Saturday, August 8, 2015

That Lucky Touch (1975)

          Suave British actor Roger Moore never properly capitalized on his visibility while playing James bond from 1973 to 1985, appearing in fun movies that failed to find wide audiences (such as the 1979 action romp North Sea Hijack, released in the US in 1980 as ffolkes), and, more often than not, headlining misfires along the lines of That Lucky Touch. A British/German coproduction plainly designed to capture the effervescence of Cary Grant’s romantic comedies, That Lucky Touch suffers from a woefully underdeveloped story, and neither the action components nor the humorous elements connect. Thanks to the presence of several big-name actors and the use of picturesque European locations, the movie is pleasant enough to watch on a scene-by-scene basis. Alas, it all crumbles the minute one tries to connect the narrative dots. Viewed with forgiving eyes, however, the picture has one strong virtue, which is the chemistry that Moore shares with costar Susannah York. (This was the duo’s second and final picture together, following the solid 1974 thriller Gold.) Although Moore and York aren’t exactly Grant and Hepburn—not even close—they banter well and have similar upper-crust screen personas.
          Moore plays Michael Scott, an international arms dealer who may or may not operate inside the law. (Even though Michael takes clandestine nighttime meetings like a criminal, he’s portrayed as having above-board UN connections.) York plays Michael’s next-door neighbor, Julia Richardson, a reporter for The Washington Post. Both characters are friendly with US Lt. Gen. Henry Steedman (Lee J. Cobb), a blustery career officer married to the overbearing Diana (Shelley Winters). Michael wants Henry to buy a large shipment of guns, and Julia’s snooping imperils the deal, so, naturally, Michael and Julia share a meet-cute that leads to love. The plot also involves a UN war-games exercise that puts Julia into the orbit of an amorous Italian named Gen. Peruzzi (Raf Vallone). The final player on the board is Michael’s on-again/off-again girlfriend, sexy Sophie (Sydne Rome). Allegedly based upon an idea by the legendary playwright Moss Hart, That Lucky Touch makes very little sense. At its worst, the movie devolves into bewildering chaos, especially during a duck hunt that’s intercut with both the war-games exercise and Michael’s desperate attempt to stop Julia from doing—something or another. All very murky.
          Mildly tasty but also flat and unsatisfying, That Lucky Touch is like champagne without the fizz.

That Lucky Touch: FUNKY

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