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February 09, 2011

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Tom Block

More La Dolce Vita than 8-1/2, I'd say, Glenn. I would've liked the explanation of why Robinson would suddenly side so one-sidedly and so completely with Trevor, after ignoring, cheating on, and complaining about her through their whole married life, beyond the petulant (and pat) one of feeling jobbed by Douglas when he so clearly hadn't been. That's what made the ending feel unearned for me--well, that and the hero getting on a plane with his new girl and apparently all his problems solved. I prefer B&B's approach--its last shot told you really everything about not just Shields but also the trio's relationship to him, and nothing was solved or resolved. That shot was pure poetry; Douglas getting on a plane, not so much. I'm also sure one of Claire's three faces belonged to Shelley Winters. She ought to give it back to her.

The first hour is a dilly, though--it lays its fingers on the pulse of the end-of-the-studios era the way that Singin' in the Rain did for the advent of talkies. The film-within-the-film's cheesiness was perfect; I hope to see it someday on a double-bill with "Fritz Lang's 'Odyssey'". Even more bracing was the attempt to enlighten audiences about the hoops movies have to jump through in order to get financed. As Jack Horner says, "It's an important part of the process."

Pinback

I've always wondered why this doesn't have a better reputation. Is it because of the cuts MGM imposed? Even in his autobiography, Minnelli seems to dismiss the released version, but is apparently quite proud of the movie he originally made. He should have been pleased anyway--it seems obvious that this was his last great film.

Tim Lucas

The cameraman in the movie within the movie is named Mario. : )

And I'm sure the sportscar-out-of-control sequence was in the back of Fellini's mind, maybe even right up front, when he was making TOBY DAMMIT.

Jaime

I [heart] the shit out of this movie. Saw it as part of the Minnelli series at MoMA a few years back, will never forget it.

Do you like YOLANDA AND THE THIEF?

Michael Adams

The second greatest George Hamilton picture of all time.

Glenn Kenny

@ Jaime: Yes, I DO like "Yolanda," not as much as "The Pirate," but very much.

@ Michael Adams: Yea, verily.

Mr. Peel

Maybe this is one of those cases where I had to be there at the time or maybe know something about what was cut out to understand why it doesn't have a better rep, but you know what? I love this movie. I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Tom Carson

GK, one thing you didn't get into is the amazing shift in tone -- and,cough, mise-en-scene -- that gets underway at Kruger's anniversary dinner. The first hour or so is pretty conventionally staged by Minnelli's standards and often just not that good, I think, but from then on we're flagrantly in delirium land. What I couldn't detect is a switch-throwing moment that would tell us we're watching Jack's fantasy of vindication, but is there one that you can see?

Unkle Rusty

Wonder why this isn't available on Netflix. This is a film I have been longing to see for years, since it popped up rather unaccountably in some otherwise conservative Greatest Films Ever Made book I had as a kid (was it Bosley Crowther's book? Nah, couldn't be).

dario loren

I really love the rear projection in this film. Especially the iris splashes of yellow headlights in the sportscar sequence. I read Shaw's novel last summer. In the book, Andrus isn't in a sanitarium, but is stuck in a dull reality of a PR job with a boring wife and kids in Paris. At the end of his two-week delirium in Rome, he runs back to "reality" while in the movie he races toward unreality of Hollywood, and as you suggest, perhaps to another round of disappointment. Both scenarios work in their respective mediums. Damn good movie.

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