Friday, February 17, 2017

"The Tender Trap": 1955 musical monument to heterosexism

Maybe few movies (at least musical comedies) from the 1950s demonstrate old fashioned “heterosexism” as the 1955 Cinemascope romp “The Tender Trap” directed by Charlie Waters, music by Jeff Alexander.

Frank Sinatra plays Charlie Reader, a 35-ish bachelor and theatrical agent in New York. The comic plot ensues when his friend Joe (David Wayne) visits from Indiana, when Joe wants to end his boring marriage to Ethel.   Charlie wants Sylvia (Celeste Holm), a classical violin player.  Joe wants her too.  In the mean time, Julie (the late Debbie Reynolds) a singer) would like Charlie to settle down, marry her, and let her become a stay-at-home mom.  I once experienced something like that with heterosexual dating around 1971.

Member the song, “Love is the Tender Trap.”  My own father used to say, “One day, blue eyes will confuse you.”  Now that might sound quasi-racist.  My first roommate at William and Mary was befuddled by my non-reaction to normal porn.  “You should be ….”   And then, having someone deped on me this way was supposed to trap me, and remain exciting.  It wasn’t.

I rather vaguely remember seeing this with mother and cousin, at a time when I was getting into movies.  I think Cinemascope had just come to the neighborhoods then.

Here's another, detailed take on this movie.

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