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Starts with Kirk Douglas in a nut house, isn't that just perfect? He is allowed out to take over an American movie in trouble being shot on location in Rome - well that's beyond perfection - And a total guarantee of 100 or so minutes of decadent splendor. The director and his wife, played at the edge of the abyss, by Edward G Robinson and Claire Trevor deserve a film of their own. Douglas does his thing as if we had never seen it before and thank God for that because it works in the most satisfying way. Minnelli knew what he was doing and those modern Roman parties with the glittering Italian aristocrats is out of a Fellini film. Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton and Vito Scotti are also part of this tabloid tale told by a master. Highly recommended.
Trying to repeat their success in The Bad and the Beautiful with the
same studio MGM, director Vincent Minnelli and actor Kirk Douglas give
another go at the fabulous world of film making. This time though MGM
sprung for color and a location shooting in Rome, the other town the
title is referring to.
If Tyrone Power were alive he might have sued MGM because I believe Kirk Douglas's character of Jack Andrus is based on him and the relationship he had with producer Darryl Zanuck and second wife Linda Christian. In her days Linda was quite the party animal, as much as Cyd Charisse portrays here.
The Zanuck character is a director named Maurice Krueger played by Edward G. Robinson. Changing him from a producer to a director probably saved a whole lot of legal fees.
Very simply the plot is that washed up film actor Douglas who is in a high priced alcoholic asylum as the film opens receives an offer from his former director Robinson to come to Rome to help him with a film that threatens to run behind schedule. Douglas comes to Rome and becomes quite indispensible to Robinson, especially after Robinson suffers a heart attack and Douglas has to finish the film.
His hedonistic ex-wife Charisse is also in Rome among many other temptations. It all works out for Douglas, but not quite in the way he would have thought.
Best performance in the film in my opinion is that of Claire Trevor who is Robinson's shrewish wife, based very much on Darryl Zanuck's wife Virginia.
According to the Films of Kirk Douglas, both Minnelli and Douglas were disappointed in how the film turned out. It certainly doesn't measure up to The Bad and the Beautiful. Douglas blamed it on a botched editing job. That maybe so, but my own opinion is that the Code was still in place in 1962 and maybe had this been done ten years later, certain things could have been made far more explicit to the audiences.
Two Weeks in Another Town is still quite a curiosity, catch it if you can.
No one has mentioned the magnificent performance of George Macready as the agent, nor the devastating scene near the beginning of the film where he and Douglas have a chance encounter at an airport. To put it politely, in that scene Macready takes Douglas to task for past failures...it is one of the most brutal bits in all film history. Macready always knew how to make his mark, no matter how small the role! I recently enjoyed seeing him in his third film, The Story of Doctor Wassell, where he had a very small part as a Dutch army officer...striking and vivid, and that smooth chilly voice of his has never been equaled in all of filmdom.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Few movies contain so much talent and end up being as ridiculous as TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN. Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, George Hamilton, and Cyd Charisse head the cast as decadent Hollywood types in Rome to make a movie. What that movie's about is anyone's guess, but the melodrama played out behind the scenes is an over-the-top train wreck directed by the great Vincente Minnelli. The out of control drive through the streets of Rome by Douglas and Charisse is priceless. Trevor, pulling out all the stops as Robinson's shrike of a wife, reprises her drunken blowser role from KEY LARGO. Hamilton plays an actor (a very real stretch that he does NOT pull off). James Gregory, George McCready, and Daliah Lavi are in it too. A camp classic.
I hadn't seen this one since its theatrical release and note that it's
not available on video. But Turner Classic Movies unearthed it a while
ago, letter-boxed as it deserves and as they so reliably do with
No one was better than Minnelli when it came to taking pure "camp" elements and turning them into the kind of cinematic excess that had to be seen to be believed. This one is a prime example. As a Cyd Charisse devotee, I wasn't even disappointed that she didn't get to unfurl those legendary legs and dance across the CinemaScope screen. Made up, coiffed and gowned to look like Delphine Seyrig in "Last Year at Marienbad"(1961), she looks exactly like the sort of vamp who could drive Kirk Douglas to absolute distraction. With Claire Trevor, at her best, sparring bitterly with the immortal Edward G. Robinson; George Hamilton doing an earnest impression of a Method actor (none too good, I'll agree); and Leslie Uggams crooning a siren song whilst reclining amidst the ladies of the evening in a deluxe Roman brothel...well! It just HAS to be seen to be (dis)believed! Luvved it!
You gotta love the title "Two Weeks in Another Town." It's fabulous. As
for the movie...it's a big budget, sprawling color extravaganza that's
either a sequel or a prequel to "The Bad and the Beautiful" depending
upon whom you speak to. Kirk Douglas stars as Jack, a has-been,
alcoholic actor who, fresh from the asylum, is summoned to Rome by his
guru, the director Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson). Also in Rome is
the wife that drove Jack into an alcoholic stupor, the seductive
Carlotta (Cyd Charisse). Initially all Jack is to do is direct the
dubbing of Kruger's film so he can finish on time and satisfy the
Italian producer - but things become more involved.
I can't agree with one comment that this is the veiled story of Tyrone Power, Linda Christian, and Darryl F. Zanuck, with circumstances changed to protect the guilty. Certainly the promiscuity aspects are similar; Ty took up with Anita Ekberg, magazine editor Mary Roblee, etc., and Linda, well-known for her exploits like the Cyd Charisse character, had an affair with Edmund Purdom. And Power was certainly tied to Zanuck. However, the story is pretty Hollywood generic; one could probably make the case for other actors' marriages and connection to directors and/or producers.
