody’s perfect.