This week’s release of Adam Sandler’s remake of “Cactus Flower” is a good reason to check out the 1969 original with Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and, in her Oscar-winning screen debut, Goldie Hawn.
It began as a French play, adapted into a smash success on Broadway, and then this movie version, brightly directed by Gene Saks. Matthau plays Julian, a dentist who tells the girls he dates that he is married to avoid any long-term romantic entanglements. But when his much-younger girlfriend Toni (Hawn) attempts suicide he realizes how much he loves her and tells her he wants to get married. She is worried about being a home wrecker and insists on meeting his wife to be sure that she wants a divorce. Rather than tell Toni the truth, Julian persuades his starchy nurse (Bergman) to pretend to be his wife. Various romantic complications are all straightened out by the happy ending.