“I’ve never seen a woman so determined to have a baby.”
While on board a cruise ship, a woman (Jayne Mansfield) desperate to have a baby mistakenly believes that her secretly sterile husband (Tommy Noonan) has finally made her pregnant; after a drunken night of revelry with their married cabinmates (Mickey Hargitay and Marie McDonald), Noonan learns that his wife IS pregnant — but not by him!
This infamous Jayne Mansfield vehicle holds a “special” place in cinematic history for its groundbreaking display of Mansfield’s “two best assets” in all their naked glory; unfortunately, the film itself — purportedly a light-hearted sex comedy — is a tedious, unfunny bore. As noted in Stuart Galbraith’s DVD Talk review (see link below), Promises! Promises! is “fascinating as film history and from a pop culture perspective but downright grueling as entertainment”. Surprisingly, Mansfield’s bosom is bared within the first few minutes of the film, leaving nothing for male admirers to wait anxiously for; director King Donovan (this was his only movie — thank goodness!) then flashes the same shots over and over again during “flashbacks”, but the effect is clearly strained.
For what it’s worth, the central premise of the film — Mansfield’s desperate desire to get pregnant, and the mix-up that ensues post-drunken hijinks — makes no sense either logically (Noonan’s character contracted the mumps while in the military, which would lead to sterility, NOT impotence — yet the entire film revolves around a doctor [Fritz Feld] trying to treat Noonan’s psychological insecurity) or scientifically (there is a certain cycle a woman’s body undergoes throughout the month, with only a small window of time available for conception — not that movies ever bother with this insignificant detail when it comes to on-screen pregnancies…). The only mildly amusing — and somewhat astonishing — aspect of the film is the inclusion of drag star T.C. Jones as an obviously gay male hairdresser aboard the cruise ship; he seems to be having fun with it all, particularly during a strange baby shower sequence when he dons a series of wigs and imitates, among others, Jayne Mansfield herself.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- T.C. Jones as “Babette”, the ship’s indubitably gay hairdresser
No, but it’s worth a look simply for its historical notoriety.