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Womanizing Brit Charlie Cartwright is about to conduct Worldwind Tour #225, a nine country, eighteen day bus trip from London to Rome. He uses these tours in large part to catch up with his vast stable of casual girlfriends located in each of the visited cities. Within the group of disparate Americans on this tour, most who have never been to Europe, and the reason for them taking this trip are: parents who want to get their hormone driven teen-aged daughter away from her boyfriend despite the fact that the father doesn't want to leave the familiarity of home; a not-so woman's man who wants to prove to his friends that he had a beautiful woman in every country; an ethnic non-Italian speaking Italian who wants to catch up with the relatives he's never met; a WWII veteran who wants to re-experience the best times he's ever had; and a man who solely wants "free" souvenirs. But the one Charlie is most interested in is pretty Samantha Perkins, a self-confessed straight-laced woman who ...Written by
"The End" title card initially looks like just any other title card. However, the camera zooms out and reveals that it is a picture hanging on a wall. The character played by Aubrey Morris (the kleptomaniac) enters and removes it from the wall, trying conspicuously to hide it in his coat. He walks off and the screen fades out. See more »
A gas, at times funny, but an awkward assemblage of jokes and a pale romance
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969)
A complete throwaway, and delightful, entertainment, with a charming Suzanne Pleshette as the sporadic leading lady in a romantic comedy set all over Europe. As the tour bus glides its way through the usual hot spots, in a typical (to this day) whirlwind race through major capitals from London to Rome, we see a playful satire of down home American types out of their element. It has funny moments, and some good comic actors, but it's almost thrown together and the story, whatever its short laughs, is pretty thin stuff.
But then, a lot of comedies have no desire to be great films, and don't even worry about plot so much as finding some way under heaven to get as many funny situations in an hour and a half as possible. Pleshette I think is meant to play a kind of simpler American Audrey Hepburn, and she really does have a spark and sincerity on screen that works. She falls in love with the tour guide, a sharply dressed British fellow who seems more 1963 than 1969 (picture John Lennon by 1969) played by Ian McShane, an appealing but easily caricatured type. The rest of the cast is only present for gags and one liners, including a few very cameo cameos that get a lot of attention but are hardly worth watching the film for.
The one exception, though, is a complete run through of Donovan singing "Lord of the Reedy River" in his faint precious tenor, alone on his guitar, surrounded by a room full of strung out kids dressed in perfect hippie clothes, a poster of Che on the wall. The movie makers knew this was a small coup, Donovan being at the time still a famous remnant of the early folk and folk rock movement (and a famous part of the Bob Dylan tour of England in 1965). A crude youtube version (with subtitles) is here: http://youtu.be/7M4D2B18cz8.
Another reviewer notes that this is a truly "retro" film and what they really mean is that this isn't retro at all but it's the real deal, 1969 in 1969, and is a kind of capsule of some characteristic aspects of the time. It's a frivolous version of those scenes, from the exaggerated Italian extended family in Venice to the dancing to Swiss traditional music, but it does show a common liberation of the time, including a painfully sexist amateur photographer who photographs girls in miniskirts in each and every country as a kind of countdown. Of course, the director makes the movie equally sexist in the process, gawking at each of the models (victims?) as it goes. Harmless fun for some, cheesy demeaning distraction for others, and typical of many 1960s movies either way.
Overall it's fun and funny and a joyful film, rather upbeat in more ways than just the humor. It's not New Hollywood, there is no socially cutting edge here, and no filming innovations (aside from some playful fast edits). But it tours the viewer through some wonderful, if well known, parts of Western Europe and has some laughs. And it has a beautifully unexpected ending, very poignant after all. Thank you Suzanne Pleshette.
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