Monday, August 18, 2014

Diary of a Bachelor (1964)

Directed by Sandy Howard. In this crisply restored drive-in movie, Skip (William Traylor) is a high-powered realtor in 1960s Manhattan with a baffling reputation as a dapper playboy, considering he looks a lot more like an entomologist.

Despite Skip's natural entomological good looks he is about to exchange his ne'er do well lifestyle and settle down with super hottie Joanne Burns (Dagne Crane). But not so fast! It seems Skip keeps a diary, and when Joanne discovers this (by going through his things) she goes batshit crazy -- and not because only teenage girls keep diaries, which makes Skip seem like a colossal tool. Turns out it's because of what Skip actually writes in his diary. He documents all of his sexual pursuits.

"Pursuits" is more the word than "conquests" because Skip couldn't get laid in a brothel. Well, that's not completely fair. Skip deserves that much benefit of doubt because at one point here he does make it with a hooker, even though she's the kind of hooker who...surprise...asks for the cash after the booty bump, which seems sort of unusual.

"Diary of a Bachelor" brilliantly demonstrates American International's shrewd (cheap) production. Tightly budgeted, yet taking place in upscale Manhattan cocktail lounges and Greenwich Village hipster joints, for the most part this still works. One exception are the comically narrow twin doors to Skip's penthouse apartment, which are obviously re-purposed closet doors. These doors are used so frequently as characters enter and exit scenes that eventually, watching the actors turn their bodies sideways to fit through begs for a drinking game. If you do this, please let me know.

Dom Deluise appears in his first film role. Recommended, though not because of that.

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