Come September (1961)
Come September is one of my very favorite movies set in Italy. It’s also one of the best of the spate of racy yet innocent “bedroom comedies” that came out in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, following in the wake of the super successful Pillow Talk in 1959.
In fact, for my money it’s the best one, with the exception of the three Doris Day and Rock Hudson did together. It’s so much fun. Rather than give a detailed recap of the plot, I’ll just mention some of the things I love most about Come September.
With his entrée into comedy in Pillow Talk, Hudson proved he could carry a movie not just as a handsome leading man, but as a very funny one, too. Here he plays a wealthy American industrialist who visits his Italian villa once a year, in September. That’s also when he visits his Italian girlfriend, to whom he won’t commit. When he decides to visit earlier in the year than usual, little does he know that his girl’s on the verge of marrying someone else and his major domo is running his home as a hotel – and pocketing the profits.
His response to all the craziness he encounters is fantastic. He’s especially good in his scenes with Bobby Darin, Sandra Dee and the other youngsters in the cast, amusingly illustrating the “generation gap” that was beginning to appear in the early ‘60s and would grow so wide by the end of the decade. Hudson was a great, subtle reactor and comedy straight man. Plus, he was soooo good looking!
No wonder she was one of the stars most associated with 1950s va-va-voom! What a gorgeous lady. She was also a very funny one in this movie, driving Rock Hudson crazy with her fiery temper, incredible curves, and sympathy for the teenagers suddenly overrunning his home. Call me crazy, but if forced to choose which Italian bombshell I like the most, I’d pick Gina over Sophia, based entirely on my love for her in Come September.
Oh, how I love sweet, spunky Sandra! I have such a soft spot for her movies, especially the romantic comedies. She’s cute as a button, with great comic timing. I hate that she’s mostly associated with the song from Grease, because there was a lot more to her than the virginal teenager she sometimes played. (See her as an adorably mischievous French-American minx in If a Man Answers, for instance.) I love the scene in which she uses her Psych 101 knowledge to play therapist to Rock Hudson, thinking he’s a shell-shocked former soldier. Hilarious!
What a multi-talented guy. In addition to starring in Come September, Darin also wrote the movie’s catchy theme song, which plays over the opening credits, and sings another song he wrote, “Multiplication.” Darin and Dee met and fell in love while filming in Italy and were married soon thereafter. They have great onscreen chemistry, which you can see more of in their other movies – the aforementioned If a Man Answers, as well as That Funny Feeling, both of which have a certain Junior-Rock-and-Doris feel to them.
A great supporting cast
The supporting cast includes Walter Slezak as Hudson’s sneaky major domo, Brenda De Banzie (best known to me as one of the kidnappers in Hitchcock’s 1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much) as the chaperone of Sandra Dee’s tour group, and a young Joel Grey as one of Bobby Darin’s troublemaking pals.
Pretty, pretty dresses
Everyone in Come September looks lovely! Sandra Dee and the other girls wear sweet sundresses, pretty formals, and kicky Capri pants. Gina Lollobrigida wears a series of gorgeous dresses and negligees that emphasize her every curve. The men look pretty nice too! I love that clean-cut, early-‘60s look so much. The clothes in classic films are a huge part of their appeal for me, and this is one of my favorite movies when it comes to fashion.
Pretty, pretty scenery
More than pretty, in fact. Shot on location in Rome, Milan and Portofino, Come September is a joy to look at. I swear, there must’ve been some special magic in Italy in the 1950s and ‘60s, because it looks absolutely enchanting in movies of that time. Maybe it’s the combination of gorgeous scenery with the (to me) more aesthetically pleasing clothes, hairdos and cars of the era. Maybe it’s the Technicolor. Whatever the case, it’s delightful to see!
Come September is the perfect lighthearted comedy to get you in the mood for Spring. It’s available on DVD and of course you should check it out. After all, any movie that features a scene like this one just has to be good!