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  • blanche-211 August 2006
    You gotta love the title "Two Weeks in Another Town." It's fabulous. As for the movie...it's a big budget, sprawling color extravaganza that's either a sequel or a prequel to "The Bad and the Beautiful" depending upon whom you speak to. Kirk Douglas stars as Jack, a has-been, alcoholic actor who, fresh from the asylum, is summoned to Rome by his guru, the director Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson). Also in Rome is the wife that drove Jack into an alcoholic stupor, the seductive Carlotta (Cyd Charisse). Initially all Jack is to do is direct the dubbing of Kruger's film so he can finish on time and satisfy the Italian producer - but things become more involved.

    I can't agree with one comment that this is the veiled story of Tyrone Power, Linda Christian, and Darryl F. Zanuck, with circumstances changed to protect the guilty. Certainly the promiscuity aspects are similar; Ty took up with Anita Ekberg, magazine editor Mary Roblee, etc., and Linda, well-known for her exploits like the Cyd Charisse character, had an affair with Edmund Purdom. And Power was certainly tied to Zanuck. However, the story is pretty Hollywood generic; one could probably make the case for other actors' marriages and connection to directors and/or producers.

    "Two Weeks" is also way over the top, which is what Minnelli intended: old Roman gluttony. It's a feast of scenery, big acting, and a wild, dramatic story, which peaks with Douglas and Charisse in a fast car careening through Rome.

    Kirk Douglas is great as an actor returning to his past, only to find there's nothing there of use. Robinson turns in a excellent performance as a tough yet insecure director who cheats on his emotionally abusive and abused wife yet depends on her like a child its mother. Trevor as the wife is appropriately hurt, angry, and downright vicious. George Hamilton plays an up and coming actor - as one comment noted, this is a stretch; he doesn't really register. Charisse gets costar billing but doesn't have much to do but laugh evilly, wear glamorous clothes, and look seductive. She succeeds.

    "Two Weeks in Another Town" is certainly worth a look, though it was hard for this viewer to connect with any of the characters. I think it stands alone as neither a prequel or sequel to "The Bad and the Beautiful" as a story of what it's like to make films in another time - and in another town.
  • Starts with Kirk Douglas in a nut house, isn't that just perfect? He is allowed out to take over an American movie in trouble being shot on location in Rome - well that's beyond perfection - And a total guarantee of 100 or so minutes of decadent splendor. The director and his wife, played at the edge of the abyss, by Edward G Robinson and Claire Trevor deserve a film of their own. Douglas does his thing as if we had never seen it before and thank God for that because it works in the most satisfying way. Minnelli knew what he was doing and those modern Roman parties with the glittering Italian aristocrats is out of a Fellini film. Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton and Vito Scotti are also part of this tabloid tale told by a master. Highly recommended.
  • Trying to repeat their success in The Bad and the Beautiful with the same studio MGM, director Vincent Minnelli and actor Kirk Douglas give another go at the fabulous world of film making. This time though MGM sprung for color and a location shooting in Rome, the other town the title is referring to.

    If Tyrone Power were alive he might have sued MGM because I believe Kirk Douglas's character of Jack Andrus is based on him and the relationship he had with producer Darryl Zanuck and second wife Linda Christian. In her days Linda was quite the party animal, as much as Cyd Charisse portrays here.

    The Zanuck character is a director named Maurice Krueger played by Edward G. Robinson. Changing him from a producer to a director probably saved a whole lot of legal fees.

    Very simply the plot is that washed up film actor Douglas who is in a high priced alcoholic asylum as the film opens receives an offer from his former director Robinson to come to Rome to help him with a film that threatens to run behind schedule. Douglas comes to Rome and becomes quite indispensible to Robinson, especially after Robinson suffers a heart attack and Douglas has to finish the film.

    His hedonistic ex-wife Charisse is also in Rome among many other temptations. It all works out for Douglas, but not quite in the way he would have thought.

    Best performance in the film in my opinion is that of Claire Trevor who is Robinson's shrewish wife, based very much on Darryl Zanuck's wife Virginia.

