The Honeymoon Machine (1961)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Military Comedy, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 23, 1961 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Honeymoon Machine is a middling armed forces comedy, meaning that there are plenty of wily enlisted men attempting to put something over on a not-so-bight superior officer. There are also a number of female counterparts to add complications, if not depth, to the proceedings. What there is not is a great deal of wit or originality; the lack of the latter is regrettable, but it's really the lack of the former that keeps Honeymoon from being a lot more fun. With a movie like this, the viewer pretty much knows what is going to happen from one moment to the next, so lacing the proceedings with genuine humor is crucial. It also doesn't help that the film is clearly based on a stage play; the few excursions into Venice and the use of CinemaScope don't change the fact that the play has been opened up only minimally. Star Steve McQueen also is part of the problem; he's fine, but nothing more, and the part really calls for a Tony Curtis type who can carry off the role with innate ease. McQueen either tries too hard or not at all; he has enough star power to make him worth watching, but The Honeymoon Machine has a hole in its center where his performance needs to be. Fortunately, the supporting cast is much better, with especially valuable performances from Paula Prentiss, Jim Hutton, Jack Weston, and Dean Jagger. If Richard Thorpe's direction is not outstanding, it still keeps the pace up -- and that's what is really required here.