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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Panic Button (1964)

In order to get a tax write off, an American businessman (Mike Connors) produces a film of ROMEO AND JULIET starring a washed up ex-movie star (Maurice Chevalier), a blonde who can't act (Jayne Mansfield) and directed by a pretentious "artsy" director (Akim Tamiroff). If you've seen Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS, you know how this will end up! At first, one may think this is a rip off of THE PRODUCERS but this was actually made some years before the Mel Brooks comedy classic. It would be nice to report that it's a comedy sleeper awaiting reevaluation but the truth is ..... it's just not very good. As directed by Hollywood veteran George Sherman (BIG JAKE), the laughs just aren't there. The film might have benefited from being shot in color so it could showcase the Rome and Venice settings but it's in B&W. I think I laughed once (Tamiroff says "Make her hair sad, it looks too happy") and when not even Chevalier in nun drag can make you smile, you know you're in trouble. With Eleanor Parker (not exactly known for her comedic skills either) and Leopoldo Trieste.

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