Classic Film Review -Bachelor in Paradise (1961)


Thanks to a thieving accountant, the formerly wealthy and famous lifestyle author A.J. Niles (Bob Hope) is forced to hide out in a planned community neighborhood in California. He must use his time hiding incognito to write a new book so that he can use the royalties to pay back the government.

Of course, being a ladies man, he is instantly attracted to Rosemary Howard (Lana Turner), co-manager of the community named Paradise Village. She also happens to own the home he is sub-leasing.

The newly minted Jack Adams is out of his depths in this family friendly neighborhood. Not to mention, as a bachelor he has no skills in housekeeping or cooking now that he must fend for himself. But it isn’t too long before he is coaching all the local wives how to maintain their husband’s attention. Initially Rosemary is suspicious of his interest in her, but she gradually warms up to him as does the wife of the other co-manager of the community.

The husbands of Paradise Village are another matter. When “Jack’s” coaching disrupts their lives they take it upon themselves to get him evicted. And all the while A.J./Jack just wants to be left in peace to finish his book, so he can get back to his regular high-flying lifestyle.


Lana Turner and Bob Hope

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed over Bachelor in Paradise when it appeared on the cable schedule. Though I enjoy Lana Turner, I am not a Bob Hope fan. This and a few other silly reasons, kept me from giving this film a chance.

I’m glad I did. I can’t say I loved it, but I did find it entertaining and fun. One of the reviews I read praised the very colorful 1960’s style in both the home decor and the ladies wardrobe. And they were right. That is part of what makes Bachelor in Paradise so enjoyable, it’s like an effervescent little time capsule.

Since I was born much later, I really enjoyed seeing the onscreen version of a sixties suburbia. It’s fascinating to see not only how much trends have changed, but also technology. I was also shocked by the grocery store pricing. Can you imagine buying canned goods for under a dime?

The desperate housewife

Lana Turner is a more mature, sophisticated version of herself, so that is another win in my column for this film. And I actually didn’t find Bob Hope as annoying as I usually do. I also loved seeing sixties film couple Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss playing young marrieds. They have a great chemistry together. But the standout performance must go to Janis Paige as the desperate housewife who blatantly hits on A.J./Jack.

Bachelor in Paradise┬áis never going to be a highly regarded film. And even though I love romantic comedies, this one will never be on my favorites list. But with it’s balanced blend of humor, color and sixties “look” it will definitely be one I will watch again.

Watch: Rent from Amazon

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