The Brass Bottle (1964)

Article #896 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-28-2003
Posting Date: 1-25-2004
Directed by Harry Keller
Featuring Tony Randall, Burl Ives, Barbara Eden

An architect discovers a genie in a brass bottle, who then proceeds to turn his life upside down.

My perception of Burl Ives as a performer over the years has been one of pleasant family-friendly blandness, and my most striking memories of his work bear out this perception (the snowman’s voice in the TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” where his presence added a proper touch to the proceedings, and as the lovable grandfather in the godawful science fiction opus of 1981 EARTHBOUND, which embodies all too well the nightmarish depths that pleasant family-friendly blandness can lead to). I was very startled to learn that one of his most famous roles was playing Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, a role that is the very antithesis of pleasant family-friendly blandness, so I must come to the conclusion that his later persona was one of choice rather than one of being incapable of anything else.

Now, pleasant family-friendly blandness has its uses, but some movies need a little more than that, and this is one of them. I am a little in awe of how inoffensive this movie seems, considering the plot touches upon such subjects as women’s underwear, belly-dancing, and the consumption of sheeps’ eyeballs. At any rate, my copy of the movie opened with the trailer for the film, and the trailer pretty much told me everything I needed to know about it. The only thing that keeps this from being a true shopping-cart movie is the absence of the Disney name or any of the regular Disney performers (Fred MacMurray, Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello, Joe Flynn, etc). The most interesting aspect about it is a piece of trivia; Barbara Eden would go on to fame playing a genie herself in “I Dream of Jeannie.”


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