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|Index||54 reviews in total|
What a delightful movie! I don't think its aged one bit. Sure the clothes
different, the latest self-help fads are different, the priorities are
much still resonates today. The relationship between love and sex and
and friends. Human desire, and commitment are timeless topics, and they
explored with great wit and panache in this thoroughly entertaining movie.
the dialogue! Many scenes purely consist of the twists and turns of
people in verbal games--some of the scenes feel like being in a verbal
amusement park, going up and down roller-coasters of clever and surprising
dialogue. The funny moments are priceless: the tennis instructor asking for a glass of Pernod, Dyan Cannon in the therepist's office--probably the funniest and most perceptive take on the "therepy experience" ever shown on film-- (along with Kirstie Alley's therapist melt-down scene in Woody Allen's
"Deconstructing Harry"), the opening group therapy session in the beautiful
California countryside, that first dinner in the restaurant with Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice all declaring their love for each other in front of the table of bemused gay diners--it is a film filled with endless, perceptive and highly
amusing details. Its a terrific entertainment. (One last comment--Dyan Cannon lights up the screen everytime she appears, with her sexy persona, her high
spirits, her warmth and generosity, and that truly infectious laugh!)
I love this movie. Although some people may classify it as "dated," the
concepts that it deals with are worth exploring today. How honest are we
one another? How often do we actually look at people? And what is
From its opening shots (tooling up PCH in a cool car) to its closing ones (people really looking at each other), it's a true work of art. The beginning truly captures the free and concept-expanding atmosphere that is the Esalen Institute, which itself has not changed much since then. Screen goddess Natalie Wood, in one of her best roles, inhabits the honesty and sexual freedom that is Carol. Robert Culp is a strong counterpart to her as Bob. The more repressed couple, Eliott Gould and Dyan Cannon, are perfect.
Along the way, they explore the boundaries of sexuality, monogamy and friendship, and realize that some lines are better left uncrossed. To me, it puts a very fine point on what was going on in the 60s, and where exactly we went wrong.
SEE THIS FILM. It'll give you insight. Promise.
B&C&T&A is still entertaining and has a number of funny scenes. Two of my favorites are the opening scene at the Esalen Institute, and Alice's session with her psychiatrist. The cast,particularly Dyan Cannon (Best Supporting Actress- NY Film Critics)and Elliot Gould, is perfect. B&C&T&A really do seem like couples and friends. It's Natalie Wood's best adult film role, and arguably her best film performance:she's never been more natural or at ease in front of the camera. Robert Culp never had a better role or vehicle. The film marked Mazursky's directorial debut, and it's probably his best film. The final scene in front of the Riviera Hotel in Vegas, recalls the "looking" exercise at the Institute, and was influenced by the parade at end of Felini's "81/2". Therefore, I give the film an 81/2 out of 10. Rent(or buy) the DVD and listen to the commentary with Cannon,Culp,Gould and Mazursky. Did you know that Leif Garrett plays Bob and Carol's son, and that Culp's "I Spy" costar, Bill Cosby, appears briefly(don't blink) in a scene at a club? The film has aged better than Midnight Cowboy, Z, Butch Cassidy, Hello Dolly and Anne of the Thousand Days,the films nominated for Best Picture of 1969. B&C&T&A feels more representative of the 60's than The Graduate, and is definitely worth seeing.
One of the best of 1969 with Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon at their sexiest.
Perfect casting, great story, and Mazursky's best film. I know the critics
were split on this one, but it came out at the right time and it holds up
today. What's not to like about this? Elliott Gould was never more
befuddled, Dyan Cannon's best acting when she was gorgeous, Robert Culp's
only decent movie, and Natalie Wood was born to play Carol.
Certainly a 9 out 10! Mazursky would never again be so in touch with the times and the ending is NOT a cop-out! Check this out. Great stuff! Even the encounter session scenes have the ring of truth for that sort of thing. This movie is great!
I rented this movie because I remembered one scene from 35 years ago. I
was astounded to see that the whole movie holds up very well. The 4
leads are terrific (Natalie Wood and Dyan Canon are beautiful, by the
way, and Robert Culp hits just the right note with his "sensitive-new-
age-guy" hip/naive performance) and you can see director Paul
Mazursky's touch with what seems to be stretches of impromptu dialog I
The movie also does a great job of balancing drama with farce, superficiality with intimacy.
The scenes at the Esalen-type retreat start at as spoof but evolve into real empathy. Parenthetically, check out the fashions in this film. There is one scene in a discotheque that Mazursky must have known even then would be a source of laughter and certainly, today, it's a hoot.
Any film made during the "Swinging Sixties" is almost sure to look silly
us today - a plethora of "groovy man"s as well as doped-up pontifications
about "letting it all hang out" and becoming one of the "beautiful
all served up with garish camera tricks and gaudy production design. You
know, "Austin Powers" but without the wink-wink knowingness.
(NOTE: To see how a so-called "classic" can be killed by the passage of time - and the absence of pharmaceuticals in one's system - check out "Easy Rider". That is, if you can stand it.)
