Arrivederci, Baby! (1966)

Genres - Comedy, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy  |   Release Date - Dec 28, 1966 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Drop Dead Darling could have been a great little movie, if the writer/director had ever decided what kind of a movie he wanted to make (or if he had the truly exceptional skills required to bring off a movie that mixes as many tones as this one). At heart, Darling wants to be a very black comedy, the story of two serial spouse-killers who end up married to each other. Unfortunately, it also wants to be a zany sex comedy, a romance, a mod '60s adventure, a satire, and anything else it can get its hands on. The pieces come nowhere near blending, a face which is exacerbated by Ken Hughes let's-try-anything approach to directing this one. Hughes also made a major miscalculation in casting Tony Curtis. He is certainly at home playing a ladies' man in countless mindless sex comedies, and the quality he brings to these roles -- and which often works very well to his advantage -- is of a sexual hunter; he's appealing to women, but only after he wears them down first. In Darling, Curtis is instead supposed to be the kind of stand-offish figure whose presence inspires women to want to chase him, rather than the reverse. Fortunately, Darling has a very fine supporting cast. Nancy Kwan has nothing to do but does it well, Rosanna Schiaffino looks gorgeous, and Lionel Jeffries is sterling throughout. Even better are Zsa Zsa Gabor, turning in an surprisingly amusing performance, and Anna Quayle, whose brief turn in the first part of the film is simply hilarious. There are some other isolated moments in Darling that are quite amusing (although the ending is not one, even if it thinks it is); it's a shame that Hughes couldn't bring the disparate parts together and make an incisive, dark look at love and money.