    According to the Films of Kirk Douglas, both Minnelli and Douglas were disappointed in how the film turned out. It certainly doesn't measure up to The Bad and the Beautiful. Douglas blamed it on a botched editing job. That maybe so, but my own opinion is that the Code was still in place in 1962 and maybe had this been done ten years later, certain things could have been made far more explicit to the audiences.

    Two Weeks in Another Town is still quite a curiosity, catch it if you can.
  • No one has mentioned the magnificent performance of George Macready as the agent, nor the devastating scene near the beginning of the film where he and Douglas have a chance encounter at an airport. To put it politely, in that scene Macready takes Douglas to task for past failures...it is one of the most brutal bits in all film history. Macready always knew how to make his mark, no matter how small the role! I recently enjoyed seeing him in his third film, The Story of Doctor Wassell, where he had a very small part as a Dutch army officer...striking and vivid, and that smooth chilly voice of his has never been equaled in all of filmdom.
  • Vincente Minnelli's film version bears little resemblance to Irwin Shaw's novel of the same name, not that there's anything wrong with that. This movie belongs on the second half of a double feature with "The Carpetbaggers" as a guilty pleasure I can't resist watching. It spoofs the difficulties American directors had in making quality movies overseas when European producers expressed no interest in quality, only profit. This is a lesser alternative to Fellini's "8 1/2" and Godard's "Contempt," which explored the same theme, and its trashiness is expressed perfectly with footage from "The Bad and the Beautiful," another Minnelli-Douglas collaboration. Favorite line, Edward G. Robinson to Douglas regarding George Hamilton: "He's crazier on the loose than you were locked up."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Few movies contain so much talent and end up being as ridiculous as TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN. Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, George Hamilton, and Cyd Charisse head the cast as decadent Hollywood types in Rome to make a movie. What that movie's about is anyone's guess, but the melodrama played out behind the scenes is an over-the-top train wreck directed by the great Vincente Minnelli. The out of control drive through the streets of Rome by Douglas and Charisse is priceless. Trevor, pulling out all the stops as Robinson's shrike of a wife, reprises her drunken blowser role from KEY LARGO. Hamilton plays an actor (a very real stretch that he does NOT pull off). James Gregory, George McCready, and Daliah Lavi are in it too. A camp classic.
  • Next to TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL looks like an all-around masterpiece of subtle drama. Both take a cynical look at the behind-the-scenes backstabbing in Hollywood.

    The story gets off to a slow start and then continues to move at a snail's pace, especially through the early scenes where we're introduced to characters like EDWARD G. ROBINSON and his shrewish wife CLAIRE TREVOR. Robinson seems to be playing a thinly disguised version of Darryl F. Zanuck and Trevor seems to think she has to overdo the tirades in scene after scene so she can win another supporting Oscar like the one she snared for KEY LARGO. The school of overacting seems to be rampant here.

    Irwin Shaw was obviously cynical about his own treatment by the Hollywood studios and has concocted a melodrama that is even more bitter about studio politics than THE BIG KNIFE or THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.

    It's strange that Vincente Minnelli would be the director chosen to bring this story to life, but suffice it to say that it's not one of his best directorial achievements. KIRK DOUGLAS does a decent job in the central role but most of the performances are absurdly over-the-top in a film wherein the script itself is the main problem.

    Sorry, can't work up any enthusiasm for this one.
  • I hadn't seen this one since its theatrical release and note that it's not available on video. But Turner Classic Movies unearthed it a while ago, letter-boxed as it deserves and as they so reliably do with widescreen titles.

