On his first crime spree, Ricardo robs the coach of Teresa (Kathryn Grayson) - a desperate ingenue who has just graduated from a girls' school and can't get kissed fast enough. She puckers prettily, waiting for the inevitable, but Ricardo is something of a gentleman and abstains. The rest of the film sees the two of them awkwardly taking strides towards one another.
Watch for the always-hilarious Mildred Natwick as Teresa's Aunt Isabella who eagerly steps outside the coach, willing to take the kiss to spare her niece. Ah, the sacrifices!
The Nacio Herb Brown songs are light and beautiful (Yours truly is particularly fond of the appropriately lethargic "Siesta.") and are winningly performed by two of MGM's top singing stars.
There is a funny song ("I Like You") where a woman (Sono Osato) tries to seduce Ricardo.
However, she only succeeds in frightening the man with her ability to crack whips and snuff out candles with her bare hands.
Despite the fun songs, this film is famous as a flop. Legend has it that the producers apparently knew this film was lacking, so they rushed a last-minute performance into the works. There is a well-known, 5-minute cameo by superstars Ricardo Montalban, Cyd Charisse and Ann Miller who perform "The Dance of Fury" out of nowhere.
It didn't save the film from losing money, but it's an exciting little dance where two women dressed nearly identically (Sisters?) fight over one man. There is a progression from pure elation, to frustration, to manipulation, to a final calm. Brilliant story-telling in dance. You'll probably remember excerpts of it from That's Entertainment III (1994).
Although the plot in The Kissing Bandit is just there to keep you occupied between songs and dances, it's still an entertaining musical comedy. Recommended.