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Film / Strange Bedfellows (1965)

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Strange Bedfellows is a 1965 American romantic comedy film directed by Melvin Frank, starring Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, and Gig Young.

An American businessman, Carter Harrison (Hudson), and a bohemian Italian woman, Toni (Lollobrigida), meet in London and impulsively marry. However, they find shortly after that they have virtually nothing in common and separate. Seven years later, just days before the divorce is due to be finalized, they meet again and begin to rekindle the romance. Complicating things is that an important promotion for Carter hinges on whether he's married, and a protest stunt by Toni's bohemian collective that could destroy his career.

This film features examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Toni comes up with a quite inspired alliterative phrase when insulting Carter, albeit with some help from Harry Jones.
    Toni: You are the most barbaric, bothersome, boorish, bourgeois...
    Harry Jones: "Bore"?
  • Advertised Extra: Terry-Thomas was heavily featured in some promotional material, but he ultimately only appears for a few minutes as a mortician who helps Carter towards the end of the film, in what was basically a glorified cameo.
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: Carter is shown reuniting with one of these after his initial separation from Toni.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The narrator at the beginning of the film says with regards of Carter and Toni discovering that they disagreed on a lot of viewpoints:
    Narrator: They agreed on nothing: Politics, poligamy, peanut butter, Pushkin, you name it!
  • Bait-and-Switch: When big-shot businessman Carter has a reunion with an Arab Oil Sheikh and his entourage in a tent, a camel and a modern luxury car are seen outside the tent. After they exit the reunion, it is revealed that the camel is Carter's, and the car is the Sheikh and his entourage's.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Carter leaves Toni at her house:
    Carter: What is it, a studio house?
    Toni: Mm-hmm. You see, it's actually a studio...I mean, as well as a house.
    Carter: Probably why they call it a studio house.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Carter has his moments. For example, after Toni talks about an artist named Petrocini, who Carter doesn't know about.
    Toni: Petrocini! Oh, certainly you've heard of Petrocini!
    Carter: No, but it sounds fattening.
  • Divorce in Reno: Discussed. The British judge in charge of Carter and Toni's divorce states that, due to Carter being American, it would be more viable to file "an American divorce, probably in Reno."
  • Driver of a Black Cab: Being in London, Carter and Toni eventually end up having to ride with these (and they always seem to pick the same ones). Surprisingly, they aren't as judgemental as usual examples (especially considering that Gossip Evolution led them to assume some outlandish things about Carter), although they are certainly very interested in following Carter and Toni's story (especially Carter's driver).
  • Facial Scruff: The beard worn by Harry Jones, Toni's Bohemian friend and rival for her husband Carter's affections, is used as a source of humor from his very first appearance in the movie, where Carter puts him down with the comment "I'll thank you to keep your food-stained beard out of my affairs AND my eggs!" At another point, the two men end up sharing a bed. Carter turns around and reaches for what he thinks is his wife's face, and realizes that it's actually Harry when he ends up stroking Harry's whiskers. Later, when Harry is blocking his way, Carter tells him: "Are you gonna move or do I have to shove that bush down your throat?"
  • Gossip Evolution: Carter asks his cab driver if he can use his radio to rely a message to Toni, and after a tip, he accepts. Problem is, all parts involved in relying the message (Carter's driver, the operator, and Toni's driver) treat it as a game of telephone, resulting in things such as him saying that he's a "completely changed man" and wanting to have a child being turned into him having a sex reassignment operation (not helped by Carter talking about having "a tricky operation in the Middle East," actually referring to a business deal there) and the example he gives about wanting to have coexistance regaring his and Toni's different ideologies ("Let's face it, I'm not in love with the Premier of the Soviet Union, but I do want to live with him.") gets turned into him "want[ing] to set up house with the Russian Prime Minister."
  • Gratuitous Italian: Toni tends to slip into Italian during her discussions with Carter. She in particular gives a long string of Italian during her first argument with Carter following their reunion.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Carter's friend Richard Bramwell tells Carter that their boss likes Happily Married men, to which Carter replies that he (Carter) has been perfectly happy as a still-legally-married-but-separated man. Richard's reaction? "No more gay married bachelor."note 
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Downplayed. While Carter is dining with an Arab Oil Sheikh and his entourage, he tells one of the Sheikh's men to tell him that the "fried grapes" are delicious. The man tells him that they are not, and while it isn't heard what he told him that they are since he said it on his ear, the man makes some cupping and chopping hand gestures, implying that they are animal testicles. Aside from a subdued Oh, Crap! expression, Carter otherwise seems to take it on stride, repeating that they are delicious.
  • Italians Talk with Hands: The longer the arguments between Carter and Toni, greater are the chances of Toni starting to talk with her hands.
  • Leitmotif: After Bramwell tells Carter that he "can be Yankee Doodle right in your town on a solid-gold pony," snippets of "Yankee Doodle" accompany the majority of Carter's scenes (made all the more important since he's an American in London). On the contrary, his main rival, the British Harry Jones, is given "Rule Britannia."
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator at the beginning of the film certainly has a particular way of explaining Carter and Toni's story and their conflict.
    Narrator: And when words failed, she resorted to pure Italian logic.
    [shows Toni throwing a pizza on Carter's face]
  • Male Gaze: When Carter and Toni meet again at the office of the judge in charge of their divorce, Carter has a glance of Toni's legs.
  • Meet Cute: Carter and Toni met when Toni absentmindedly swatted a paintbrush on his face while she was painting a protest mural.
  • Rambunctious Italian: Toni. It's not so much that she gets mad easily (she seems lovely most of the time), but when Carter manages to infuriate her during their discussions (which is a lot of the time), she's as hot-tempered and loud as you'd expect an Italian to be. The narrator at the beginning of the film snarks that her aim when throwing paint pots at Carter is better than her English.
  • Title Drop: When Bramwell is trying to convince Carter to keep his marriage for the sake of his (Carter's) job:
    Bramwell: Look Carter, politics makes strange bedfellows, why not big business?