Talkie of the Week: The Glass Bottom Boat
USA 1966, 110 minutes, color, MGM. Director: Frank Tashlin, Producer: Everett Freeman and Martin Melcher, Written by: Everett Freeman. Cast: Doris Day, Rod Taylor, Arthur Godfrey, John McGiver, Paul Lynde, Edward Andrews, Eric Fleming, Dom DeLuise, Elisabeth Fraser, Dick Martin, George Tobias, Alice Pearce, Ellen Corby, Dee J. Thompson
Plot summary: Lady killer manager snags himself a fake mermaid gone supposed spy and tries to keep her hooked.
Review: The Glass Bottom Boat, also known as The Spy in Lace Panties is a highly entertaining example of a spy movie comedy from the 1960s. Doris Day gets to show off her dramatic acting talents, as well as her goofball qualities and exceptional singing voice. She is supported by charming co-star Rod Taylor who tries to sweep her Jennie Nelson right out of her mermaid tail. Picking up on films à la James Bond and Doris Day’s many romantic comedies, this film is a beautiful genre mix and positively tacky piece of hilarity.
With songs like “Que Sera, Sera” (which was originally featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who knew too Much in 1956 and won an Academy Award for best original song) and the title song The Glass Bottom Boat, this film “beats” its audience into the right mood for an endless cycle of slapstick, mishaps and misdemeanor with a healthy dash of the famous 1960s sense of humor and sexy flirtation.
The screwballish comedy presents a wonderful supporting cast for its leading lady and gentleman, including TV couple cameos by Alice Pearce and Geroge Tobias who starred as the odd spying neighbors on Bewitched at the time. In addition to this attention to pop culture detail, the film presents an eye-catching composition of colors, wardrobe and props. It is a real treat to watch Doris Day being so beautifully lit and featured, even forty-five years after the release of this package of silly fun.
Doris Day once said that all she wants is to make people happy, and that’s what this movie does.The Glass Bottom Boat is the perfect film for a rainy Indian summer night when the sky’s been gray for days and the heart needs some cheering up. Deliciously composed to relax it leaves a taste of carefreeness in your mind and paints a smile on your lips that may last for days.
Available on VHS and DVD. The Glass Bottom Boat trailer