    No one was better than Minnelli when it came to taking pure "camp" elements and turning them into the kind of cinematic excess that had to be seen to be believed. This one is a prime example. As a Cyd Charisse devotee, I wasn't even disappointed that she didn't get to unfurl those legendary legs and dance across the CinemaScope screen. Made up, coiffed and gowned to look like Delphine Seyrig in "Last Year at Marienbad"(1961), she looks exactly like the sort of vamp who could drive Kirk Douglas to absolute distraction. With Claire Trevor, at her best, sparring bitterly with the immortal Edward G. Robinson; George Hamilton doing an earnest impression of a Method actor (none too good, I'll agree); and Leslie Uggams crooning a siren song whilst reclining amidst the ladies of the evening in a deluxe Roman brothel...well! It just HAS to be seen to be (dis)believed! Luvved it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Some screenplays are simply unfilmable, and even if they are filmable, become laughable because the acting simply becomes banal either through over-direction or misguided emotions by actors trying too hard. In the case of this supposed follow-up to "The Bad and the Beautiful", the first "B" in that title, certainly fits, not the second. It's an embarrassment on all levels with such talents as Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton and especially Claire Trevor chewing up every word of the dialog. It's a major shame to have Trevor pretty much vomit every line she says as if she was getting revenge on Robinson for mistreating her in "Key Largo".

    The story is difficult to figure out from the very beginning with everybody ranting and raving at Kirk Douglas for being a has-been drunk actor, and the efforts director Robinson makes to get the movie completed. To make matters worse, a clip from "The Bad and the Beautiful" is used, showing how things went from an outstanding piece of art where everything came together, to this huge house of cards where a sudden gust of wind came along, making the entire deck impossible to put back together again. Luxurious photography can't hide the fact that what is actually present on the screen is probably one of the most confusing pieces of trash ever committed on celluloid. Even director Vincent Minnelli's final film, the major flop "A Matter of Time", outshines this one in spades.

    While film history resources indicate that rash editing lead to the film's failure, the script is also filled with massive inconsistencies, utilizing sudden psychotic mood swings in many scenes for pretty much every character. The film is practically impossible to get through, a sad example of so much talent tossed together in what really comes out to be a compost heap.

    The film also touches on the perverted, such as a scene where the aging Robinson appears to be being fondled by an Italian starlet (while harpy wife Trevor rants and raves like a patient from a nut house). The worst slap in the face comes for poor Trevor, playing one of the most hateful characters on-screen, only rivaled by the vile nasty rich wife that Eleanor Parker played in "An American Dream", another dreadful disaster made just a couple of years later. This one, however, could be called Vincent Minnelli's "An Italian Nightmare".
  • A film of love and hate.Between the fallen actor and his aging director;between the director and his hysterical wife;between Carlotta and her former husband;between the young actor and the old one.In a nutshell, an intense melodrama in the vein of these Minnelli extravaganzas ("some came running" "home from the hill" and particularly "the four horsemen of the Apocalypse" -remember the famous scene where the whole family is gathered around the table while a storm is raging-).

    Minnelli had already broached Hollywood before in "the bad and the beautiful" the ending of which was one of the most ferocious I know.Excerpts of this 1952 work are used here with stunning results.Douglas watching himself when he was supposed to be young and famous recalls Gloria Swanson watching her silent movies (with her former director Von Stroheim now her butler) in "Sunset Boulevard".

    But it's Cinecitta now.A new Italian cinema is rising and Minnelli is aware of that.He had probably seen Fellini's and Antonioni's works and their influence emerge sometimes:Rosanna Schiaffino 's character reminds me of Anita Eksberg in "la dolce vita";the posh receptions have an Antonioni atmosphere("la notte").On the other hand,Douglas's mad drive might have influenced Fellini for his segment of "spirits of the dead" ,"Tobby Dammit" (1968).

    But if the movie has a message ,it's this one:If you want somebody you can trust ,trust yourself.Stop hiding in the movie theaters (or in the films),as Douglas's character says to Schiaffino on the beach ,and get a life!
  • What the heck were they thinking? Oh, I get it: Take the success of "La Dolce Vita", infuse it w/ the elements of a behind-the-scenes look into the tawdry goings on of a troubled Hollywood production and transplant it back to Rome (Say, "Cinecitta", boys and girls!). And for good measure, have a director w/ an Italian sounding name take responsibility for it.

