Classic Film Guide

Tender Trap, The (1955)

Because this comedy with music portrays the now dated male-female role viewpoints of the 1950's, it's a less than satisfying experience today; perhaps the best that can be said about it is that it features the Academy Award nominated Jimmy Van Heusen-Sammy Cahn title song. Frank Sinatra is too old to play the swinging bachelor that attracts the prematurely "set in her ways" and too young bachelorette wannabe married gal that Debbie Reynolds plays. There is never anything that can remotely be called chemistry exhibited between the two in this movie. Ironically, Sinatra would be even older when he played a similar role in a much better film, Come Blow Your Horn (1963). This was directed by Charles Walters (Lili (1953)); Julius Epstein's screenplay was based on the Max Shulman-Robert Paul Smith play. I've never been able to warm up to David Wayne nor the characters he plays, and his "Indiana married man experiencing a mid-life crisis that comes to visit childhood pal (Sinatra) in New York" in this one is no different. On the other hand, Celeste Holm was practically auditioning for the Liz Imbrie part (successful thirty-something career woman longing for marriage but second choice for Sinatra's character whom she adores) she would play in High Society (1956) the following year; she's terrific in both roles. Carolyn Jones, who plays Sinatra's dog walker, is the most notable other actor in the cast.

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