Bachelor in Paradise (1961), starring Bob Hope, Lana Turner
I have to admit, I recently enjoyed Bachelor in Paradise on TCM, and found myself enjoying it very much. Bob Hope plays Adam J. Niles, author of a series of books detailing the romantic life of the bachelor in a variety of foreign locales. As the movie begins, he’s working on his latest volume in Italy. When he’s unexpectedly brought home, to deal with the issue of back taxes to the IRS.
His accountant has skipped out of the country with all of his money. This leaves him in debt for the last several years of taxes. And his publisher (played by character actor John McGiver) suggests a new volume, about life in the U.S.A. Since all of Adams’ money is tied up, his publisher has paid for a rental property in Paradise Cove, where his landlady (Lana Turner) is the only single resident. Every other woman is married, and raising young families.
There’s additional conflict as Lana Turner’s boss (Jim Hutton) is having marital trouble with his wife (Paula Prentiss). And he has eyes for Lana. While trying to figure out how to do things for himself (with a clothes washer scene that would feel at home in an episode of I Love Lucy), chasing Lana Turner, being chased by Paula Prentiss, and trying to show the ladies of Paradise Cove how to deal with their husbands, the quick quipped Hope has his hands full — a very enjoyable comedy.
Cast of Characters in Bachelor in Paradise
- Adam J. Niles (Bob Hope, The Princess and the Pirate) – dedicated bachelor and writer, who gets thrown into American suburbia
- Rosemary Howard (Lana Turner, Imitation of Life) – owns the house in Paradise Cove that she rents out to Adam. She also is a dedicated bachelorette — but her married boss has eyes on her anyway
- Thomas W. Jynson (Don Porter, Gidget) – the married boss, who’s somewhat of a hypocrite, who’s estranged from his wife:
- Dolores Jynson (Janis Paige, Silk Stockings) – not a bad person, but a woman who’s hurt, neglected, and wants to teach her husband a lesson — so he’ll come back to her
- Larry Delavane (Jim Hutton, The Green Berets) – the jealous husband, who wrongly thinks that Niles has designs on his wife:
- Linda Delavane (Paula Prentiss, The Stepford Wives) – the young wife and mother, who wants her husband to pay attention to her again
- Camille Quinlaw (Virginia Grey, Another Thin Man) – another wife in Niles’ class on how to keep their husband’s interest
- Judge Peterson (Agnes Moorehead, Bewitched, The Magnificent Ambersons) – the judge in the court case at the end of the movie, when Niles is sued by the husbands
- Mrs. Brown (Reta Shaw, Mary Poppins, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir) – character actress who plays her part as the neighborhood busybody very well
Editorial review of Bachelor in Paradise courtesy of Amazon.com
America was sprawling away from Main Street, transforming into a nation of bedroom communities within easy commute of the office. But what’s going on in those bedrooms? Bob Hope intends to find out when he plays a Bachelor in Paradise. Always quick with a quip, Hope portrays Arthur J. Niles, noted author of books that offer worldly advice while documenting the lifestyles and love life of various cultures. His newest study: Paradise Village, a rambling new suburb in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley. Lana Turner, in her only screen teaming with the comedy legend, portrays the stylish unmarried femme who works in the tract’s sales office. Ah, looks like Paradise may somehow lose a bachelor but gain a comedy.