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  Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You Ian News
Year: 1970
Director: Rod Amateau
Stars: Ian McShane, Anna Calder-Marshall, John Gavin, Severn Darden, Joyce Van Patten, Beba Loncar, Leopoldo Trieste, Katia Christine, Gaby André, Marino Masé, Ian Trigger, Veronica Carlson, Daniël Sola, Dari Lallou, Linda Morand, Richard Harrison
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  1 (from 1 vote)
Review: Fred C. Dobbs (Ian McShane) is a playwright who moved to the city of Rome to immerse himself in his work, yet more often he has found himself immersed in the arms of a beautiful lady. Naturally, he must keep these dalliances secret from his wife, Millie (Anna Calder-Marshall), and he is starting to worry whether all these affairs are really healthy, and besides, what if his hair falls out with the stress? For this reason he has been attending sessions with a psychiatrist, Doctor Fahrquardt (Severn Darden), who may not be a legitimate psychiatrist as his first name is Doctor rather than it being a credit he studied for. Handily, he also has a treatment for keeping his patient's hair...

As you may have guessed from the title, since that is part of a lyric of a still-famous Tom Jones song, this was the follow-up to the banal but successful sixties sex comedy What's New, Pussycat? which had that tune as its theme. Except, was it? It featured none of the same cast, nobody was playing a recurring character, the storyline was not exactly comparable, and none of the behind the scenes creatives from the original had been involved with this supposed sequel. Indeed, if it had not been for that title, you would be hard pressed to discern very much this had in common aside from the most superficial aspects, such as a ker-ay-zee shrink character, or an obsession with love affairs.

It certainly wasn't funny, and writer and director Rod Amateau some would say rightly was landed with a world's worst director judgement from on high (or from the kind of person who makes such pronouncements, anyway) for a string of dreadful comedies, surprising for a man so heavily involved with the business of making audiences laugh, both on the small screen and large. He must have made somebody laugh, because he was regularly employed to make efforts like this, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would admit to enjoying them; that he ended his career with the trading cards cash-in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie should tell you all you needed to know about him.

Come off it, you may protest, you don't spend decades in the comedy business without making anything entertaining, Amateau must have been hired for a reason, but looking at his filmography, the motive appears to have been desperation when everyone else of greater talent turned the projects down. Nothing about Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You succeeds: when it's trying to be wacky it's deeply tiresome, and that feeling stretched through a very long hour and forty minutes of story, if you could call this a story as it was closer to describe it as a series of loosely interlinked sketches, many of which featured the same characters. But nobody here behaved like a real person, purely acting as conceits, and that was fatal to the humour as farce has to have some grounding in reality to make us sympathise or appreciate the situations.

But Amateau had dismissed any whiff of the genuine for scene after scene of artificial constructions, merely an excuse to line up a bevy of European beauties for McShane to react to. They included British Hammer favourite Veronica Carlson, who at least had the opportunity to use her native Yorkshire accent for a change, the Serbian Beba Loncar who was dubbed with an Italian accent and was described as looking like Brigitte Bardot, presumably because they were both blonde and lovely, and Dutch Katia Christine who was having an interesting 1970 what with this and superflop The Adventurers in the same year. If there was no shortage of eye candy, alas there was no shortage of tedium either, simply a collection of performers all at sea in unplayable roles with unspeakable jokes. The director resorted to throwing in a chase on the set of a Spaghetti Western for the grand finale in a move apparently designed to prompt the audience to a mass, simultaneous eye roll. Bedroom obsessed, they even had a gorilla in it to pledge its love for McShane. An utter disaster, no matter what they were aiming for. Music by Lalo Schifrin (including his Mission: Impossible theme).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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