The start of this film reminded me of the lady who sold bird seed in "Mary Poppins" - the down-at-heel but kind hearted "Annie" (Bette Davis) who scrapes a living together thanks largely to the generosity of local gangster "Dude" (Glenn Ford). What nobody else knows, however, is that she secretly has a daughter living in Spain who thinks her mother is wealthy, living in a suite at a fancy hotel. When "Louise" (Ann-Margret) writes to say that she will soon visit with her fiancée - A Spanish aristocrat; this throws quite a spanner in the works for "Annie". Luckily, "Dude" is determined to rope in his contacts to try to help her impersonate the grand role she has represented herself as having - despite trying to get a the biggest deal of his own over the line. This causes no end of chagrin for the undoubted star of the picture - Peter Falk. He is the right hand man who gradually watches the planning and organising of this charade subsume everything else, and it's slowly driving him nuts. To be honest, the central portion of this comedy also drove me a bit nuts too. It borders too closely on the farcical, with Ford trying far too hard and seeing only fleeting appearances from the increasingly sidelined Davis. It steadies itself better for the last twenty minutes or so, but is really just too long with the joke too thinly spread and the slapstick humour all a bit too in-your-face for me. The writing is generally good, though, with some fine quips - especially from Falk, and the film looks great whilst taking a gentle swing at the political class as they all flock to the side of this minor Count from Spain. I did quite enjoy it, but sadly it isn't one of Frank Capra's more focussed efforts, nor is it one of his more poignant or amusing stories.
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