18 May 2014 | marylois-788-910304
A Showbiz Yarn
The movie, unlike the weighty memoir upon which it was based, is a typical showbiz-in-the-1920s yarn about a young man making it big on Broadway in spite of his own insecurity and the many setbacks in the production of his first play. It is satisfying as such, with memorable performances by Jason Robards as the grumpy genius George S. Kaufman, Bert Convy as the struggling Archie Leach, and Eli Wallach as a Jed Harris-like obnoxious producer, and many other cameos of well known actors playing legendary New Yorkers of the day.
George Hamilton was too suave, too dapper, and just too damn pretty to be all that convincing as Moss Hart, but he was at his peak here, and he does a pretty good acting turn.
The story is predictable, but the movie still works, depicting a legend in an industry that loves legends about itself. There is a show playing in New York now based on the same material, and it is a huge hit. Maybe it portrays more of the poverty and the agony from which the real Moss Hart sprang, I don't know; but this movie hardly attempts to do that. Instead it gives us another fantasy of a time and place we love to think about and a life we would love to live. If you're not interested in that, this movie is not for you.