Grungy camera work, uneven sound mixing, very Cassavetes-ish dialogue and behavior though apparently it’s an entirely May-created work, based on small-time gangsters she’d grown up around. It’s part 358 in my ongoing series “What Do People See in the Cinema of the 1970’s?” though it’s easy to admire after it’s over. Cassavetes is unpleasant to be around – racist, sexist, prone to fits of destruction and paranoia – and everyone wants him dead, including his friend Falk, who is informing hit man Ned Beatty of their movements across the city. As the peripheral women, we’ve got Joyce Van Patten (Monkey Shines mom) as John’s unamused wife, May regular Rose Arrick as Peter’s complicit wife, and the unknown Carol Grace as their lonely plaything/victim.
On Letterboxd: “Boyfriends and Girlfriends” by Low
Our happy boys, everything going great:
Ned, reflecting a marquee showing The Laughing Policeman and Fist of Fury:
Very funny, watched a low-quality VHS during a trip to Lincoln and didn’t take notes. Much has happened since then, so rather than try to scrape my memory for details, here’s a capsule summary by J. Rosenbaum:
Walter Matthau, cast wildly against type, plays a spoiled playboy suddenly deprived of his wealth who plots to marry and murder a wealthy, klutzy, and dysfunctional botanist (May, playing sort of a female Jerry Lewis). May’s savage take on her characters irresistibly recalls Stroheim; she’s at once tender and corrosive (as well as narcissistic and self-hating). This is painful comedy, to be sure, but there’s a lot of soul and spirit behind it.
and more, from Essential Cinema. Sorry to overquote.
The movie â€“ adapted from Jack Ritchieâ€™s story â€œThe Green Heartâ€ â€” ends with a last-minute turnaround in which the husband saves his wife from drowning on a camping trip and decides with a certain resignation that heâ€™s actually growing fond of her. But Mayâ€™s script showed Matthau’s character committing at least two other murders prior to this showdown, poisoning both a blackmailer and his brideâ€™s crooked lawyer (Jack Weston). These scenes were cut by the studio, and May attempted to sue Paramount to block the release of their re-edited version.
Back in fashion because of Pan’s Labyrinth.
I keep coming back to the “Dance Magic Dance” song, the biggest batch of silliness that Bowie gets himself mixed up in. He manages to be pretty cool throughout the rest, despite being a glammed up villain in a pg-rated movie. Jennifer Connelly is fine as a spacey, dorky girl. She was better in Phenomena.
Warwick David AND Kenny Baker played goblins. Terry Jones and Elaine May writing, and George Lucas exec produced.
All that talent involved, all those puppets and matte paintings, and what do we have? An over-expensive little mess of a movie. Pretty funny in parts, but not too cool anymore as an adult. Another one lost. Saw parts of Beetlejuice on TV the other day and I’m sure that one’s still good. Still, a fun enough time at the movies. There aren’t enough puppets in movies these days.
Katy says she shouldn’t have even gone.