Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?

1968, Movie, NR, 90 mins

Review

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Does life imitate art or vice-versa? Although New York City suffered a power blackout 30 months before this film was released, the movie is based on a play that opened in Paris nine years before the November 9, 1965, blackout. Anyone who has ever lived through a power failure knows that mixups, looting, boredom, and pregnancies can and do occur. Such was the case in real life and in the movie. Day is an actress married to O'Neal. Her Broadway show has closed for the night due to the power outage, and she arrives home to find O'Neal being interviewed in their apartment by sexy reporter Albright. In a jealous rage, Day leaves their Manhattan aerie and drives to their country home in Connecticut where, unable to sleep, she downs some sleeping liquid and conks out on the couch. Morse, an executive who is fleeing with several million of his company's dollars, comes to the Day house when his car breaks down during his getaway. He comes into the house, makes the mistake of taking some of Day's sleeping potion, and falls asleep next to Day. O'Neal, feeling deflated by Day's leaving, comes to the house, sees the two asleep, and immediately becomes jealous. Meanwhile, Day has been planning to quit the stage and take it easy, something her greedy agent, Terry-Thomas, wishes she would reconsider. In order to keep her working (and his pockets lined with the 10 percent he takes), he fans the jealousy flame even further in O'Neal's fevered brain. O'Neal believes what he sees and quickly heads back to Manhattan. Morse wakes up and tries to leave, but the cops pick him up when the car he is driving is found to contain the purloined cash. He goes free, though, when the fast-thinking Morse explains that he had taken the money but only to guard it during the blackout. He is made chief executive of his company for his quick thinking, but his happiness is short-lived when his boss's son runs off with the money that he brought back. O'Neal and Day reconcile and, as luck and fate and contrivance would have it, she gives birth nine months later to the child they always wanted but never took the time to conceive. A trifle that starts out funny enough but sinks into predictability, made somewhat better by the adroit acting that triumphs over the lackluster script. Good comedy bits from Backus as a used car dealer, Steve Allen as a radio newsman, Ben Blue as a befuddled bystander, and Pat Paulsen as a subway conductor. New York Post columnist Earl Wilson makes a cameo appearance, as does director Averback, who was a radio announcer before he went into directing. He was best known for his work on the Bob Hope radio program. Emhardt, as Morse's boss, and Malone, as the weasel son, don't have much to do. There was a mild flurry of a revival of the old song, "When the Lights Go on Again (All Over the World)," but that went by the boards about as fast as this movie did. Day's longtime songwriter, Joe Lubin, chipped in with "Showtime," which is about as undistinguished as the title tune written by Dave Grusin and Kelly Gordon and sung by the Lettermen. leave a comment

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