“How to Save a Marriage (and Ruin Your Life)”: Dean Martin’s Life, That Is

The Doris Day mode continued as late as 1968, the year of The Graduate, with Dean Martin and Stella Stevens in the romantic comedy, How to Save a Marriage (and Ruin Your Life).

Eli Wallach is superb as a fiftyish man who cheats on his wife.  His buddy David Sloane (Martin) thinks he has proof that the adulterer’s mistress (Ann Jackson) is fickle, so he tries to save Wallach’s marriage by making advances to her.  But he does so to the wrong girl (Stevens), not the one involved with his friend.

Not far behind Wallach, Stella Stevens is lively and endearing—and drop-dead beautiful.  Martin, on the other hand, is inadequate, but Jackson and some others aren’t.  They’re authoritatively comic.  Fielder Cook’s directing is not quite good and not quite bad, notwithstanding, despite unsatisfying characterization, Marriage contains dollops of wit and some tasty humor.  It’s flawed but entertaining.  In addition, mainly a family pic, it’s hardly sexy at all, released only a year before such films as Goodbye Columbus and Last Summer, with their naked bodies, appeared.

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