Cash McCall (1960)
For the first 18 minutes of this WB romantic comedy we have a title character that everyone seems to think is a shrewd cutthroat businessman. Upon meeting our leading man played by handsome James Garner there just might be more here than the cold blooded business suit that E. G. Marshall, Henry Jones and Roland Winters would have us think.
Natalie Wood stars as the daughter of company owner Dean Jagger who thinks it’s time to sell his business to Garner and retire to a life of ease all the while hoping his daughter Natalie will find a suitable man to settle down with. Little does he know that she pines for a man she met the previous year. What are the chance’s that he and Garner are one and the same? Pretty good I’d say and when Garner shows up to buy Jagger’s company the romance begins to flourish once again till we encounter the usual obstacles in this genre. Wanna be girlfriends and shady dealings do there best to keep our beautiful couple apart so it’s down to Garner and Jagger figuring out how to solve their business issues before Wood and Garner can pick up where they left off.
What we have here is a film that plays like a Rock-Doris film but not quite on the same level despite our leading players doing there best. The cast is first rate and it’s easy to see why James Garner has had such a long and popular career on both television as well as the big screen. Natalie Wood is beautiful and displayed such an innocence on screen during this part of her career. As for a lengthy list of supporting actors look no further than Academy Award winner Dean Jagger for a gifted actor who makes every film he is in that much better. The above mentioned Marshall, Jones and Winters along with Edward Platt and someone who I have come to appreciate over the years due to his work on both television and film, Dabbs Greer. You may know him as the Reverend Alden on Little House. The one part of the film that rings hollow is a plot point with Nina Foch trying to push her way into Garner’s life and the script as well. Too bad as the rest of the film from director Joseph Pevney plays fine.
Lastly if you have seen Norman Jewison’s film Other People’s Money, it is very similar. Both films use the same basic ideas for a romantic comedy. Elder statesman Gregory Peck takes over the Jagger role and Penelope Ann Miller subs for Natalie Wood and though it might be hard to fathom we get Danny DeVito in the James Garner role. So check out Cash McCall if you like the people involved as they make up for the minor plot issues for a passable viewing.