The Brass Bottle (1964 film)

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The Brass Bottle
Brassbottleposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarry Keller
Produced byRobert Arthur
Written byOscar Brodney
Based onThe Brass Bottle
by Thomas Anstey Guthrie
StarringTony Randall
Burl Ives
Barbara Eden
Music byBernard Green
CinematographyClifford Stine
Edited byMilton Carruth
Ted J. Kent
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 20, 1964 (1964-05-20)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The Brass Bottle is a 1964 American fantasy-comedy film about a modern man who accidentally acquires the friendship of a long-out-of-circulation genie. It is based on the 1900 novel of the same title by Thomas Anstey Guthrie and later inspired the American fantasy sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

The film stars Tony Randall, Burl Ives and Barbara Eden.

Plot[edit]

Architect Harold Ventimore (Tony Randall) buys a large antique container that turns out to imprison a genie named Fakrash (Burl Ives), whom Harold inadvertently sets free. Fakrash is effusively grateful for his release, and persistently tries to do favors for Harold to show his gratitude. However he has been in the brass bottle for a long time, and Fakrash's unfamiliarity with the modern world causes all sorts of problems when he tries to please his rescuer. Harold ends up in a great deal of trouble, including with his girlfriend, Sylvia Kenton (Barbara Eden).

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Background[edit]

Thomas Anstey Guthrie's novel, on which the film is based, had been adapted for the screen twice before during the era of silent film in 1914 and 1923.

Casting[edit]

At this point in his career, Tony Randall was one of Hollywood's leading supporting players, and this film represented a "rare opportunity" for him to get first billing.[1]

Filming[edit]

The Brass Bottle was made on a modest budget and shot primarily on the back lot of Universal Studios, with a few exterior sequences made with rear screen projection, "giving the feature film the look of a standard sitcom from the era."[1]

Release and reception[edit]

The Brass Bottle was released on May 20, 1964.

Home media[edit]

The Brass Bottle was released on DVD for Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only) as part of the Universal Vault Series in January 2010.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Contemporary[edit]

The New York Times critic A. H. Weiler found the film "about as funny as your own funeral", and dismissed it as "one of the duller fantasies dreamed up by Hollywood's necromancers."[3]

Retrospective[edit]

Tony Mastroianni says The Brass Bottle is 'not a bad little movie" for what it is: "well-made but rather unpretentious."[4] Lee Pfeiffer notes the "inspired cast" and finds the film "mildly amusing" Overall, he says the film "clearly belongs" to Burl Ives, who is "genuinely amusing" as a genie trying to learn how to live in the 20th century and "dominates every scene he is in".[1] Craig Butler calls The Brass Bottle a "silly and fairly predictable comedy, the kind that Hollywood was making in the early 1960s before it figured out that people were more and more getting this kind of fluff on television, where it was more at home." While not a great comedy, it is "pleasant, amiable and diverting".[5]

Legacy[edit]

Eden's role was instrumental in getting her cast as the star of the TV series I Dream of Jeannie, even though she did not play a genie in this film.[6]

Remakes[edit]

This film was remade in Tamil by Javar Sitaraman as Pattanathil Bhootham (or Ghost in the City) in 1967, and was a critical and commercial success.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pfeiffer, Lee. "DVD review: "The Brass Bottle" (1964) starring Tony Randall, Burl Ives and Barbara Eden". CinemaRetro.com. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  2. ^ "The Brass Bottle (1964)". Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  3. ^ A. H. Weiler (May 21, 1964). "Tony Randall Stars in 'The Brass Bottle'". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Mastroianni, Tony (November 20, 2003). "[Review, The Brass Bottle]". Cleveland News.
  5. ^ Butler, Craig. "The Brass Bottle (1964)". AllMovie. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  6. ^ Hooch.net I Dream of Jeannie: Then, Now, and Fun Facts About the Show: "The TV Show Was Inspired By A Movie" retrieved August 15, 2019

External links[edit]