Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Comedy 3: They all laughed ...

THEY ALL LAUGHED, 1981. A New York Detective Agency is hired by two different clients to follow two women suspected of infidelity. John Russo trails Angela Niotes, the elegant wife of a wealthy Italian industrialist, while Charles Rutledge and Arthur Brodsky follow Dolores Martin, the beautiful young wife of a jealous husband. Their respective cases are complicated when John falls for Angela, and Charles falls for Dolores.

Peter Bogdanovich's 1981 romantic comedy re-defines screwball. I like it a lot, its not as instantly funny as WHAT'S UP DOC? or PAPER MOON, but its slow burn gets one. Its a great New York movie too taking in myriad locations, from the Algonquin Hotel to The Plaza, theres a blissful roller-skating sequence that goes on and on, the characters all grow on one, and there's nothing violent or ugly (on screen at any rate). Bogdanovich has such affection for all his characters that we feel it too, even though it takes ages to understand what is going on. Audrey Hepburn may be the star but she is off-screen for most of the first hour as we focus on Sam (Patti Hansen) who drives a big yellow taxi and takes a client to the heliport, where he greets a businessman, his wife (Audrey Hepburn) and son, who arrive in a helicopter. Sam also notices Ben Gazzara, also there keeping tabs on the arrivals. They all drive back to the city but their paths will criss-cross many times. 
John Ritter is adorable here as Charles, the clunky other detective (Bogdanovich says in the 25th Anniversary edition, that Ritter plays a younger version of himself, and one can see that, left). Colleen Camp grates initially as the annoying country singer, but we get to like her too, and her endless referring to Charles's name. Dorothy Stratten is certainly attractive as the object of Charles's desire. Then Audrey comes back into the picture, as the industrialist's wife, who gets close with Gazzara. (She and Gazzara had an affair when they made BLOODLINE in '78). It is wonderful seeing Audrey again here, and the other women are fascinating too. I just read that Hansen (the taxi driver) is married to Keith Richards! It is a shame that Ritter (the son of legendary singer Tex Ritter) died so young at 54 in 2003. Stratten of course was killed by her jealous ex-husband. Bogdanovich covers all that in the dvd interview with fellow director Wes Anderson. She of course was the subject of Fosse's STAR 80 which I have not seen. (Audrey died in 1993, Gazzara in 2012, RIP label).  

Bogdanovich may have peaked as a director, but his books on Hollywood folk - PIECES OF TIME, and WHO THE HELL IS IN IT? are fascinating reads on classic hollywood, as he knew them all. 

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