The Olive Signature line returns with sharp new special editions of ‘Operation Petticoat’ and ‘Father Goose.’
Cary Grant was an international treasure, and the films he left behind are a testament to a charm, talent, and screen presence that’s never quite been equaled. (Sorry George Clooney.) His filmography is filled with classic titles beloved by millions including His Girl Friday, Suspicion, The Bishop’s Wife, and many more.
Olive Signature returns from a brief sabbatical with special edition releases of two films from the twilight of Grant’s career. Keep reading for a look at the new Blu-rays of Operation Petticoat and Father Goose.
Operation Petticoat (1959)
Captain Matt T. Sherman (Grant) wants back into the thick of the action of World War II, but his hopes are dashed when enemy strafing sinks his submarine. Luck, determination, and the shady assistance of Lieutenant JG Nicholas Holden (Tony Curtis) gets the boat back into service, albeit with some wrinkles, and they head out to sea. Mechanical troubles cut their journey short, though, and a brief stop for repairs nets them some new crew members in a bevy of Navy nurses previously stranded on an island. Suddenly an already precarious situation sees the captain putting out fires fueled by sexual tension and opportunity, and that’s even before they find themselves once again crossing paths with danger in their newly painted pink submarine.
The legendary Blake Edwards‘ (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Shot In the Dark, 10, Victor Victoria) sixth feature is also his first comedy classic, and his secret weapon is a perfectly flustered performance by Grant. He plays beautifully off of Curtis’ more carefree character, and together they create some beautifully-timed back ‘n’ forth banter. Today’s sensibilities mark Curtis’ playboy as something of a scoundrel early on, but at least he treats the women slightly better than he does the pig he “acquires” for a celebratory feast.
War action is limited, but Blake manages to make the scenes exciting despite some clear use of miniatures and opticals — it’s a real pink submarine though. It’s fun stuff and adds a charming touch to the comedy antics. The supporting cast brings some extra smiles with the likes of Dick Sargent, Gavin MacLeod, Joan O’Brien, and more, and everyone’s at the top of their game here doing great work with a sharp (Academy Award nominated) script. The laughs carry viewers along and into a third act that sees them targeted by both sides adding some dramatic beats to an already terrific movie.
Olive Signature’s new Blu-ray offers up a solid restoration of the film and packs the release with plenty of extras including a booklet, a commentary, archival footage, and the following:
- That’s What Everyone Says About Me [11:29] – Jennifer Edwards (Blake’s daughter) and actress Lesley Ann Warren (Victor Victoria) talk about the famed director’s life and career.
- The Brave Crew of the Petticoat [20:10] — Gavin MacLeod and Marion Ross talk about their careers and work on the film.
- The Captain and His Double: Cary Grant’s Struggle of the Self [28:41] – Grant’s biographer offers a look at the actor’s life and career.
Buy Operation Petticoat on Blu-ray from Amazon.
Father Goose (1964)
Walter Eckland (Grant) is an alcoholic American doing his best to stay alive and avoid responsibility amid the drama and explosions of World War II, but his plans get a shake-up when he’s tasked with serving as a “volunteer” island watcher looking out for Japanese planes and ships. He’s not thrilled, and it only gets worse when his trip to the island next door nets him a proud teacher (Leslie Caron) and her seven female student charges. His already frustrating existence takes a hit with his needy guests, precocious kids, and an unexpected romance.
Director Ralph Nelson (Lilies of the Field) crafts something of a wacky comedy here with dangerous happenings that never quite feel all that dangerous. It works, though, as the contrast — life and death battles with enemy forces are outweighed by the nagging attention of a woman (and seven kids) — plays well with Grant on the receiving end of the antics. The romance between the mismatched pair entertains even if it fails to convince.
While Operation Petticoat is a gem from beginning to end Grant’s penultimate feature is a slightly more mixed bag. He’s still aces even playing one of the more disagreeable characters of his career — he’s a cranky bastard for much of the film — but the comedy stemming from the children and Miss Caron occasionally grinds as it tries too hard for laughs. It comes around, and there are more than enough highlights, but their presence makes the middle sag. Still, the strengths far outweigh these yappy little kids.
Olive Signature once again brings the goods with their new Blu-ray and a picture restored from a 4K scan. The extras include a commentary, archival footage, and the following:
- Unfinished Business: Cary Grant’s Search for Fatherhood and His Oscar [18:12] – Grant’s biographer discusses the end of the actor’s career.
- My Father [11:26] – The director’s son, Ted Nelson, talks about his father and his own work aiding in the creation of the internet as we know it.
Buy Father Goose on Blu-ray from Amazon.