Jean Negulesco’s Jessica is a trite, frivolous variation on the oft-exploited Lysistrata theme. Angie Dickinson enacts the title role of an anatomically-streamlined midwife from America who unwittingly tips the Freudian scale in a small Sicilian village just by sheer sex appeal.
As the screenplay from Flora Sandstrom’s novel, The Midwife of Pont Clery, has it, the misguided senoritas of the community Lysistrategically organize a sex strike. Objective: ‘no babies, no midwife.’ As any fool kin plainly see before the pic is a third unspooled, Jessica will fall for yon handsome widower Marquis, and strike will expire of natural causes.
It is no strain on Dickinson’s histrionic ability to wiggle through this role. Her proportions are tailored to its specifications, and that’s about all that’s required.
Maurice Chevalier breezes through the part of village priest with that familiar sunny countenance, and pauses occasionally to narrate or tackle one of several listenable, but undistinguished, ditties by Marguerite Monnet (music) and Dusty Negulesco (lyrics).