|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Index||14 reviews in total|
Moving film about three quirky characters (an epileptic, a paraplegic homosexual, and a facially-scarred party girl) living together in Massachusetts and the fish-market salesman who comes to love them. Otto Preminger directed, and he shows unexpected sensitivity towards just about everyone here, especially epileptic Ken Howard, a little boy in a man's body who gets great care by the filmmaker. Liza Minnelli is the film's star, and if she occasionally falls back on her trademark razzmatazz (with a little Broadway inflection), that's OK because Junie Moon is supposed to be wild and goosey, and Liza's theatrics are suitable. A sweet, slowly-paced story with humor and pathos picks up when the gang vacations at the beach and the gay man (celebrated stage director Robert Moore) falls for a stunning black beach boy (Fred Williamson, making a strong impression)--and yet ends up making love to an equally stunning black woman?? It doesn't all come together, but it does feature superb performances, melancholy folk music (which grows on you) and some extremely well-written and well-directed moments. Marjorie Kellogg penned the script from her own novel, and it is nearly verbatim (if you like one, try the other). An interesting attempt at something a little different--and it works. ***1/2 from ****
This movie may not be on a list somewhere of Liza Minnelli's best films
or Otto Preminger's or one of Kay Thompson(Liza's Godmom)or James
Coco's best efforts. I do think it ranks high on a list of one of the
best movies about introverts ever made. That it wasn't a box office or
critical success doesn't matter. Nor that it did nothing to advance the
careers of anyone connected to it.
But I think TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME, JUNIE MOON deserves a special place with audiences who love quirky movies that go where other movies dare not go. Think of Altman's BREWSTER McCLOUD or Hal Ashby's HAROLD AND MAUD, for instance. Movies that deal with characters most others would call misfits because they are different or eccentric.
One, for example, is a gay man. For a 1970 film, this is rare to say the least. But to make him a disabled gay man trapped in a wheel chair due to an accident is a revelation. I can't imagine another such character either before or since this film came along. Another revelation is a disfigured woman, played by Minnelli, and not seen on the screen in a leading role since Joan Crawford in Cukor's A WOMAN'S FACE. Both of these characters completely dominate JUNIE MOON. They are truly amusing in using their wit to cope with an unkind world. The third eccentric is an epileptic, played by Ken Howard. His performance is the weakest of the three and this, unfortunately, weakens the overall impact. Had this part been cast better, honors would have come its way to be sure. The scene where the handicapped guy can't negotiate the smallness of his bathroom is a gem. Another is the vacation scene where these three descend on a hapless hotel staff. Another where a naive woman is seduced by three hunky members of an art colony is captivating.
This movie sparked controversy because of a scene where two people are having sex in a cemetery. A real graveyard is used and relatives of the dead buried there balked and so a lawsuit ensued. But knowing this to be an Otto Preminger film...that is not so strange(recall THE MOON IS BLUE and MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM). Preminger ate up such controversy. No doubt such headlines added to his film's box office. JUNIE MOON is his weirdest movie, but far from his worst. None of the films after this one are even half as good. Even Saul Bass, whose title drawings are a trade mark for Preminger films, excels in it.
Judy Garland died while Liza was filming her part in this. A year later she began work on her greatest role, that of Sally Bowles in Fosse's CABARET. While both her roles in these films are about introverted and unstable vulnerable women...CABARET is the first where she gets to show her strongest suit: that of a musical performer whose star power is as good as her mother's. Her work in CABARET solidified her image as a singer and dancer the way FUNNY GIRL did it for Streisand. While TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME, JUNIE MOON may not be legendary, it still boasts having a legend in it.
Junie Moon is an interesting friendship movie. Great unusual characters that band together and help each other. Junie becomes terribly disfigured from a mean man. She finds herself relying on other people with there own special problems. The characters will grow on you. Good acting, directing, and decent sets. It has been years since I saw it at the theater. I still have never forgot it because of the types of people and how they dealt with their personal problems. I would definitely buy it if it was available on DVD. Not appropriate for young children. Some adult situations. To bad it isn't out on video of any kind. Until it is check out "The Station Manager", another great unusual friendship movie.
