The Tender Trap


directed by: Charles Walters

Debbie movie #14 of 37

Oh boy Frank Sinatra! Meh. He was 40 when this movie came out and Debbie was 23.  Not cool MGM. Debbie plays Julie Gillis (not to be confused with Dobie Gillis, another Max Shulman written piece, but that’s another post).  Julie plays an up and coming theater actress, who is dead set on getting married and having babies.  She’s got a timeline.  Very 1950’s.  But then again, very 21st century.  Meanwhile Frank is an unabashed playboy theater agent, living in a gigantic NYC penthouse.  A real stretch on the acting chops Frank.  So these women are coming and going from the place all day, which becomes the running gag the entire movie.  His family-man best friend, Joe, from back home (Indianapolis) comes out to visit, sort of a Hall Pass (but that’s another post).  Joe (David Wayne) gets caught up in the lifestyle and falls for one of Frank’s ‘ho’s’ , who happens to be sophisticated and play Violin on NBC (brilliantly played by Celeste Holm).  So you (and I) might be wondering where Debbie…err. Julie fits into all this?  Well its pretty obvious if you’ve been reading thusfar.  Frank falls for Julie, but freaks out at the thought of commitment, so he jumps on Celeste Holm because she’s getting attached to Joe.  Hijinks ensue, and Frank and Julie end up together at the end (after a hiatus of a year where Joe goes back home, and Celeste Holm marries some dude she meets in an elevator).   However, all the warning signs are there that they’re not supposed to be together.  When there’s a dull moment between them, they both freeze up and constantly need to have excitement or it seems like they’re resenting each other.  It was better than Bundle of Joy, but not by much, and not because of Frank.

Underrated Actors: David Wayne as disillusioned Joe; Celeste Holm as Sylvia


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