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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

'I'll Take Sweden' BD: Swinging 60s Bob Hope/Tuesday Weld Comedy

I'll Take Sweden [Blu-ray]
Olive Films jumps the gun one year in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love regarding two June 21, 2016 Blu-ray (BD) releases of swinging Euro-centric '60s comedies. The hilarious 1965 Bob Hope/Tuesday Weld film "I'll Take Sweden" is the topic for today. Thoughts regarding the 1969 Suzanne Pleshette classic "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" follow in a few days.

Veteran and rookie fans of good silly mid-60s comedies can expect a great time from a "Sweden"/"Belgium" double feature.

The crystal-clear BD picture and accompanying enhanced sound make this "Sweden" release a particular treat for those of us who used to watch it on a UHF station Sunday afternoon broadcast.

The awesome PG-13 '60s sitcom vibe of  "Sweden" is attributable to Weld starting her career as the semi-autobiographical Thalia Menninger on (the Unreal TV reviewed) "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," having legendary "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (and "My Three Sons") veteran Fred DeCordova direct, and classic screwball comedies scribe/"The Addams Family" producer Nat Perrin write the script.

Two of the many special aspects of "Sweden" are that it is more than just a vehicle for Hope to showcase his talent for one-liners and for Weld to be a sex kitten. This story of widowed  oil company executive Bob Holcomb volunteering for an undesirable job in the titular monarchy to move daughter JoJo 6,000 miles away to prevent her from marrying flake Kenny Klinger, played by Frankie Avalon, provides good fun.

"Sweden" opens with Bob returning to his upper-middle class (presumably Los Angeles area) house to find JoJo throwing a wild but clean-cut party in which the wildly dancing boys look to be more interested in each other than the girls with whom they are flailing their arms and gyrating their hips, For his part, Kenny is frantically dancing around with his guitar singing the first of a handful of Avalon tunes in the film.

The aforementioned songs include the titular tune. This one has Frankie putting his lingon berries and branch on display in tight and short swim trunks while rocking out on a dock. The following YouTube clip of that segment provides a glimpse of that performance.

The hilarity truly commences on Bob learning of the engagement between the naive JoJo and "retired drop-out" Kenny. This leads to even greater wackiness related to Bob visiting the trailer that he describes as being apt for diminutive artist Toulouse Lautrec in which Kenny and JoJo plan to live after getting married.

These early scenes show that Hope and Weld are well-paired. He makes a loving and patient father to her "Gidget" like daughter who wants to be good but also enjoys the wholesome youth scene of the mid-60s.

Bob subsequently breaking up the delusionally happy couple via the aforementioned job transfer essentially transfers JoJo from the frying pan into the fire by leading to a romance with the typically virile blond Swede wolf Erik. Erik conning JoJo rgearding the wisdom of tasting the milk before deciding whether to buy the cow is a highlight of the film.

For his part, Bob commences a romance with widower interior decorator Karin Granstedt. Screen veteran Dina Merrill has good on-screen chemistry with Hope in this role. The highlights of this coupling include a "sexy" misunderstanding related to "tickling the ivories" in a furniture store and Karin heroically standing by her man regarding an effort of Bob to stop Erik from getting his mojo started with JoJo.

This is another case in which they sadly don't make 'em like that anymore. The "Three's Company" style innuendo is much more clever and entertaining than gratuitous flashings of naughty bits and copious use of the seven dirty words that you used to not be able to say on television (or many movies).

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Sweden" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.