• U.S.

Cinema: Rock & Reel

2 minute read

Man’s Favorite Sport? tries to capture the spirit of madcap comedy but turns out to be mostly old hat. As an ace sporting-goods salesman at the San Francisco emporium of Abercrombie & Fitch, Rock Hudson plays the kind of city-bred softie who can’t bear to eat a fish, much less catch one. But when Publicist Paula Prentiss proposes that he represent Abercrombie’s in the Lake Wakapoogee fishing tournament, it’s either go to Wakapoogee or lose the job. Braving the enameled wilderness devised by Producer-Director Howard Hawks, Rock soon finds himself up to his creel in wine, women and Walton.

Naturally, he catches the biggest trout, and Paula lands the biggest catch.

Actress Prentiss is an offbeat comedienne who sometimes spoils her flibbertigibbet appeal by straining for laughs that just aren’t there. Maria Perschy, a German import who resembles Romy Schneider, plays Paula’s roommate, which gives her a chance to carry messages back and forth and practice her English. The movie’s chief support lies in a wagonload of outdoor gear supposedly borrowed from Abercrombie & Fitch. Of note to sportsmen is a pair of inflatable waders—step into a drop-off and the pants fill with air, quickly ballooning so big that they flip the occupant over in the water, head down. If a man can’t get hold of a good line, he’s in trouble. So is a comedy, for that matter, and this one steadfastly ignores the Sporting Fisherman’s First Rule: if they don’t measure up, put ’em back.

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