THE MATING GAME, 1959
Cast: Debbie Reynolds, Tony Randall, Paul Douglas, Fred Clark
Tax-collector Lorenzo Charlton comes to the Larkins' farm to ask why Pop Larkins hasn't paid his back-taxes. Charlton has to stay for a day to try to estimate the income from the farm, but it isn't easy to calculate when the farmer has such a lovely daughter, Mariette...
CLICK HERE and watch TV SHOWS FOR FREE!
Light comedy that features the always likeable Debbie Reynolds and the always stellar Tony Randall, The Mating Game is a fun, breezy film that provides plenty of funny moments and a charming story. It is loosely based on a British novel, The Darling Buds of May, by H.E. Bates. That book was later adapted into a more faithful 1991-93 British miniseries, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role that Debbie Reynolds plays in the 1959 film.
The story is simple. Tax-collector Lorenzo Charlton comes to the Larkins' farm to ask why Pop Larkins hasn't paid his back-taxes. But he never really gets a straight answer.
Charlton has to stay for a day to try to estimate the income from the farm, but it isn't easy to calculate when the farmer has such a lovely daughter, Mariette (Reynolds) who also has a feisty attitude and has no problem showing it to the rather stiff Charlton. What follows is the formulaic boy and girl love story that develops originally out mutual animosity. But what makes it a good, not great, film are the fun performances from Reynolds and Randall.
Debbie Reynolds has always had a solid career picking films that both show her comedic side, but those that show a more serious part of her characters. Although, it was rare for her to play such serious roles, not that she didnít want to, but Hollywood usually type casted people based on their last performance. But that still seems to be the case even today.
Whatís interesting about this film that should be noted is the girl is the one pursing the man. It was usually the other way around but here it was a nice role reversal. Randall playing the stiff worked well off of Reynolds charismatic and care free nature.
Thereís a great scene when Randall gets drunk and acts completely out of character. This leads to a misunderstanding the next morning which provided even funnier moments. Again, part of the charm of The Mating Game is its stars.
Even today there are plenty of romantic comedies that rely on slapstick humor with a thin storyline and rather bland characters, but The Mating Game shows that such a formula can prove a treat to watch when in the right hands. In the hands of Reynolds and Randall you canít go wrong. A great classic film that is a joy to watch, The Mating Game is an exhilarating piece of entertainment.