Leaving home, young Buddy Baker arrives unannounced at the luxurious Manhattan apartment of his older brother, Alan, a swinging girl chasing bachelor who prefers his carefree life to working in the family business. Pleased at his brother's show of independence, Alan introduces him to New York night life. Their father is unhappy at Alan's mentoring and the loss of an important account. Buddy is so successful that he soon takes over his brother's liquor cabinet and his girl friends. After giving up a woman who lives in the same building, Alan gets beaten by the husband of another conquest. Scared off, Alan alienates his favorite girl friend, Connie, staying away from all commitment. Hit by the futility of his life, Alan urges Buddy to end his swinging life style, but Buddy is having too good a time. After their argument jolts Alan proposes to Connie. Following their marriage, Alan helps their parents reconcile, works seriously in the family business and turns his bachelor pad over to ...Written by
If you look carefully at "Come Blow Your Horn" you will see it is a two set play that was expanded for this funny movie version. The two sets are the home of Mr. and Mrs. Baker and Buddy in Yonkers, and the apartment used by the older Baker boy Alan as his swinging singles pad. Most of the film is concentrated in those sets, except for scenes involving Alan taking Buddy under his wing to properly groom him, scenes with Barbara Rush outside the apartment (one briefly showing her apartment), and scenes involving Alan and the Eckmans (Dan Blocker and stiletto heeled Phyllis Maguire). Of the scenes outside the apartment, the two best are Alan's meeting with Mr. Eckman, and it's sequel at a restaurant, involving a raw steak and a bum (who turns out to look very familiar).
Simon is one of the leading American dramatists of the 20th-21st Century, certainly the most successful comic dramatist. Seeing "Come Blow Your Horn" you see certain themes appearing for the first time. The twisted relationship of the two brothers, who do love each other but find they get on each other's nerves (as Buddy slowly overtakes the older Alan as a hipster). It is similar to the relationship of the brothers in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Broadway Bound" (especially in he second play, where a real argument between the brothers breaks out). The question of relatives with sleazy or questionable activities like Alan's sexual escapades, comparable to the mobster brother in "Lost In Yonkers" or the embezzler, long-lost father in "Max Dugan Returns". The father losing the respect of his sons (found in the ranting Mr. Baker) is similar to the position of the father in "Broadway Bound", who has discovered his sons have reduced him to a comic stereotype in a sketch they sold a radio comedy show. The very fact that the Baker brothers become roommates who get on each other's nerves in an apartment is a constant thread in Simon's plays: "Barefoot In The Park (newliweds); "The Odd Couple" (and it's variation and sequel), "The Sunshine Boys" (in the rehearsal scene and in the conclusion where both Al and Willie seem headed for the old actor's home), even "Plaza Suite" (how three couples act together over the course of one year in a hotel suite). Simon is a master of building humorous tension out of trivialities. In "The Sunshine Boys" just setting up furniture to do a scene both vaudevillians can do in their sleep is frustrating as both see the furniture differently. In "Come Blow Your Horn", when Alan tells off buddy that his swinging lifestyle is going too far, he also mentions that he should keep his hands off Alan's fig newtons!
Despite the claustrophobia of the sets limitations "Come Blow Your Horn" is a funny movie, benefiting from the performances of Sinatra, Jill St. John, Lee J. Cobb (usually a master of straight drama, here quite funny), and the glorious Molly Picon. One wishes more of Dan Blocker could have been used, but what was used was quite effective. There is an odd moment in the latter part of the film, connected to a party that Buddy throws, and a hypnotized guest blaming Alan for failing to support an education bill. Alan does an imitation of President Kennedy to reassure the woman. No doubt Sinatra felt it was a good imitation.
It was meant to be funny, but now seems macabre.
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