Review: ‘Man’s Favorite Sport?’

The comically ripe premise from the story The Girl Who Almost Got Away by Pat Frank, is what happens when a celebrated but fraudulent piscatorial authority and fishing equipment salesman for Abercrombie & Fitch who doesn't know how to fish is suddenly ordered by his unaware boss to compete in a fishing tournament?

The comically ripe premise from the story The Girl Who Almost Got Away by Pat Frank, is what happens when a celebrated but fraudulent piscatorial authority and fishing equipment salesman for Abercrombie & Fitch who doesn’t know how to fish is suddenly ordered by his unaware boss to compete in a fishing tournament?

For a while, the adventures of this angler (Rock Hudson) romp along with a kind of breezy Field & Stream charm, bolstered by some inventive slapstick ideas, cleverly devised characters and occasionally sharp dialog. But then, poof, the fish story begins to sag under the weight of its bulky romantic midsection and lumbers along tediously and repetitiously to a long overdue conclusion.

Matters are helped along somewhat by an attractive and spirited cast, but not enough to keep the film consistently amusing.

Hawks purportedly utilized unorthodox directorial techniques, such as filming in sequence a day at a time in order to capture an air of comic spontaneity. Since some of the sight gag passages are uproarious, there is a lot to be said for this technique. But it appears that the main trouble with Hawks’ day-at-a-time approach to comedy is that there were too many days or not enough comedy or a combination of both.

Man's Favorite Sport?

Production

Universal. Director Howard Hawks; Producer Howard Hawks; Screenplay John Fenton Murray, Steve McNeil; Camera Russell Harlan; Editor Stuart Gilmore; Music Henry Mancini; Art Director Alexander Golitzen, Tambi Larsen

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1964. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Rock Hudson Paula Prentiss Maria Perschy John McGiver Charlene Holt Roscoe Karns

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