Tuesday, April 28, 2009


One of the greatest swingers of our generation is about to get married," we're told at the outset of the crack-brained 1963 classic WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED? And, indeed, trying to get studly bachelor Dean Martin to the altar comprises the film's entire plot. What's so difficult about this enterprise? Well, Martin is the star of a hit medical series on TV, and women everywhere -- especially married women -- constantly seek him out for his bedside manner. He longs to shed his wanton ways by wedding Elizabeth Montgomery, but the sex-starved wives of his closest male pals have other plans for him. When psychiatrist Martin Balsam tells his better half that he'd rather play poker with Martin and the boys than stay home with her ("I listen to my patients all day long. At night I like to listen to the sound of chips. That's therapy for me"), the hot-to-trot missus fumes, "Maybe I'll find myself a little therapy one of these nights -- about six feet of therapy!" We think six inches might do. In the home of fellow poker pal Louis Nye, wife Jill St. John rages that she wants to be taken out dancing, to which Nye replies, "Nothing's changed. You're still the same pom-pom girl from the class of '58." Whereupon St. John thrusts her formidable chest out so far you'll probably jump back from your TV screen, and snaps, "You didn't object to my pom-poms then!"

Some of the wives in question are more daring. Elliot Reed's mate, a French souffle played by Macha Meril, turns up at Martin's pad proffering homemade quiche lorraine. When Martin resists her temptation, she leers, "Wait till you taste my cherries Jubilee!" Next poker night, St. John shows up, hungry for love. Martin explains the convenient presence of his nosy houseboy by telling her, "He's in need of psychiatric help." To which St. John responds, "Aren't we all?" and promptly goes into a striptease samba to demonstrate that she is, anyway.

Nerves shattered by the unnatural strain of fighting off his pals' wives, Martin starts popping pills and tells Montgomery he wants to postpone the wedding date. She promptly runs for advice to friend Carol Burnett, who happens to be Dr. Balsam's receptionist and thus something of an amateur analyst herself. "It's an anxiety complex and psychosis known in the trade as prenuptial dropsy," Burnett explains. Then, offering the kind of useful advice you could still get from psychiatrists in the '60s, she adds, "He's got something real wild going for him on the outside. You gotta discover some way to fight it. The first thing you have to do is find out who the competition is, what they're selling, how they package it, and then hit the consumer with everything you've got."

Martin decides it's time to seek professional help from pal Balsam. In another example of how effective psychiatric care used to be, Balsam injects Martin with truth serum. Under the influence, Martin reveals that Balsam's wife has been hitting on him--which may explain why shrinks no longer use truth serum in everyday therapy -- then comes to the realization that he truly wants to be single. "I'll have the craziest harem in town," he declares.

"He'll never marry," Balsam later confides to Burnett. "It's a psychological truism that once a man gets hepped on married women, he can't kick it -- it's like a monkey on his back." The ever-helpful Burnett rushes to tell Montgomery the news: "He has a 20th century neurosis. The only way you can possibly get him interested in you again is if you're a married woman." Then, uttering a line of such screenwriting eloquence we don't know how it escaped Academy notice, she adds, "Unless the ground is broken, this boy ain't gonna build."

With the help of a male model, Montgomery fakes a wedding, at which a drunk Martin says to Burnett: "I love her, but I'm not sticking to one girl. My life's gonna be one big old happy smorgasbord." Burnett's reply? "If you ever need a piece of herring, you know where to find me."
Now that Montgomery appears to be yet another unfulfilled housewife, Martin wants her like never before. In fact, he wants to marry her. Off they go to Tijuana where (don't ask) Burnett becomes a stripper--a sight so scary it wouldn't be topped until the release of Showgirls three decades later. Though Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? is not yet available on video, we found it on TCM. Ask your psychiatrist's wife where you can find a copy.

1 comment:

  1. I've just installed iStripper, so I can watch the best virtual strippers on my desktop.


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