Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Fly Girls

With the great success of the AMC produced television series MAD MEN the early swinging 60's   are back in vogue. As the saying goes, "Everything old is new again." Clothing retailer Banana Republic created a limited edition MAD MEN clothing line for men and women. For the last couple of years Michael Buble has been topping the charts with his brand of smooth swinging' vocals that are clearly inspired by Frank (Sinatra), Dean (Martin) and Sammy (Davis, Jr.).

In the wake of all of this two television series premiered in September clearly riding the wave of the trend, NBC's The Playboy Club (which suffered a quick cancellation) and ABC's Pan Am.

I'm hooked on Pan Am as it perfectly captures the sights, sounds, style and mores of that long by gone era and it bears more than a passing resemblance to one of my favorite Pamela Tiffin films, Come Fly With Me.

Come Fly With Me, based on Bernard Glemser's 1960 novel Girl On A Wing (re-published as The Fly Girls) is the story of three airline stewardesses who live a high flying, jet set lifestyle looking for love in the friendly skies. The film was released by MGM in 1963 and stars Dolores Hart, in her last feature film role playing against type as the sarcastic, gold digging "Donna Stuart" who falls for a man (Karl Boehm) who at first seems to be a rich millionaire . Lois Nettleton plays "Hilda 'Bergie' Bergstrom" the level headed of the three who garners the attention of a lonely businessman played by Karl Malden and Pamela is delightful comic relief as the slightly ditzy "Carol Brewster" who falls for and straightens out philandering playboy Hugh O'Brian.

Pamela, Dolores and Lois play very nicely off and compliment each other. It's a very light- hearted, romantic comedy that doesn't take itself too seriously and whose main goal is to entertain and on that level it succeeds. It's easy to get lost in all the beautiful on location cinematography as well as the beauty of the three leads. It's the perfect lazy Sunday movie and a classic among the "three (or four) girls on the make" films that also include, Three Coins In The Fountain, The Best of Everything, Where The Boys Are, How To Marry A Millionaire and Pamela's 1964 outing The Pleasure Seekers.

The classic Sammy Cahn-James Van Heusen penned hit, Come Fly With Me, first popularized by Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra is sung over the opening titles by teen heart-throb Frankie Avalon. The theme was released as a promotion only single and has to my knowledge never been re-released on any of Avalon's hit anthologies.

The film has never been released on any home video format, but there is a strong chance it may make it onto Warner Bros. Warner Archive Collection series of MOD films as the rights are currently owned by them. It does however air from time to time on Turner Classic Movies.

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