The Brass Bottle ★★★

1964 when this film was released, was certainly a different age; and if one were to view this film based upon that framework, you might just find this a pleasing little film – however, viewing it with today's lens it seems quirklystilted and its humor not nearly as “madcap” as it may have seemed 50 plus years ago.

This is essentially an updating of Aladdin's tale – a genie is imprisoned in a brass bottle for three thousand years until he is unwittingly released in “modern times” by Tony Randall (who later became much more famous for his TV turn as Felix Unger in The Odd Couple). The genie, in a fulfilling turn by Oscar winner Burl Ives, is eternally grateful for his release, so tries to help Randall achieve fame, fortune, and a girly girl. It all typically goes terribly wrong as modern conventions thwart Ives and embarrass Randall in front of his girlfriend's parents.

There's hocus pocus aplenty and really, for 1964 the effects are pretty good – including a take on the old Hertz commercial “let Hertz put you in the driver's seat” showing Ives flying through the air only to comfortably land in the passenger seat of Randall's car.

The film also has an intimate dinner ruined as Ives turns the house into a casbah, replete with slaves and belly dancers – pretty risque for 1964 and I'm sure that at the time many were gaga over the middle eastern set.

However, there's tons of early 60's TV sit-com antics and sentiments to be seen here – the interplay with the police is laughable, but in the wrong way, as is the entire love affair (if one could even call it that, as there is little to no actual interplay between Randall and the woman he hopes to marry). Oh, and speaking of said girlfriend, I suppose I should mention that the role was played by Barbara Eden, who, a year later landed the lead roll in a TV show that ran for 5 seasons... I Dream of Jeannie, wherein Eden played... yep, a genie released from a brass bottle – I guess Sidney Sheldon, who “created” Jeannie, must have seen Brass Bottle.