ISLAND OF LOVE —-innocuous comedy from 1963 is of passing interest for the three deft leading men, the pretty leading lady and the sunny location shooting in the then-unspoiled Greek island of Hydra.
Con man producer Robert Preston has boozy buddy Tony Randall write a flop about Adam & Eve. It stars the mistress of Greek-American gangster Walter Matthau, none too happy with the result. The two showmen run off with the bankroll, land on an idyllic spot in the Aegean and set up to make another killing there by turning it into a tourist destination. The mobster finds them.
The plot mixes elements of Singin’ In The Rain (the hood’s girlfriend, ‘Cha Cha Miller’, star of the Adam-Eve flop, can’t act), Randall’s hapless goof from the Day-Hudson flix and Preston’s fool’em fella from The Music Man. Derivative but harmless, overlong at 101 minutes. Easy on the eyes with the postcard backdrops and the charms of Giorgia Moll, another of the Italian beauties who flourished in Europe during the 50s and 60s.
Matthau hams it up (overmuch) pop-eyed and lisping, Preston is relaxed, Randall plays it for the lark it is. Betty Bruce as ‘Cha Cha’ has a few good moments. The director was Morton DaCosta, primarily a Broadway habitue who’d had two smash movie hits with Auntie Mame and The Music Man. Reuniting with Preston and moving the hi-jinks to Greece didn’t pan out with critics or audiences, and DaCosta stayed away from films after this an stuck to the stage.
Box-office came to $1,500,000. With Vassili Lambrinos, Michael Constantine, Titos Vandis and Peter Mamakos. The ripe color comes through the camera of Harry Stradling.