What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… The Tender Trap (1955)

We’re back for more fun, and today’s movie is none other than the 1955 romantic comedy The Tender Trap, starring Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, David Wayne and Celeste Holm!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Bouncing Babies (1929)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1 (1929-1930) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 45 seconds)

Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) is sore because his baby brother is getting all the attention, and wants to send the baby “back to heaven.” While Wheezer’s complaints about being overlooked might run a little too long, this one was a fun short. Some memorable moments were Wheezer’s attempts to make pancakes using plaster ingredients, getting dressed with Petey’s help, and being chased by the rest of the gang in their Halloween costumes. The previous short was better overall, but this one was still fun, and I continue to look forward to watching more of the series!

And Now For The Main Feature…

New York-based theatrical agent Charlie Reader (Frank Sinatra) is given a surprise visit by his old childhood friend, Joe McCall (David Wayne). The married Joe confesses to Charlie that he is currently taking a “vacation” from his wife, and is shocked at the parade of women who come to visit Charlie, including his date for that night, violinist Sylvia Crewes (Celeste Holm). The next day, Charlie goes to see an audition for a new client of his, Julie Gillis (Debbie Reynolds). She gets the part, and he invites her to join Joe, Sylvia and himself for coffee. While there, she tells them all about her big plans to get married and raise a family (even though she hasn’t met the right man yet). Charlie, who is infatuated with her, invites her out for dinner, but she turns him down, as she doesn’t think he’s “husband material.” Her life plans cause trouble for Charlie, as she refuses to sign a run of the play contract (mainly because she has a set date she plans to get married, even though she is still single) and she also misses rehearsals once to go to a homemaking show as she tries to continue making her future plans (and Charlie has to chase her down). When Charlie sits in a chair for her at the homemaking show, and later, when he shows her a better way to sing her song in the play, she starts considering going out with him. In the process, Joe starts going out with Sylvia (since, in going out with Julie, Charlie stood Sylvia up for a date that first night). One night, Julie complains about the fact that they always do what Charlie wants, and never what she wants to do. When he calls her bluff and asks her what she wants to do, she decides to go along with what he had previously planned. Later that evening, when he learns that her folks aren’t home, he decides to take her there for some privacy. Julie tries to resist his charms, but slowly starts to give in to him. She stops only when she finds a bulge in his pocket. No, it’s not what you think (so get your mind out of the gutter!), as what she finds is a stack of messages from all his girlfriends that he had hastily picked up (when she arrived at his apartment earlier to pick him up). Furious, she demands he give up all his other girlfriends, since she feels that he is the one she wants to marry. When Charlie states his lack of interest in getting married, Julie kicks him out. Returning to his own apartment, Charlie tries to ask some of his other girlfriends out, but they all turn him down, stating that they are going out with somebody else. An amused Joe is happy to see Charlie getting his comeuppance, and tells him off for how he has treated Sylvia. Later, when Sylvia comes by, Charlie shocks everybody by proposing to her (and she says yes). While there is a feeling of impending disaster in the room, Charlie decides to celebrate their engagement by throwing a party for their friends. While everybody else goes to get some supplies for the party, Charlie, realizing his mistake, tries to go see Julie and apologize. He doesn’t have to go far, as she quickly shows up in a cab, and the two of them make up (and decide to get married). When Charlie sees some of his friends coming, he sends Julie home (under the pretext of her having early rehearsals the next day) and joins his friends at the party. The next morning is filled with hangovers and a messy apartment to be cleaned. What’s worse, both Julie and Sylvia show up and learn about each other’s “engagement” to Charlie. This results in Julie leaving Charlie, and Sylvia deciding not to “settle” for Charlie. With Joe now planning to return home to his wife and family, Charlie finds himself alone. Can he repair his relationship with Julie, or is he going to stay alone?

Around the time he made the film musical On The Town for MGM, Frank’s career was on a downturn. His next two films after On The Town were both made for different studios, and both failed to make a mark at the box office. Then, he got himself into From Here To Eternity, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and reviving his film career. After continuing to make a few big films for other studios, Frank returned to MGM for the first time in six years to make The Tender Trap. This movie (which was based on a 1954 play of the same name by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith) provided him with the Oscar-nominated song “(Love Is) The Tender Trap,” which would become one of his big hits.

I’ve had the opportunity to see this film several times, and it’s one I’ve enjoyed every time that I’ve seen it. Given his past popularity with the likes of the bobbysoxers, Frank (as Charlie) being a ladies’ man is certainly a fitting role, and he handles it quite well. Debbie Reynolds’ character isn’t exactly a wonderful person, not with her plans being set in stone and only needing to find a man to make them “complete,” but she handles the limitations of the role as well as one could hope. David Wayne is fun as Charlie’s buddy Joe, who is a little more grounded and realizes what Charlie’s womanizing is doing to the gals he is going with. It’s hard not to be amused along with him when Charlie’s “relationships” come crashing down around him. As Sylvia, Celeste Holm certainly gains our sympathies, as she feels herself getting too old to be noticed by anybody, which is why she’s going with Charlie, and yet, Joe helps her realize her own worth. This is not necessarily the best movie ever made, but it provides a nice, enjoyable diversion every now and then. I know I get a few good laughs out of it, and the title tune is indeed a fun song! I would say that this one is worth recommending for some simple fun!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray uses an HD Master sourced from a 4k scan of the original camera negative. As usual for Warner Archive releases, this movie looks quite good, with the colors looking right, and the detail showing up well. The picture has been cleaned up of all dirt and debris, and, as usual, this is the best way to see this movie!

Film Length: 1 hour, 51 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Guys And Dolls (1955)Frank SinatraHigh Society (1956)

Hit The Deck (1955) – Debbie Reynolds – Tammy And The Bachelor (1957)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.