A spoiled socialite learns how to keep her husband from straying with the help of her witty French mother. While Chantal Stacy (Sandra Dee), a charming Bostonian co-ed, plays the field, her flighty French mother and strict American father sit at home twiddling their thumbs, waiting for her settle down and get married. However after giving into her father's pressuring, she comes home with three engagement rings. He explodes, and soon, the Bostonian blue-bloods are off to New York City, away from Chantal's suitors, none of whom she cared much about anyway. In fact, Chantal takes the move as a challenge to find herself, "One tall dark handsome witty rich single New Yorker." She doesn't think that is asking much of "such a fabulous city."
Click here to see the rest of this review
Soon, Chantal meets and falls in love at first slap across the cheek with Eugene Wright (Bobby Darin), who isn't particularly tall, dark, handsome or rich. Working as a freelance studio photographer, Eugene invites Chantal back to his apartment to model for him. She accepts, but when her father finds out all hell breaks loose. Eventually, however, Chantal, with the help of her clever mother, gets Eugene to marry her. Though Eugene will no longer let her model, Chantal enjoys dabbling in her passion - French cuisine - and creating a lovely home with her husband. Then one day, Chantal's old school chum, Tina (Stefanie Powers) arrives on the scene and offers to be Eugene's model. In an attempt to keep her jealousy in check, Chantal visits her mother, who gives her a book to help her with her problem: "How to Train Man's Best Friend" or in her mother's words, "How to House-Break Friend/Husband." Shocked at the suggestion, Chantal tries returning the book to her mother, but she will hear none of it. When Eugene finds out that Chantal has been training him like a dog from Tina, he is furious. The only left to do, according to Chantal's mother, is to create a false lover. Her mother promises that she will call Chantal and Eugene's home and "if a man answers," she'll hang up. Chantal loves the idea, and it works. Until one day, a man with the same name as the phony lover Chantal and her mother concocted shows up for dinner.
Chantal thinks she's going insane and calls her parents to come to her apartment. We learn that she is pregnant and her mother thinks this is the cause of her imagining such a crazy thing. After all, Eugene and the mysterious man are nowhere to be found. Eventually, we learn that the phony lover (Cesar Romero) is really Eugene's father and that he, his son and Chantal's father conspired to teach the women a lesson. All is forgiven, and it seems in the end the men have won. However, upon the last scene, the screen splits between Chantal's bedroom and her mother's bedroom. Their phones ring simultaneously. When their husbands answer, both phones both click dead. The end? We hardly think so.
Best part of story, including ending:
If a Man Answers is a lighthearted funny film about love and marriage that drops you right in the middle of early 1960s Manhattan. The director does a wonderful job with each scene and the actors work well together. If you're looking to watch a Sandra Dee/Bobby Darin film, this is a great choice.
Best scene in story:
Just after Chantal's mother gives her a book on how to train her pet, insisting that it will be the perfect solution to her marital problems, Chantal's father comes home. Chantal, already shocked at the notion that her mother would suggest such a book, imagines her father turning into a great dane and licking her mother's face as he greets her. She clears her head and backs out of the room, trying to leave the book behind. However, her mother reminds Chantal of the reason she asked for advice in the first place (fear of her husband's wandering eye), stating that she'd read the book and has her marriage well in hand. I find this scene hilarious because of Sandra Dee's wonderful comic timing and her mother's nonchalant attitude about offering such a ridiculous solution that in the film, actually seems to make sense. This film doesn't take itself too seriously yet realistically touches on issues that arise in relationships, like fear of losing the one you love.
Opinion about the main character:
Chantal stands up for herself and goes for what she wants. She loves her family and her husband equally and remains loyal to them throughout the film.