    Trashy camp only begins to describe the little seen(and therefore intriguing to self-confessed cinephiles--we have TCM to thank) "Two Weeks In Another Town"(1962), but what a gloriously colorful bit of camp it is. Director Vincente Minnelli is an acknowledged master of color and---I don't know what else. The dialog has to be heard to be believed("Don't swallow all those pills! The doctor will have to come up and pump your stomach. You know how much that sickens me!"). Everybody spits, dribbles and sweats acid in this movie. Need it be said that everyone overacts? It's a wonder anything at all was left of the scenery after they chewed it up! And having pretty boy George Hamilton play a knife-wielding bad boy is a bit much, no? One exception is the young Daliah Lavi who left the bad acting to the two other women principals (Cyd Charisse and Claire Trevor)and just let her natural charms show through. She's even more fetching here because she looks to have more meat on her bones than in her subsequent roles( The Detainer in the OTHER Casino Royale).

    Kirk Douglas as the main character who gets to do the thankless job of saving a movie in trouble after its director(Edward G. Robinson) suffers a heart attack tries to do the same thing w/ this movie and barely succeeds. A plus, though, is that he tools around in(and gets to trash) a cool-looking Maserati convertible. Watching that car alone is worth it. As for the rest of the movie, it's like bad tabloid reportage. We know it's trash, but we can't keep our eyes off it!
  • whpratt116 December 2006
    If you liked the "Bad & The Beautiful" with Kirk Douglas,( Jack Andrus) this picture is pretty close to the same story line, however, there is plenty of color, drama and romance. Great actors appear in this film, Edward G. Robinson,(Maurice Kruger), "The Red House" puts his heart and soul into the role and yells and screams his head off as a big shot movie director. Kirk Douglas still plays the role as an abusive drinker who is reformed and is placed in some rather difficult situations from actor to assistant director. Cyd Charisse, (Charlotta) adds plenty of sexy charm to the various scenes and George Hamilton, (Davie Drew) gives a great supporting role. For some reason over the years, I seemed to have missed viewing this film and found it quite enjoyable and also seeing how very young all the actors appeared in 1962. Enjoy
  • I think that your opinion of this movie will be strongly influenced depending on whether or not you first saw THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. I tried watching this film before I saw the prequel and got tired of it and stopped watching. However, a few months later I saw the first film and then saw TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN. Then, it all made sense to me,...how the horribly manipulative jerk in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL slid over the years into the pathetic has-been in this film. I really liked it, as everyone hate ample reason to both hate the lead character, Douglas, and to thank him for their success. A pretty deep film and a perfect follow-up.
  • Horrible Minnelli melodrama, with enough "ham" to feed an army. Yes, the usual "lush" Minnelli touch is still there, but the drama is so over-the-top, it ceases to be worth a watch after the first thirty minutes. Robinson CHEWS the scenery....well, EVERYONE does, actually.

    Many will argue that the tone is intentional. Whatever. The result is a squirm fest from start to finish. The female characters are indeed unpleasant, as stated by a previous poster.

    I will give Minnelli his props, however. His work is never repetitive. A year later he directed "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," about 180 degrees from this flick. Do yourself a favor......the next time TCM runs this film, skip it.
  • The film industry swallows actor Jack Andrus, (Kirk Douglas in his Van Gough mode), up into a mental depression. He gets a call to join a film crew in Rome and ventures out into a world of Hollywood egos and movie mongrels, pushing him that little bit further over the edge. Based on an Irwin Shaw book you know that you are in for some campy moments and lousy dialogue that sounds as if taken straight from the book. But it has some interesting moments in the human condition at war with the film world!
  • Douglas does his best with what they've given him, and there is some really interesting chemistry between him and George Hamilton, but this film isn't even half baked.

    More than anything, it's like watching an extended Episode of an 80's soap-- Dynasty, Falcon Crest, take your pick. The motivations (other than sheer meanness) are unclear, the acting uneven (some characters are perpetually hysterical, others practically catatonic)the emotional pitch is fevered, the dialog ridiculous, and the scenery gets thoroughly chewed...