On the surface, "B&C&T&A" seems to be in line with such films: it is, after all, how a quartet of middle class "squares" become indoctrinated into the hippie values of free love and "doing your own thing." However, the film uses that set-up as a means to deflate - gently and good naturedly - those very values. For, as the group becomes more uninhibited and "with it," the more goofy and ridiculous they all seem. This is particularly true of Robert Culp and Natalie Wood (Bob and Carol), as they take on the hippie philosophy full-bore and unquestionably. Casting here is impeccable: seeing the square-jawed, All-American looking Culp (then the epitome of middle-brow, as star of "I Spy") utter lines straight out of the Dennis Hopper - Peter Fonda playbook is just unutterably funny; he's got the words all right, but the music is woefully wrong. Same thing with Natalie Wood; can there be anyone more whitebread than her? The more she attempts to be "groovy" the more perfectly square she seems, particularly as Carol appears to just be parroting everything her husband says and does in adopting this new lifestyle. Quite the opposite of "liberation", wouldn't you say?
Perhaps funnier, though, are Elliot Gould and Dyan Cannon as Ted and Alice, since they get to register all the (comic) shock and horror of their friends' complete abandonment of rationality. And the equally strong undercurrents of jealousy that their friends are getting to enjoy all the freedom and sexual gratification that they themselves, as good well-behaved members of society - are missing out on. Cannon's neurotic sessions with her psychiatrist - where she continually broaches, and then backs off of, what's really troubling her - provide wonderful moments of comic denial and delusion.
What the film ultimately exposes is the moral vacuity of much of the hippie philosophy - that happiness and feeling good about oneself are not all there is to life, and that focusing too narrowly on them leads ultimately to emptiness. It also makes the subtle point, however, that much of what might initially have been good about hippie thought (or at least, the thoughts of those who inspired the hippies in the first place) was oversimplified and thereby corrupted when the middle class tried to incorporate it, seizing only upon those elements of it which seemed "fun" or "a turn-on" to them. Let's face it: how much of the so-called Woodstock Nation really had any deep political or philosophical commitments; most were just middle class kids turned on to the immediate buzz of easy drugs, free sex, and rebellion for its own sake. Likewise, cosmetic changes such as longer hair or listening to rock'n'roll didn't necessarily change the minds or policies of many in the power structure. As John Lennon said in 1971: "The Sixties didn't change anything. The same b***ards are in power now, it's just they've all got long hair."
I don't mean to suggest that the film gets into issues like this directly; it is never less than a pleasant and even sunny comedy. But these issues in a very real way undergird the film and make it ahead of its time. Released in 1969, "Bob, Carol et al. . ." displays a jaundiced attitude about the counterculture - at least, the middle-class *embrace* of the counterculture - that wouldn't come widely into vogue until at least a decade later. Indeed, the film almost seems contemporary in its bemused and dismissive view of Sixties mores. Austin Powers fans would do well to check it out.
The pay-off, it seems to me, is in the fact that at the moment when the
enthusiastic couple and the reluctant couple submit to the full and
unfettered concept of free love, they finally realize the truth that no
matter how much love and social freedom they feel towards their dearest
friends, there are still some areas of human experience that are best
private and intimate.
So, rather charmingly, they decide that however hip they seem and wish to appear, deep down they are as old fashioned as you and me !
Malcolm McDougall - ( child of the sixties )
This is a grainy, sun-drenched, hippy farce. An examination of whether
married relationships can withstand/be improved by free love - it seems
almost a parody of itself, showing how a bunch of rich LA types have
on the peace and love bandwagon and are riding it out of existence. Like
revolutions though, it had become (main)streamlined by movies like this,
as such was about to burn out. It's 1969 and the end of the line for the
hippy ideal. So this movie accurately depicts where the movement had
to (but is this intentional?). The film itself is a dreamy, bizarre,
occasionally amusing, often boring, sex farce.
keeping in mind how long this movie has survived and to find that its continuing popularity seemingly intact. it was (and remains) a brisk paced "fun, and funny" movie that still holds up in this somewhat jaded time we now live in - most viewers today would not have a clue how racy this movie was thought to be at its first showing way back in 1969. I can still remember my wife and I discussing the movie for weeks after first viewing it - with a little bit of embarrassment but over-all just plain laughter!! In fact, sometimes at parties we would "do some of the lines" which were hysterical and generally referred to by our friends as raunchy. thinking back it really fun to elicit the red faces from our friends - still makes me chuckle even after all these years - thanks for the opportunity of sharing this information with those who haven't seen it - its worth much more than the price of admission.
I found this film at a video store and immediately rented it out of
curiosity. It stars Robert Culp, Natalie Wood, Elliot Gould, and Dyan
Cannon as the namesakes respectively. I remember when I was a kid this
came out in 1969 so I really did not know anything about it other than it
was supposed to be some kind of "sex comedy".
Well being an adult now and renting it, I found that it basically deals with 2 married couples, the ages of which suggest upper 30's to me. They decide to experimentally partake of the late 60's climate of free love, drugs, etc. I think that is where the film is supposed to derive its humor from.
Instead, the film plays like prolonged unfunny sketches on "Saturday Night Live" which they save for the end of the broadcast. However, I was compelled to keep watching the film to see what would be the result of their "experiment" The film did have some funny moments such as Elliot Gould fantasizing about a marital affair and Dyan Cannon at the shrink.
I give the film credit since I could not figure out what the ending would be like and was somewhat surprised by it when it happened. There is a second part of the ending right before the credits roll which still has me confused though. Overall, an OK film in my opinion.
Side Note: Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon look pretty hot in this movie so if your a male like myself and always found these woman attractive, its a must rental !
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