Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
Story of a Genie That Time Passed By
Cleveland Press April 17, 1964
"The Brass Bottle" is not a bad-little movie. For that is what it is -- a little movie, well-made but rather unpretentious.
This diverting item is modern Aladdin-and-his-lamp story which sets out to prove that making all your wishes come true can lead to explosive results.
A young architect (Tony Randall) arrives home with an antique brass bottle he picked up at an auction. He forces it open and, in a puff of green smoke, out comes Burl Ives.
IVES IS A GENIE who has been imprisoned in the bottle for 3000 years. His eagerness to do everything he can for his benefactor only complicates the young man's life.
It takes some doing to convince the genie that times have changed, that you just don't go around destroying people who annoy you.
During the film's best moments some of modern society's foibles are examined spoofingly as the ancient genie attempts a few tricks that would have been perfectly acceptable in another time and place.
He offers to assure the young man's business future by offering him a complete housing development he can sell. All it takes is a wave of the hand.
It can't be done, points out Randall.
"YOU SEE, FIRST OF ALL you need a building permit. Then the place has to be inspected and you have to have union labor...."
Solid gold bars are out of the question. They're illegal. A chest full of paper money? Sorry, there's a law against counterfeiting.
The humor gets heavy-handed when Ives turns Randall's apartment into something resembling the inside of a sultan's palace just as he's about to entertain his future in-laws.
The movie ends with a nice little moral, that "what we attain too easily we esteem too lightly."
Performances throughout are well-done. Barbara Eden is attractive and decorative as Randall's girl friend and Edward Andrews makes the most of his comic moments as her disapproving father.
KAMALA DEVI AND LULU PORTER are visually diverting as harem beauties.
Randall and Ives are quite perfect in their parts. Randall's forte is the light comic role, the nice guy who's slightly befuddled. His wide-eyed wonder is far better for the part than an overdone double take.
Ives as a genie was a wonderful casting idea on someone's part. The incongruity is funny to begin with and Ives is actor enough to take it from there.
Special camera effect are in plentiful supply with people appearing and disappearing and fading through walls.
One of the best of the sight gags is genie Ives floating out of the sky and descending feet first into an auto -- just like that Hertz commercial.