    To coin (oh all right, steal) a phrase, Two weeks in another town is a tale told by an idiot, full of the sound and the fury, signifying nothing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Imagine a film with Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, George Hamilton, Cyd Charisse and Claire Trevor being miserable. It's hard to believe but it's true.

    The best scenes are when we see clips of Douglas's 1952 "The Bad and the Beautiful." That was a picture.

    This garbage deals with Douglas as an actor getting over suicide and being brought to Rome to work for director Robinson. There he meets his ex-wife Carlotta, played in a whore-like manner by Ms. Charisse. She is way out of her league in this one but her days of dancing with Fred Astaire were long gone.

    Interesting to see the teaming of Robinson and Trevor, this time as man and wife. They made such a great duo 14 years before in Trevor's Oscar-winning gem "Key Largo." As was the case with the latter, Trevor is once again a drunkard but with no reason as she had in 'Largo.'

    The picture is a rip-off of "The Sun Also Rises" as it deals with emotionally unbalanced people. At age 22, George Hamilton, as an actor, is already over the hill.

    Douglas wants to reenact his hitting of a wall this time in Rome as he had done in L.A. during his drunken suicide attempt. He and the others really hit the wall by making this awful film.
  • Vincente Minnelli tries to go all hyper-modern in this widescreen adaptation of an Irwin Shaw novel, which I hope made more sense. Washed-up actor Kirk Douglas, all clenched teeth and dimple, is let out of the loony bin to rescue a faltering big-budget movie in Rome being directed by a manipulative, but somehow pitiable, Edward G. Robinson. Unsympathetic supporting characters abound: Douglas's awful ex-wife (Cyd Charisse, looking great and giving rather good shrew), Robinson's hysterical spouse (Claire Trevor, who is, for perhaps the only time in her life, dreadful), an insecure method actor (an OK George Hamilton), a starlet inexplicably drawn to Douglas (Daliah Levi, all bust). The histrionics, including a wild and wildly unbelievable Douglas-cracking-up-at-the-wheel car scene, are entertaining, but that the whole thing could somehow end happily is ludicrous. What's fun are the Rome trappings, with Douglas's fabulous car, the gowns, the locations, and some imaginative use of the wide screen. Also, some attractive old-Hollywood rumblings from composer David Raskin. Not one for the ages, but worth a look.
  • I saw this curiously limp Minnelli melodrama last night. I wanted to see it very much after reading some favorable things about it; I was expecting a decent, agreeable melodrama on par with "Some Came Running" or "Home From the Hill". Instead I saw a dull, plodding, not to say overlong glimpse into the world filmmaking in Rome circa 1961 - actually a follow-up to Minnelli's 1952 "The Bad and the Beautiful." It feels it could have been so much better given the director and talent on board.

    For one thing, I found nearly all of the characters in "Two Weeks" to be extremely nasty and unpleasant, particularly the women, the ones played by Claire Trevor and Daliah Lavi, which gave the film a strange, misogynistic tone - quite unusual for Minnelli, whose films usually feature strong, likable, intelligent female characters. Kirk Douglas as the former Hollywood star in decline and his former collaborator Edward G. Robinson as the has-been director are very competent in their parts, but you get the impression that some of their stuff is forced and over-the-the-top, only a show off.

    I found out "Two Weeks" had been hacked and slashed to bits during the editing process, partly in response to censorship complaints (the implied "Roman orgy" scene towards the end of the film, for example, was apparently a lot less implied in the original). I also found out Minnelli's original conception of the film was flawed in its writing & direction, and it shows all the way through.
  • Ten years after 'The Bad and the Beautiful', director Vincente Minnelli and star Kirk Douglas return to another expose of Tinseltown. This time, Douglas plays a washed-up film star who has been in a sanatorium but is now well enough to heed the summons of old 'friend' and director Kruger (Edward G Robinson) who is offering him a plum new role.

    But going back means meeting his former wife Carlotta (Cyd Charisse), and a younger version of himself (Davie Drew, played by George Hamilton), while squaring up to Kruger and his acerbic wife Clara (Claire Trevor) again to save his professional life.

