Phffft – 1954 – English
Synopsis: After eight years of marriage, Robert Tracey (Jack Lemmon) and Nina (Judy Hollyday) decide to divorce. He befriends Charlie Nelson (Jack Carson), a womanizing sailor, while she, advised by her nosy mother, begins to hang out with other friends.
Review: One reason Judy Holliday fans (of which I am one) are so fervent in their love for the comedienne is that she had mastered timing. In comedy, timing is everything.
Phffft! is an excellent vehicle for Judy to work her magic. The story is pedestrian and the one-liners range from cute to tired. But, in Holliday’s capable hands the material takes on new life. Watch her delivery, her pauses, her expressions. All pitch-perfect.
Jack Lemmon is fantastic as well. In this and “It Should Happen To You” he and Judy display a great on-screen comic chemistry. They play off each other very well. Lemmon handles his own scenes in his classic style as well. He was truly a joy to watch.
The film also benefits from excellent support by Jack Carson as Lemmon’s best friend/bad influence. Kim Novak makes, I believe, her first major appearance in this movie and does well. She’s not as polished as she will later be but her appeal is still quite evident.
For me, the movie gets better with repeated viewings. Always a good sign. The mambo scene between Judy and Jack alone is worth the price of admission! Ole!