Bachelor Flat (1962):

Frank Tashlin remaking his own Susan Slept Here, the Nabokovian jaunt appropriately foregrounded for a critique of Kubrick's Lolita -- Tuesday Weld, one of the original candidates, plays the nymph here. The American Revolution prologue, before the credits, sets up the fascination between Englishman and Yankee womanhood, Terry-Thomas decked in redcoat and Weld waiting by the window as Richard Beymer in buckskin takes potshots. Back to the present, namely Southern California circa 1962, the Brit now an archeology university professor, gap tooth inherited from Cro-Magnon forefathers, though the female sighing students don't seem to mind. Law student Beymer lives in a driveway trailer, and Weld, the unacknowledged daughter of Terry-Thomas' bride (Celeste Holm), wanders into the titular beachfront pad. His dressing is interrupted, therefore only boxers and socks to go with his bow-tied shirt; Terry-Thomas tries to shoo away the girl, who adds to the farcical confusion by refusing to reveal her true identity, instead burying her vulnerability under the brassy slang of juvenile delinquency. Weld cooks her host's breakfast in hugging jean shorts, orange top and heels, though the middle-aged European is the actual Jayne Mansfield figure here, prompting ejaculating water fountain spurts from the gals and, in a crowning gag, pressing two dishes against his bosom for the frontal gender reversal, crying for milk. Also like Mansfield, Terry-Thomas has to live up to the cultural assumptions imposed upon him, so his meek asexuality has to give way to amorous aggression; Beymer evokes Jekyll and Hyde, offers him a cocktail, and sends the professor off hunting, umbrella in hand, fully erect. As for the elongated screen, cake-munching Francesca Bellini lies on a vibrating massage bed horizontally to fill up the CinemaScope rectangle, referenced in the stretched shape of Beymer's vivacious pet dachshund, dragging a plus-sized dinosaur femur across the sands. With Howard McNear, Ann Del Guercio, and Roxanne Arlen.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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