    This film is in colour where 'The Bad and ...' was black and white, so it makes an interesting contrast as well as a companion piece. Douglas is excellent again, in a slightly more likable part than in the earlier film, while Robinson and Trevor have enough screen time on their own to make their characters fascinating. Charisse is a viper in fine furs - good to see what she moved into once she stopped dancing on screen.
  • This is surprisingly dull and tedious, considering it was directed by Vincent Minnelli. Supposedly another expose about filmmaking, it is a sort-of sequel to "The Bad and the Beautiful," and there are even a few scenes shown from that much-better movie. There is little about movie making in "Two Weeks in Another Town," however, which is ostensibly about a movie being filmed in Rome (a center of movie making in the 1960's) but is mostly about ex-wives and girl friends. Most of the women are bitchy and interchangeable (Claire Trevor, Cyd Charisse), most of the men are cardboard characters (Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson) and some of the scenes are ridiculous, such as the one where a woman gets a slap in the face at a glamorous event. This movie gives us that cliché soliloquy from an actor playing an actor about the pain and loneliness of being an actor. So ironic, so theatrical, so moving! And then there's dull Dahlia Lavi. Some of us are old enough to recall Dahlia (who later changed the spelling to Daliah) gracing the covers of almost every magazine as Hollywood's most glamorous new discovery, only to quickly disappear. The movie also looks surprisingly trashy, with garish colors and vulgar sets, a child's idea of glamor.
  • Despite an abrupt, overwrought climax and less than stellar performances by two key players, "Two Weeks in Another Town" is a fine inside look at the politics of movie making. Comparisons can be made to "The Bad and the Beautiful" (indeed, scenes from that film are included), also starring Kirk Douglas. However, Douglas is even better here than in the earlier film, giving possibly the best, most carefully nuanced performances of his career. Equally strong are Edward G. Robinson, playing a washed up director, Claire Trevor as Robinson's hysterical, shrewish wife and Daliah Lavi, making a star-caliber screen debut. Unfortunately, the studio saddled director Vincente Minnelli with an insipid George Hamilton and an incompetent Cyd Charisse. One can only imagine how much better "Two Weeks …" would be with Richard Chamberlain playing the Hamilton role and Lana Turner, Eleanor Parker, Barbara Rush or Tina Louise playing Charisse's.

    "Two Weeks …" is carefully paced until the final act, which is so rushed it becomes almost surreal, and almost undone in the process. Reportedly, Douglas blamed the editing, which seems likely, given Minnelli's earlier, carefully crafted work. One cannot help but wonder whether "Two Weeks …" hit "too close to home" for some studio professionals, and was sabotaged. In this case, without giving away too much, this would be a perfect example of "life imitates art imitating art." "Two Weeks …" is certainly too melodramatic to garner a "10"; but, it could have been an "8". As it sits, however, "Two Weeks in Another Town" deserves a "7" due to the strong performances and very strong first two thirds.
  • rasputin-2323 April 2014
    This movie is truly one of the worst movies ever made. Every moment of it, every gesture, is wrong and ill-considered. It makes movies like HEAD and SKIDOO and HOT RODS TO HELL look like clever, insightful "Le Bad" masterpieces.

    I think Vincente Minnelli had been watching not only LA DOLCE VITA, but also Godard's LE MéPRIS. Somehow the idea was hatched to make an "arty" new European-style picture... but it's only pure American cliché transplanted to Cinecitta.

    This was that moment in American cinema in which the old studio system was creaking and crashing, supplanted by television, and ultimately by the new breed of 1960's young turks who would re-script it. But meanwhile you could see old Hollywood making desperate gropes in the dark for some kind of old-school monumentality, McLuhan-defined "hotness".

    Kirk Douglas is reaching his sell-by date here, no longer convincing as the romantic lead. This is one of those 1960's-style "Viagra" movies, like 1968's PETULIA, or 1969's THE ARRANGEMENT: middle-aged man gets his life's potency back by having a fling with a young honey, all the while reciting his various existential angsts.

    An old-school symphonic-strings score (which a Fellini or Godard would never dream of including) swoops and shrieks and wails, always obtruding, never vitalizing the on screen action.