"Two Weeks" is also way over the top, which is what Minnelli intended: old Roman gluttony. It's a feast of scenery, big acting, and a wild, dramatic story, which peaks with Douglas and Charisse in a fast car careening through Rome.
Kirk Douglas is great as an actor returning to his past, only to find there's nothing there of use. Robinson turns in a excellent performance as a tough yet insecure director who cheats on his emotionally abusive and abused wife yet depends on her like a child its mother. Trevor as the wife is appropriately hurt, angry, and downright vicious. George Hamilton plays an up and coming actor - as one comment noted, this is a stretch; he doesn't really register. Charisse gets costar billing but doesn't have much to do but laugh evilly, wear glamorous clothes, and look seductive. She succeeds.
"Two Weeks in Another Town" is certainly worth a look, though it was hard for this viewer to connect with any of the characters. I think it stands alone as neither a prequel or sequel to "The Bad and the Beautiful" as a story of what it's like to make films in another time - and in another town.
Vincente Minnelli's film version bears little resemblance to Irwin Shaw's novel of the same name, not that there's anything wrong with that. This movie belongs on the second half of a double feature with "The Carpetbaggers" as a guilty pleasure I can't resist watching. It spoofs the difficulties American directors had in making quality movies overseas when European producers expressed no interest in quality, only profit. This is a lesser alternative to Fellini's "8 1/2" and Godard's "Contempt," which explored the same theme, and its trashiness is expressed perfectly with footage from "The Bad and the Beautiful," another Minnelli-Douglas collaboration. Favorite line, Edward G. Robinson to Douglas regarding George Hamilton: "He's crazier on the loose than you were locked up."
A film of love and hate.Between the fallen actor and his aging
director;between the director and his hysterical wife;between Carlotta
and her former husband;between the young actor and the old one.In a
nutshell, an intense melodrama in the vein of these Minnelli
extravaganzas ("some came running" "home from the hill" and
particularly "the four horsemen of the Apocalypse" -remember the famous
scene where the whole family is gathered around the table while a storm
Minnelli had already broached Hollywood before in "the bad and the beautiful" the ending of which was one of the most ferocious I know.Excerpts of this 1952 work are used here with stunning results.Douglas watching himself when he was supposed to be young and famous recalls Gloria Swanson watching her silent movies (with her former director Von Stroheim now her butler) in "Sunset Boulevard".
But it's Cinecitta now.A new Italian cinema is rising and Minnelli is aware of that.He had probably seen Fellini's and Antonioni's works and their influence emerge sometimes:Rosanna Schiaffino 's character reminds me of Anita Eksberg in "la dolce vita";the posh receptions have an Antonioni atmosphere("la notte").On the other hand,Douglas's mad drive might have influenced Fellini for his segment of "spirits of the dead" ,"Tobby Dammit" (1968).
But if the movie has a message ,it's this one:If you want somebody you can trust ,trust yourself.Stop hiding in the movie theaters (or in the films),as Douglas's character says to Schiaffino on the beach ,and get a life!
If you liked the "Bad & The Beautiful" with Kirk Douglas,( Jack Andrus) this picture is pretty close to the same story line, however, there is plenty of color, drama and romance. Great actors appear in this film, Edward G. Robinson,(Maurice Kruger), "The Red House" puts his heart and soul into the role and yells and screams his head off as a big shot movie director. Kirk Douglas still plays the role as an abusive drinker who is reformed and is placed in some rather difficult situations from actor to assistant director. Cyd Charisse, (Charlotta) adds plenty of sexy charm to the various scenes and George Hamilton, (Davie Drew) gives a great supporting role. For some reason over the years, I seemed to have missed viewing this film and found it quite enjoyable and also seeing how very young all the actors appeared in 1962. Enjoy
What the heck were they thinking? Oh, I get it: Take the success of "La
Dolce Vita", infuse it w/ the elements of a behind-the-scenes look into
the tawdry goings on of a troubled Hollywood production and transplant
it back to Rome (Say, "Cinecitta", boys and girls!). And for good
measure, have a director w/ an Italian sounding name take
responsibility for it.
Trashy camp only begins to describe the little seen(and therefore intriguing to self-confessed cinephiles--we have TCM to thank) "Two Weeks In Another Town"(1962), but what a gloriously colorful bit of camp it is. Director Vincente Minnelli is an acknowledged master of color and---I don't know what else. The dialog has to be heard to be believed("Don't swallow all those pills! The doctor will have to come up and pump your stomach. You know how much that sickens me!"). Everybody spits, dribbles and sweats acid in this movie. Need it be said that everyone overacts? It's a wonder anything at all was left of the scenery after they chewed it up! And having pretty boy George Hamilton play a knife-wielding bad boy is a bit much, no? One exception is the young Daliah Lavi who left the bad acting to the two other women principals (Cyd Charisse and Claire Trevor)and just let her natural charms show through. She's even more fetching here because she looks to have more meat on her bones than in her subsequent roles( The Detainer in the OTHER Casino Royale).
Kirk Douglas as the main character who gets to do the thankless job of saving a movie in trouble after its director(Edward G. Robinson) suffers a heart attack tries to do the same thing w/ this movie and barely succeeds. A plus, though, is that he tools around in(and gets to trash) a cool-looking Maserati convertible. Watching that car alone is worth it. As for the rest of the movie, it's like bad tabloid reportage. We know it's trash, but we can't keep our eyes off it!
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