Anyone who loves anything Frank Sinatra will be taken by the opening of this film, which was undoubtedly the concept for Omar Sharif’s initial appearance in Lawrence.

An homage to the concept of trying to have fun and stay single, The Tender Trap, which also sports Debbie Reynolds, David Wayne and Celeste Holm is a delightful early CinemaScope confection.

Charles Walters (High Society, The Unsinkable Molly Brown) helms this one.

Photographed in Eastman Color, the element used seems to have up quite well. Color and densities look fine for Eastman of the era.

Aspect ratio is 2.55, which points to original 4-track stereo magnetic audio, and you’ll find it here as DTS-HD MA 5.1.

After over 65 years, still a fun entertainment.

Image – 4.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Recommended

RAH
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Robert Harris

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lark144

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"Anyone who loves anything Frank Sinatra will be taken by the opening of this film, which was undoubtedly the concept for Omar Sharif's initial appearance in Lawrence."

So, Mr. Harris. Are you implying that David Lean & co, instead of going to Egypt for "Lawrence of Arabia", could have simply shot that scene in the MGM studio pool?
 

Robert Harris

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"Anyone who loves anything Frank Sinatra will be taken by the opening of this film, which was undoubtedly the concept for Omar Sharif's initial appearance in Lawrence."

So, Mr. Harris. Are you implying that David Lean & co, instead of going to Egypt for "Lawrence of Arabia", could have simply shot that scene in the MGM studio pool?
Production notes confirm it being shot there. Much else was green screen. The attack on Aqaba, early CGI.
 

Robin9

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"Anyone who loves anything Frank Sinatra will be taken by the opening of this film, which was undoubtedly the concept for Omar Sharif's initial appearance in Lawrence."

So, Mr. Harris. Are you implying that David Lean & co, instead of going to Egypt for "Lawrence of Arabia", could have simply shot that scene in the MGM studio pool?
There also a Joel McCrea Western with a long take of a campfire scene and a rider approaching from a long distance. I forget now which film it was but I'm sure it's a late '50s movie. It's near the beginning of the film.
 

Will Krupp

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As much as I love Debbie Reynolds, every time I see this movie I keep hoping he'll "pick" Celeste Holm!

Debbie Reynolds mercenary miss doesn't QUITE give me the same "icks" as Maggie McNamara's manipulative secretary in THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN, but sometimes it's mighty close.
 
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lark144

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As much as I love Debbie Reynolds, every time I see this movie I keep hoping he'll "pick" Celeste Holm!

Debbie Reynolds mercenary miss doesn't QUITE give me the same "icks" as Maggie McNamara's manipulative secretary in THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN, but sometimes it's mighty close.
Which is why I'm not getting it on Blu. I think I liked it better when I was younger--way younger, like 14, before I had much experience with the opposite gender, when it all seemed a silly comedy, leavened with that MGM gloss and terrific casting. Now I find Debbie Reynolds' character scarier than the vampire girl in Terrence Fisher's "Dracula". Debbie Reynolds--whom I also love--seemed to be cast a lot in the early 1950's as a marriage prone virago. She plays a similar character in "Susan Slept Here" but because Tashlin is the director, the film continually veers into sequences and imagery that are cartoonish and surreal, which undercuts the ickiness of the premise. Charles Walter's geniality, however, can't really transcend "The Tender Trap's" glaring flaw, that Debbie Reynolds' character, in spite of the actress' innate charm and charisma, is completely unlikable, and it makes no sense the Sinatra character would choose her. So the whole premise of the film is illogical to me, and is uncomfortable to watch, in spite of the quality of its production and performances. Yes, I can watch Celeste Holm in almost anything, but these days the only thing I really like about "The Tender Trap" is the pool scene in the beginning, and I have it on DVD, buried somewhere, if I ever need to see it again. It's weird what the studios put out as "date movies" back in the day.
 

Will Krupp

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Charles Walter's geniality, however, can't really transcend "The Tender Trap's" glaring flaw

According to his recent biography, Walters absolutely HATED the Broadway play upon which this was based. He was too much of a "nice guy" to turn down the assignment, though.
 

Matt Hough

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According to his recent biography, Walters absolutely HATED the Broadway play upon which this was based. He was too much of a "nice guy" to turn down the assignment, though.
I bought that book when it first came out and need to re-read it very soon. Thanks for spurring me to do so!
 

Mark B

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According to his recent biography, Walters absolutely HATED the Broadway play upon which this was based. He was too much of a "nice guy" to turn down the assignment, though.
I always felt Charles Walters didn't have a very personal or distinct directorial style, and as a result his films' success depended a great deal on the source material. This film has always seemed flatly shot and staged, and the scenario doesn't seem to engage. And that's a bummer with so many talented actors at sea in it all.
 