    The naked truth is, Americans, with few exceptions, have never been good at making arty Euro-style films, and this movie is a glaring example.

    This movie is like the play put on in WAITING FOR GUFFMANN: the players unwittingly make disparaging comments which, as far as the audience can see, can easily apply to the very entertainment they're watching. And that's embarrassing.

    If you're going to make a bad movie, then at least let the audience savor its badness...a-la a John Waters or Andy Warhol flick. But this film takes itself terribly seriously, even though all the plot points are disjointed, untrue, calculated.

    Maybe 1962 lacked the censor's freedom to depict an authentic "movie-about-moviemaking" story; to see this same basic story told authentically, convincingly, we would have to wait until 1973's LA NUIT AMERICAINE by Truffaut.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I first viewed this movie upon its initial release while I was in elementary school in a small West Virginia town where there was one theater and one drive-in meaning limited choices and frequent luck of the draw in terms of movie selection. This was probably the most boring film I ever saw in my youth although my parents also described the film as terrible and pondered the question of what it was even about. Decades passed, maturation happened along with some possible sophistication so I thought I would give this movie another shot, after all, what does a hick family from the hills know about cinema? The second viewing was more enlightening in making the movie appear dull, self indulgent, cheesy, melodramatic and essentially baffling in addition to my previous assessment of it as boring. Glossy slick color envelops the unlikable characters who spend most of their time bitch slapping and yelling at each other. Kirk Douglas and Edward G Robinson are apparently involved in some sort of love-hate relationship that merely seems schizophrenic as opposed to complex. While the story does show Kirk with a leave of absence from a nut house, he mostly seems angry rather than mental. He gets to go to Italy for a $10K per week paycheck ( in 1962 dollars ), a Maserati 3500 Spyder Vignale rag top ( which has a back story that's more interesting than this movie ) and then meets Daliah Lavi as a love interest and that's enough to make anyone mad. Hey, I wanted a stick, not an automatic dammit! Apparently much of the angst is sourced to Cyd Charisse who provided the only entertaining segment of the film when she's throws herself around like a bag of groceries while Kirk's eyes bug out behind the wheel in an ostensible moment of lunacy. Steering like a madman in front of a backdrop of a previously filmed gyrating landscape, the scene is intended to suggest frenzied, maniacal, out of control speed, yet comes off as laughable. I issued a spoiler alert although I'm not sure that's an applicable concept to a film that has no point to begin with. As far as movies are concerned, this flick had a really cool car.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you stop and really think about the picture, it's one scalding indictment of celebrity life and phony stardom, the carving up of one's life by managers, agents, writers and whoever else can get their grubby hands on the one who's currently in the limelight. The picture, though often brilliantly filmed in lavish color, is cynical and dark, with twisted and duplicitous characters, and doesn't leave you feeling all that cheerful even with the manufactured happy ending.

    That scene when director Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson) unloaded on his wife Clara (Claire Trevor) was really something wasn't it? If you're contemplating divorce you might want to borrow from the man's vocabulary describing his lawful wedded nightmare as a 'worn out, dried up, whining, meddling old hag'. I think that just about covers it, don't you think? Well good old Clara returned the favor at the post-film wrap pretty nicely, drove the old guy into a heart attack. Put these folks on the guest list for your next party, should be a smash.

    Washed up actor Jack Andrus (Kirk Douglas) also has some interesting insights into the human condition as befits his also ran status - "Anybody can live with anybody", but the better one that frames the entire story is when he laments "How can a man go wrong and not know why"? Seems like everyone was going wrong here, as Jack's fling with Veronica What's the Difference (Dahlia Lavi) offered a measure of solace for the brief amount of time he put in finishing Kruger's picture.

    Considering the principals involved, and I haven't even considered them all here, this had the makings of a stellar flick, and it wasn't all that bad really, but it will just leave you stunned, especially after Jack's thrill ride with ex-wife Carlotta (Cyd Charisse). One more character that lived up to Kruger's description of the fairer sex - "All women are just pure monster".
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