29 March 2004 | gpadillo
A beautiful, black, wry, comic fairy tale.
Hal Prince's Something For Everyone is perhaps one of the most looked over American classics of the 70's. The blackest of comedies the title might, if taken literally, be misleading since it is, obviously NOT for everyone. Prince's theatrical touch can be felt and lends a strong hand in the telling of the tale and keeping tight reigns on what could easily have become an out-of-control experience (i.e., "Happy Birthday, Gemini"), a taut, thrillingly wry comedy one of the best of its type. Combining the fantasy of fairy tale with the social repression and economic dire straits of a Post-II World II Bavaria the film provides a vastly entertaining (and darkly hilarious) look into subject matters verboten at the time of the tale including the Nazi issue, social pariahism, class distinction and sexual appetite.
The dichotomy between classes has never been more closely paralleled in film: on one hand there is the starving, eager and willing to do anything young Konrad (Michael York) and on the other the Countess von Ornstein she of by gone nobility. Countess or now, she too is starving, clinging to a past which has not only faded, but threatens at any minute to disintegrate. Her prospects poor she does what she must. Lansbury's Countess is priceless and she plays it with an unlikely combination of superego and hopeless despair and she is brilliant. A tour-de-force.
If released today the film would be at the top of every best 10 list and be talked about salaciously at every Starbucks.
With nazis hiding in the woodwork, sexual weaponry, misplaced romantic feelings, murder, social climbing combining with delicious Bavarian countryside, castles, beer gardens, stunning mountain vistas and even Wagnerian opera, Prince gives us a fairy tale gone wrong. Wondrously, terribly and gloriously wrong.