John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965) June 13, 2016 09:01
I've seen my share of horrible movies over the years, but it's rare to find one like John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!, a film filled with such a talented cast, yet manages to be such a horribly pieced together mess.
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! stars Shirley MacLaine and Richard Crenna as two people who find themselves stuck in Arabia forced to bend to the wild demands of a crazy and immature King. MacLaine plays Jenny Ericson, a reporter who volunteers to be placed into the King's harem for an opportunity to write a groundbreaking article on harem life. Her volunteering was based on the information that the King, now fairly old, didn't indulge in their presence but that the harem was simply for show. This turns out to be very untrue as Jenny quickly finds herself to be the object of the King's desire.
Richard Crenna is "Wrong Way" John Goldfarb, a former football player and coach supposedly turned pilot. Jenny Ericson was the one who coined the nickname "Wrong Way" when Goldfarb was in college and ran a touchdown to the opposing team's goal. Ever since then that nick name has been haunting him and he's had nothing but bad luck. Which begs the question why the CIA would entrust Goldfarb to pilot their secret U2 aircraft to spy on the Soviets? One of many things in this film that makes no sense. Living up to his nickname Goldfarb never makes it to Russia, he finds himself clear in the opposite direction and crash lands in the Arabian desert.
When King Fawz (two time Academy Award winner Peter Ustinov), learns Goldfarb was a former football coach he shanghais him into coaching Fawzia's football team, a team that was assembled after the King's son returned from Notre Dame with the bad news that he had not made the football team because he wasn't Irish. Outraged the King vowed to assemble his own team to challenge Notre Dame, if Goldfarb can coach them to victory he'll be allowed to go free, if not he will hand him over to the Russian's which will then expose the United States spying activity. Along the way Goldfarb helps to keep Jenny out the of the lustful arms of the King, overlooking her rough personality and forgiving her for ruining his life.
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! is a mess of a film and one of those occasions where words simply escape me, but honestly "mess" is the best word to describe it. It's hard to believe that the writer of this film, who would later go on to adapt The Exorcist, could pen such an off-the-wall, over-the-top and all-over-the-place comedy. The most ironic thing is I actually sat through the entire thing; even long after the brief appearance by Barbara Bouchet (the only reason I ventured to watch this in the first place). While the film goes every which way but good, the best and only compliment I can give it is at least it's not boring, if nothing else the sporadic nature of the film keeps you watching.
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! marks the second of three films in Barbara Bouchet's early career that star Shirley MacLaine. Having never seen one of MacLaine's films before (with the exception of Guarding Tess) I've quickly learned MacLaine isn't my cup of tea. To me she's a poor man's Lucille Ball, only campier and more annoying. Both actresses seemed to have solidified success based on comedy that surrounds a lot of yelling, screaming, and throwing tantrums; not my type of comedy and probably the reason why both this film and What a Way to Go! (which interestingly enough also has an exclamation mark in the title) are two of my least favorite early Bouchet films thus far.
As far a Barbara Bouchet's contribution to the film I was slightly disappointed that her first credited film role as one of the King's harem girls, Astrid Porche, was no longer than her previous un-credited role in Sex and the Single Girl. She has a short conversation with MacLaine's character and then is never seen again. Overall, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! is probably one of the most unorganized messes I've seen in a long time; it's amazing those behind this were able to get a cast of some relatively successful actors and actresses to participate, but I guess money matters more than pride in one's own career.