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The Facts of Life

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The Facts of Life (1960) starring Lucille Ball, Bob Hope
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The Facts of Life (1960) starring Lucille BallBob Hope

The Facts of Life is a 1960 comedy starring Lucille Ball and Bob Hope, dealing with a very serious subject: adultery. The movie begins with Lucille Ball and Bob Hope arriving at a foreign hotel kissing, and with Lucille Ball asking the question how she, a normal housewife, got involved with another man?  The movie is then told in flashback as she details how she came to be in this position.

Antagonistic at first

Every year, three married couples share expenses and go for a week-long vacation in Acapulco.  Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball‘s character) and her husband, Jack (who has a gambling problem); Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope‘s character) and his wife Mary (a penny-pinching woman who withholds her affection), and Doc Mason and his wife, Connie.  This year, however, Jack has a work emergency, and Mary stays home to take care of a sick child. And once in Acapulco, Doc and his wife both take ill, throwing Lucy Ball’s and Bob Hope’s characters together.

To this point in the movie, they aren’t even friendly towards each other. However, while fishing on a boat together, they discover that they both graduated from the same high school, even having had the same home room teacher.  Kitty gets a strike on her fishing line by a large swordfish, and over the next few hours they fight with the fish, continuing to bond, culminating with their capture of the 150-pound fish€”and an unexpected kiss.

Mutual attraction

One thing leads to another, and with nothing else to do while in Acapulco, they begin spending time together … and falling in love with each other.  Nothing physically happens while they’re in Acapulco beyond a kiss, and soon their week is over and they’re back to their normal lives.  Where they keep getting thrown together, such as at the blood bank, social functions, etc.  Their emotions continue to build, and they conspire to find a way to spend time together.

This is where much of the situational comedy in the movie comes into play, as each attempt to get together becomes a comedy of errors, from trying to go to a drive-thru movie get together to ‘talk’ to a very uncomfortable attempt to go to a motel, ending with a decision that they need to leave town in order to have some quiet time together … and that’s where reality really rears its ugly head.

Reality comes calling

Driving to a cabin loaned to them by a friend of Larry’s, their individual character flaws start to get on each other’s nerves. When Kitty informs Larry that she’s left her husband a note informing him that she’s leaving him for Larry, and Larry realizes the cost of divorcing his wife in order to be with Kitty …  Not only the financial costs, but that his ex-wife will likely have custody of his children. And he truly loves his children.  They wake up to the unreality of their plan, and the final half hour of the movie deals with their trying to get Kitty home before her husband returns and reads the note that she’s left for him.

The complications of trying to hide what’s been going on from mutual friends that they meet in the airport add to the humor, but Kitty makes in onto her flight … only to find that her husband is already home.  “I left you a note.  Where is it?” “In my pocket.” “Have your read it?” “Not yet,” her husband Jack tells her.  Relieved, she asks him to burn it in their fireplace, unread.  When she leaves the room, he takes the opened message and burns it.

The movie ends at a New Years Eve party, where the three couples are thrust back together, with the Wheelers and the Gilberts having reconciled, and Kitty and Larry think about what could have been … and appreciating what they have.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Facts of Life, and I recommend it.

Funny movie quotes from The Facts of Life starring Lucille Ball and Bob Hope

Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball): Am I really doing this? Me, Kitty Weaver? Secretary to the PTA? Den mother to the Cub Scouts? Am I really going to San Francisco to spend the weekend … with the husband of my best friend?

Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope): …and she said, “That’s not a new stance …”
Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball): That’s a new husband.

Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope): [Kitty yawns during Larry’s routine] Madam, your Vodka gimlets are showing. Vodka, that’s an alcohol rub from the inside.

Singer on the Radio: [Kitty is nervously waiting for Larry. She switches on the radio] This is my first affair, so please be kind …

[Kitty quickly shuts off the radio]

Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope): Are you sure you’re with the right woman?
Man in Motel Room: No buddy, I’m with the wrong woman, but I’ve been with her for 30 years.

Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball): Can’t sleep.
Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope): Me either.
Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball): I’m starved.
Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope): Me too.
Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball): What’s your opinion of eating late at night?
Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope): Suicide.
Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball): Ever do it?
Larry Gilbert (Bob Hope): Only late at night.

Kitty Weaver (Lucille Ball): [after Larry criticizes her for buying a rabbit instead of a chicken at the grocery store] IT WAS LYING DOWN!

Editor’s note: Updated March 17, 2022

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