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Mr. Walters wasn't really a director. He lucked into that position, but I really don't care for many of his films. A couple of times he got lucky, where the alchemy was right.
 

lark144

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I don't think anyone could have saved "The Tender Trap". But Charles Walters "got lucky" more than a couple times--in addition to "Lili" there's "Easter Parade", "The Barkleys of Broadway", "Summer Stock", "Easy to Love", "Please Don't Eat the Daises" & most of "High Society", especially where they're not aping the "Philadelphia Story". "Alchemy" that often and that consistently means there's a director behind the camera. Charles Walters may not have been a visual stylist, he may not have had a strong personal theme, but his films not only have high powered stars at the top of their game, the films have an ebullience, a warmth, and a consistency of pacing and composition that distinguishes them from the other films of that period in the Freed unit. If Andrew Sarris, in writing the "American Cinema, included Charles Walters, that means for all his weakneses, he considered him a major director, not a great one, mind you, as Sarris placed Charles Walters in "Light and Lively" among Frank Tashlin & George Sidney, but that still makes him worthy of consideration. Besides, "Lili" is one of the greatest musicals to come out of MGM. It not only has wonderful performances and music. It all holds togteher and forms a consistent world view that takes that random alchemy and molds it inro a creative whole, sunny though the view might be. That's not a happy accident. That's direction.
 

haineshisway

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As I said, I like a few of his films. But Easter Parade, Barkleys, and Summer Stock are about the musical numbers and the people who do them. His work is meat-and-potatoes, which is fine. You feel otherwise, and that's fine.
 

Robin9

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According to his recent biography, Walters absolutely HATED the Broadway play upon which this was based. He was too much of a "nice guy" to turn down the assignment, though.
Hey, thank you. I didn't know he'd written his autobiography. I'll search for it because I once read an interview with him in a magazine and he was a good raconteur.
 

Thomas T

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As much as I love Debbie Reynolds, every time I see this movie I keep hoping he'll "pick" Celeste Holm!
I've never gotten Celeste Holm's appeal. She's about as warm as a popsicle. This is why she never became a Star and had to settle for second leads (All About Eve, Tender Trap, High Society, Road House etc.). I must confess that my opinion might be tainted by the woman herself who came across as pompous, pretentious, obnoxious and "holier than thou" in her interviews. Her image belies her pettiness. Meanwhile, Debbie is cute as a kitten and I don't find her character obnoxious at all. This was the pre-feminist era where marriage was the goal for most young women.
 

Thomas T

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And to counteract all the negativity toward the film, I like it. Here's the capsule review I wrote for my blog in December 2015:

A New York theatrical agent (Frank Sinatra) enjoys playing the field with the bevy of beauties available to him. But when he meets an aspiring young actress (Debbie Reynolds) who wants to settle down and do the marriage bit ..... he may have met his match! Based on the hit Broadway comedy by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith, this is a film very much of its decade. For the women in this movie, careers are just something to kill time till Mr. Right comes along. Gallons of alcohol are consumed, cartons of cigarettes are smoked and the guys lech after the women who all want a ring on it! Yet there's do denying the film's charms and yes, wit. To celebrate Old Blue Eyes' 100th birthday, this was the movie that came to mind. He only sings one song in the movie, the Oscar nominated title song but he's never been more lovable or amiable and even if he weren't the greatest male vocalist of the 20th century, he still could have been a true movie star without singing a note. Directed by Charles Walters. With Celeste Holm, David Wayne, Carolyn Jones, Lola Albright, Jarma Lewis and Tom Helmore.
 
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Will Krupp

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I've never gotten Celeste Holm's appeal. She's about as warm as a popsicle. This is why she never became a Star and had to settle for second leads (All About Eve, Tender Trap, High Society, Road House etc.). I must confess that my opinion might be tainted by the woman herself who came across as pompous, pretentious, obnoxious and "holier than thou" in her interviews. Her image belies her pettiness. Meanwhile, Debbie is cute as a kitten and I don't find her character obnoxious at all. This was the pre-feminist era where marriage was the goal for most young women.

Oh, I put Celeste Holm in that category of actresses whose on-screen presence I often enjoy but I wouldn't want to sit down to lunch with (there's QUITE a list) and I agree with you regarding the way she comes across (bitter!) in interviews. That being said, I really "like" her chic New York-y character in this and I like the way she plays it.

And Debbie is always as "cute as a kitten" (I really like that phrase and I think I'm going to steal it, fair warning) which is why she can get away with almost anything.

And to counteract all the negativity toward the film, I like it. Here's the capsule review I wrote for my blog in December 2015:

And I apologize, it's my fault for not making it clear, but (in spite of being uncomfortable with Debbie's character) I DO actually like the movie quite a bit.
 

Robin9

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And to counteract all the negativity toward the film, I like it. Here's the capsule review I wrote for my blog in December 2015:

A New York theatrical agent (Frank Sinatra) enjoys playing the field with the bevy of beauties available to him. But when he meets an aspiring young actress (Debbie Reynolds) who wants to settle down and do the marriage bit ..... he may have met his match! Based on the hit Broadway comedy by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith, this is a film very much of its decade. For the women in this movie, careers are just something to kill time till Mr. Right comes along. Gallons of alcohol are consumed, cartons of cigarettes are smoked and the guys lech after the women who all want a ring on it! Yet there's do denying the films charms and yes, wit. To celebrate Old Blue Eyes' 100th birthday, this was the movie that came to mind. He only sings one song in the movie, the Oscar nominated title song but he's never been more lovable or amiable and even if he weren't the greatest male vocalist of the 20th century, he still could have been a true movie star without singing a note. Directed by Charles Walters. With Celeste Holm, David Wayne, Carolyn Jones, Lola Albright, Jarma Lewis and Tom Helmore.
That's a pretty good summation.
 

roxy1927

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Shit! Manners!

Yes she is often wonderful on screen but I think everyone here has her pegged. Anybody else see her towards the end of her life at the Loew's Jersey showing of Eve? Very sad.

And I can't believe people are discussing Walters without mentioning he directed one of the best movie musicals of all Battleship Potemkin. Uh, I mean Good News.