Cactus Flower 1969
Directed By: Gene Saks
Genre: Comedy, Romance.
Toni Simmons is about to end her life when her neighbor Igor Sullivan smells gas and breaks into her window to save her life and end up kissing her while on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, her plan to commit suicide was triggered when her middle-aged boyfriend Julian Winston did not show up for dinner same night, Julian a Dentist claims to have wife and three kids, she fell for him not because he is married but because of the honesty she thought Julian possessed. Julian was so overwhelmed by Tony’s act he asked her to marry him and swear to divorce his “wife,” but Tony insists in meeting her to make sure that his wife is okay because she doesn’t want her to think that she is a home wrecker and with this, he asks Stephanie Dickinson’s aid his longtime assistant nurse to pose as his wife.
Ingrid Bergman– Stephanie Dickinson The Nurse Assistant, secretly in love with her employer, waters her cactus plant on her table, who makes all appointments for Dr. Winston, and makes Chicken and Egg salad Sandwich insists it’s his favorite.
Walter Matthau– Julian Winston The Dentist, Bachelor, pretends to have a wife and children to avoid being caught up in marriage or anything similar to it but head over heels in love with a 21-year-old woman Toni Simmons.
Goldie Hawn– Toni Simmons who hates lies, and believes that a man who lies cannot love. who is madly deeply in love with Dr. Winston and is willing to kill herself with gas suffocation from a second-hand stove because he stood her for dinner that night.
Rick Lenz- Igor Sullivan a writer lived next to Toni, they don’t know each other until he needed to save Toni when he smells gas inside her apartment, and since that night he snoops with Toni after they kissed while on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
This Movie was filmed in the late 60s when hippies became epidemically influencing women’s clothing style and fashion. Mini skirts, bell-bottom jeans, go-go boots, the crazy hairstyle that looks bigger than their faces because of too much hairspray, psychedelic music streaming on the radio, epileptic steps on the dancefloor that drives me crazy and I’ve seen all the beauty of that fashion on this Movie.
Comedy Films expects to have jokes that are suppose to be laughable if that line only gives you cringe then that is not an effective joke after all, but sometimes sarcasm is meant to be funnier than a joke, and that’s what makes this film so much fun to watch, as Ms. Dickinson being an old maid becomes so dry like her cactus, so was her dry jokes doing a favor for Dr. Winston for she’s been secretly in love with him ever since, making him chicken and egg salad sandwich, making appointments for him, takes care of everything for him, as what he said to Harvey Greenfield ” she is like a wife to me, during the day he takes care of me but at night she went home and I go to my girl (singular)”.
It was Ingrid Bergman, Walter Matthau, Goldie Hawn and Rick Lenz’s chemistry that made this material very effective to watch, their exchange of dialogues has a surprising strike of tone that hits like a note beautifully played in a piano, if a piece of good music played in piano can make your soul smile, in this movie their sarcastic dialogues can make you laugh with a need of wanting to hear that again cause you can’t get enough of it.
I watched this Movie so many times, and I would say this Movie was a gem, with two veteran stars in it, and a new young actress, it was just so wonderful to see how they can pull off a comedy film so gracefully like this, what a combination of great talent, music, fashion, and the funny expression on their faces that have made this film a real gem.
Funny Scene Images and Dialogues:
Toni Simmons preparing her death from Gas suffocation using a second-hand stove. And on her side table, a large picture of Julian looking so innocently at her.
Dr. Winston asks Ms. Dickinson to go out with him to have a drink.
Stephanie: “Are you asking me to go out?”
Julian: Why? is there somebody else in that closet?
Temporary wife scene
Julian: I have a feeling if I found myself in trouble I can count on you for help
Stephanie: But you know that’s true Doctor.
Julian: But sometimes a problem comes up that’s so difficult that ahhhh.
Stephanie: Why don’t you try me.
Julian: Ms. Dickinson you could do me a great service, you see I’m desperately in need of a wife.
Stephanie: Oh doctor
Julian: Oh please don’t misunderstand me.
Stephanie: I never expected
Julian: I need a wife temporarily 15 or 20 minutes.
Stephanie at Stereo Heaven looking for Toni Simmon
Toni: who’s going to tell the children?
Stephanie: The children?
Toni: It’s going to be tough explaining a horrible thing to three young children.
Stephanie: Three? we have to tell them, Three? well, I tell them Julian is no good at that sort of thing.
Toni: How will they take it?
Stephanie: They’ll get used to it, now I’ll be able to devote myself to them full-time. I’ve been busy helping Julian with his work, of course, he does have a nurse.
Toni: Yes, I heard about Miss Dickinson is marvelous.
Stephanie: she is.
Toni: One of those sterling old maids, probably madly in love with the boss.
Stephanie: did Julian tell you that?
Toni: No, not exactly, but one night when he worked late, I suddenly got jealous of Miss Dickinson.