Review of The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom from Monthly Film Bulletin, January 1969, p. 8
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom
Great Britain, 1968
Director: Joseph McGrath
Cert: A. dist: Paramount. p.c.: Paramount. p: Josef Shafter. p. sup: Fred Slark. assistant d: David Besgrove. sc: Alec Coppel, Denis Norden. Based on the play by Alec Coppel. story: Joseph Shafter. ph: Geoffrey Unsworth. col: Technicolor. ed: Ralph Sheldon. production designer: Assheton Gorton. a.d.: George Lack, Bill Alexander. m/m.d: Riz ortolani. songs: Riz Ortolani, Norman Newell, Geoffrey Stephens: "I Think I'm Beginning to Fall in Love" sung by the New Vaudeville Band, "The Way That I Live" sung by Jack Jones. cost: Jocelyn Rickards. sd: David Hawkins. sd. rec.: Laurie Clarkson. sp. sd. effects: Richard Parker. l/p.: Shirley MacLaine (Harriet Blossom), Richard Attenborough (Robert Blossom), James Booth (Ambrose Tuttle), Freddie Jones (Detective Sergeant Dylan), William Rushton (Dylan's Assistant), Bob Monkhouse (Dr. Taylor), Patricia Routledge (Miss Reece), John Bluthal (Judge), Harry Towb (Doctor), Barry Humphries (Art Dealer), Clive Dunn, Julian Chagrin, Sandra Caron, Sheila Staefel, Frank Thornton, John Cleese, Geraldine Sherman. 8,392 ft. 93 mins.
When her sewing machine breaks down, Harriet Blossom phones her husband, Robert, an overworked brassiere manufacturer, who sends mechanic Ambrose Tuttle from his factory to repair it. Harriet's maternal instincts are awakened by Ambrose's accounts of his orphaned childhood; their mutual sympathy swiftly turns to passion and after tea they make love in the attic, where Ambrose decides to stay. Ambrose's do-it-yourself studies soon enable him to transform the attic into an elegant penthouse, and Harriet happily divides her time between resident lover and devoted but eccentric husband. But her happiness is threatened by the persistent visits of Dylan of the Yard--who is investigating Tuttle's disappearance--and by Robert's deteriorating nerves, which lead him to consult fashionable psychiatrist Dr. Taylor. Saved from collapse and bankruptcy by the tips which Ambrose passes on to Harriet as a result of his teach-yourself-banking course, Robert expands his financial empire, sells his house and sets off with Harriet on a world tour intended to culminate in his presenting an inflatable brassiere to the underdeveloped nations in the cause of world peace. To prevent the Blossoms settling in an attic-less house in Geneva, Ambrose sabotages the international brassiere convention, and a dispirited Robert returns to England and buys back his house. But Ambrose's scheme is thwarted when Dylan accuses Harriet of his murder. The resulting confessions lead Robert to divorce Harriet and give Ambrose his business as a wedding present. And while overworked Ambrose is at this factory, Harriet Tuttle spends the days with her resident lover, Robert Blossom, happily installed in the cellar.
The smutty humour of the script--Mr. Blossom, whose supposedly endearing hobby is conducting the great orchestras of the world on his tape-recorder, is introduced as "the Orpheus of the undie world"--finds its match in the consummate vulgarity of Joseph McGrath's direction. Though both the fantasy inserts (with heir allusions to the screen's great lovers) and the gaudy stylistic mixture of Assheton Gorton's designs pay devious tribute to a rich past heritage, this remains as sadly undigested as the Pinterish element in the plot. And only Freddie Jones as an outrageously effeminate detective induces anything like amusement.
[Webmistress's note: The "III" after the review is Monthly Film Bulletin's rating for the film: "Poor."]