It Started With A Kiss (1959) is precisely the kind of airy, light-on-its-feet romantic comedies that they don’t make anymore. No one who worked on this film was trying to make a classic, they just wanted to make a fun comedy to make audiences laugh. In that regard, this movie was a success.
Glenn Ford stars as Sgt. Joe Fitzpatrick, who is just a few days away from being shipped out to Spain. Before he goes though, he meets dancer Maggie Putnam (Debbie Reynolds) at a charity car raffle, where she is out hunting for rich men. Of course, Joe is not rich, but lightning strikes (in the form of a Jeff Alexander melody) whenever they kiss. The two get married just hours before Joe has to jet off to Spain. Before Maggie makes it overseas though, she learns that Joe won the car, the custom 1955 Linocln Futura!
Once Maggie arrives in Spain, with the extravagant car following behind her, she realizes there is an issue in their relationship. The two don’t appear to have anything beyond a physical connection, so she refuses to have sex with Joe for 30 days, or until they prove they have more in common than an affinity for kissing each other.
It takes a surprisingly long time to get to that plot set-up, but the characters and actors playing them are so endearing that it doesn’t matter. Once everyone is in Spain, It Started With A Kiss is a film vacation from serious matters. There are glamorous people, in the form of Eva Gabor and Gustavo Rojo, beautiful Spanish vistas filling up the Cinemascope frame and nonsensical hijinks.
There are countless visual gags throughout the film that call to mind the great screwball comedies of the 1930s, like the torn dress ripped from Bringing Up Baby to the kissing-in-the-shower scene on the film’s poster. Many of these jokes seem trite today, but when you have a talented star like Debbie Reynolds pulling it off, they are effortless.
Seeing as It Started With A Kiss isn’t exactly a well-known movie, its Blu-ray release is another surprise from Warner Archive Collection. The film never even had a regular DVD release until WAC released it in 2011. Now, the upgraded Blu-ray disc looks perfect, bringing the beautifully colored Spanish scenery into our homes on a dual-layered BD-50 disc. The only extra is a trailer.
Thanks to Charles Lederer‘s script (based on a story by Valentine Davies), George Marshall‘s deft directing and the performances by Ford and Reynolds, It Started With A Kiss is an above-average late 1950s romantic comedy. It’s a shame that this film has fallen into obscurity, because it’s a charming, breezy romp that’s a perfect example of Debbie Reynolds at her comedic best.