Not with My Wife, You Don’t! (1966): Norman Panama’s Comedy, starring Tony Curtis, Virna Lisi and George C. Scott

Norman Panama directed Not with My Wife, You Don’t!, a romantic comedy starring Tony Curtis, Virna Lisi and George C. Scott.

Not with My Wife, You Don’t!
Not with My Wife, You Don't! poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

The plot resembles that of the long-running “road movies” popularized by Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, also products of the Norman Panama-Melvin Frank writing team.

The opening title sequence and interior sequences with an animated green monster were created by Saul Bass.

During the Korean War, Italian nurse Lieutenant Julietta Perodi (Virna Lisi) with a passion of everything in “twos,” falls in love with two US Air Force pilots, Col. Tom Ferris (Tony Curtis) and Col. “Tank” Martin (George C. Scott). “Julie” marries Ferris after he convinces her that his friend, “Tank” has been killed in aircraft crash. Predictably, she soon discovers that Martin is alive, but remains happily married to Ferris until, Martin, her former love, re-enters their lives 14 years later.

Ferris, a military attache assigned to looking after military “brass” like General Parker (Carroll O’Connor) has been neglectful of his wife. When Martin uses his influence to have Ferris shipped to Labrador for an Arctic survival course, she is prepared to seek divorce.

Disguised as an Arab potentate, Ferris steals a V.I.P jet and wings it to Rome to reconcile with his wife. Martin really wants to keep his single lifestyle, and can’t see himself as the “marrying kind.” Two years later, with their marriage firm, the Ferris family has twin boys while Ferris continues making life easy for military V.I.P.s, including the newly appointed Brig. Gen. Tank Martin, who is now flying with the US Air Force Thunderbirds team.

Panama is known for his partnership with Melvin Frank, which resulted in such films as Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), starring Cary Grant, White Christmas (1954), with Bing Crosby, and The Court Jester (1956), a popular Danny Kaye vehicle.

Cast

Tony Curtis Col. Tom Ferris
Virna Lisi Julie Ferris/Lieutenant Julietta Perodi
George C. Scott Col. “Tank” Martin
Carroll O’Connor General Parker
Richard Eastham General Walters
Eddie Ryder Sergeant Gilroy
George Tyne Sergeant Dogerty
Ann Doran Doris Parker
Donna Danton Nurse Sally Ann
Natalie Core Lillian Walters
Buck Young Air Police Colonel
Maurice Dallimore BBC commentator

Directed by Norman Panama
Produced by Norman Panama
Screenplay by Norman Panama
Larry Gelbart
Peter Barnes
Story by Norman Panama
Melvin Frank
Starring Tony Curtis
Virna Lisi
George C. Scott
Richard Eastham
Music by John Williams
Johnny Mercer
Cinematography Charles Lang
Edited by Aaron Stell

Production
company

Fernwood Productions
Reynard Productions

Distributed by Warner Bros.

Release date
November 2, 1966

Running time
119 minutes

Note:

TCM showed this comedy as part of a tribute to Tony Curtis on July 27, 2020.

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