The Bliss of Mrs Blossom (1968)
If you don’t love Shirley MacClaine then you haven’t seen The Bliss of Mrs Blossom, a surreal skewering of marriage and conventionality. Mrs Blossom adores her stodgy workaholic husband, but also keeps a younger man hidden in the attic for daytime fantasies and romantic romps. Mr Blossom is so busy at the factory saving the world with an inflatable bra that he doesn’t notice for several years! Is polyandry the answer to woman’s happiness?
The gogo ’60s has no shortage of swinger movies and sexual epiphanies, but none are as sweet or as fun as Mrs Blossom. MacClaine is wonderful in a swirl of gauzy gaudy dresses straight from Carnaby Street, spiraling hair pieces, and false eyelashes a mile long. Her lovely cottage home, presumably the result of her many days alone, is practically a fourth character in the film with brightly painted art nouveau flowers and carefully detailed domestic trimmings (like the miniature village tea set). The billiards parlor is a riot of psychedelic purple paisleys, and her paintings are straight out of Yellow Submarine. Contrast with a later trip to a pop-psychiatrist whose office is all blinking lights, metal structures, and industrial gadgetry.
The film is driven by sight gags and sudden changes in decor and costume, as Mrs Blossom’s daytime fantasies spill over onto her two men’s lives. Her lover becomes a whiz at self-help books learning to build furniture and dabbling in the stock market, meanwhile Mr Blossom’s only relaxation pretending to conduct a pretaped orchestra suddenly erupts into full musical montages. As a happy woman, Mrs Blossom’s magic inspires and transforms everything and everyone she touches!
The soundtrack is a swinger’s paradise. Shirley sets the tone whispering sexy distracted syllables in the opening song by Cinecitta great Riz Ortolani, but watch for an appearance by novelty act The New Vaudeville Band who vodo-diodos through a megaphone in a wild rose-patterned suit!