Kiss Them for Me (1957): Donen’s Comedy, Starring Cary Grant, Jane Mansfield, and Suzy Parker

Stanley Donen directed Kiss Them for Me, a minor comedy, based on the 1945 Broadway play of the same name, starring Cary Grant in one of his weakest vehicles of the 1950s.

Three decorated Navy pilots are on a four-day leave in San Francisco. They get an elegant hotel suite, where Commander Andy Crewson (Grant), a smooth operator, bring good wine and beautiful women.

Mansfiled plays blonde bombshell Alice lured to the suite under the false pretense that Crewson has a box of nylon stockings. Though attracted to Crewson, she courts Lieutenant McCann (Ray Walston), a married man who’s running for Congress out of Massachusetts. If elected, McCann plans to leave the Navy and return to civilian life.

Lieutenant Wallace (Werner Klemperer) tries to get the pilots to make patriotic speeches at the plants of shipyard magnate Eddie Turnbill (Leif Erickson), so that he will vouch for the men with the Navy, and get a lucrative job for himself.

However, Crewson and his mates are physically and mentally exhausted from the war and simply want to enjoy a few days away from it.

Suffering from combat stress and memories of war, Crewson tries to amuse himself by making a play for Turnbill’s fiancée, Gwinneth Livingston (model-turned actress Suzy Parker).

She resists his advances at first, but later changes her mind. In the predictable ending, Crewson declares love before he and mates return to duty.

Grant’s romantic scenes with Parker, who’s beautiful but can’t act, suffer from lack of genuine chemistry.

The writing is shallow and lacks wit, and there’s a big emotional hollow at the center of this trifle, which is not worthy of the talents of the director or star.

The next teaming of director Donen and Grant in the following year, Indiscreet, is a mush better movie, largely due to the elegant direction and strong rapport between Grant and Ingrid Bergman