Junie Moon is a great movie - way before it's time as was Valley of the Dolls which is a classic. Maybe Capboy watched Junie Moon too Late into the night and missed the whole point!!!! Junie Moon will always be one my favorite movie of all time!
I'm a big Liza fan, and this is certainly an unusual departure for her, but I find "Junie Moon" hard to take seriously. My first exposure to it was on The Late Show; I thought then it was a camp classic right up there with "Valley of the Dolls". It has not aged well; Preminger's direction is ham-handed and obvious, and most of the performances are waaay over-the-top. Still, there are delights: Kay Thompson (way waaaaaaaay over-the-top in her last movie), Fred Williamson as a gigolo, Julie Bovasso "pantsing" Ken Howard and of course, Miss Minnelli, probably miscast but giving it her all. Here's another potential cult item languishing in Paramount's vaults that really should be released on video--my video store guy told me this is one of the most requested titles of movies not yet available. Who knew?
Since I found out today that Pete Seeger died, I have been watching much of his work here on the internet. Earlier today, I watched a couple of his short films on Internet Archive. Now, I just watched this obscure major studio feature film from 1970 in which he appeared at the beginning and end singing the film's theme, "Old Devil Time". Those were his only appearances. The movie proper concerns the title character (Liza Minnelli) whose face is scarred and her friendship with a paraplegic (Robert Moore) and an epileptic (Ken Howard). I admit to being partially confused by much of the beginning especially when they did flashbacks and dream sequences. But, by the time they went on vacation, I was glad I stayed in viewing this. There are quite some funny and touching moments in those vacation scenes. It's too bad it's not available on DVD. I managed to watch this on YouTube. Directed by Otto Preminger and written by Marjorie Kellogg from her novel. So on that note, I recommend Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. R.I.P. Mr. Seeger
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Something tells me that if this film had been made in the 1940's, it
might have been considered "pro-Communist". Three young people with
different issues get together and rent a dilapidated house where they
can feel accepted and support each other when times get really rough.
Insensitive neighbors create all sorts of problems for them, but even
though they take a beating along the road, they definitely make it
through the wilderness. Each of their stories are told in detail, from
the facially scarred Liza Minnelli, the wheel-chair bound Robert Moore
and the handsome Ken Howard who suffers from epilepsy.
Liza's opening sequence, recalling her scarring at the hands of sex fiend suitor Ben Piazza, is truly frightening, and it is disturbing to watch her seemingly willingly disrobe in front of him then become his target of vengeance after she lightly teases him about it. Moore is a gay man with paralyzed legs, raised by obvious gay men after his mother took off to Argentina, and Howard is troubled by seizures even though he seems quite normal on the surface. When he gets a job working in James Coco's fish shop, a nasty neighbor accuses him of being a sodomite and gets him fired. There's no real plot to hold all their stories together other than their support of each other, but even in spite of the weird situations and "mod" feel of the film, it all ends up being pretty touching and especially extremely well acted.
While Howard manages to fall in love with Liza, it's a bittersweet feeling for her. "Something happened to me and I don't think that I could love a man ever again", she says, paralleling her real life and also the fact that during the filming of this, her mother Judy Garland died, adding to the intensity of her performance. Like Pookie Adams from "The Sterile Cuckoo", Junie Moon is a girl desperate for love (she obviously doesn't get much from her mother who is seen briefly prior to the horrible acid attack) yet she is not just physically and emotionally scarred, but on the verge of becoming one of the walking dead should one more heartbreak attack her soul. Her large eyes scream in both character and real life, "Please love me!", and this becomes so horrifyingly realistic that her performance is both heart-felt and scary.
Liza actually asks Ken Howard, "What would I do with sequins?" when he promises to buy her a sequined dress. To top off her "drag-queen" off-screen persona, there's Kay Thompson as the eccentric wealthy landlady who in her first scene looks like a World War I pilot in drag, reminding me very much of Rosalind Russell in "Oh, Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung you in the Closet, and I'm Feeling so Sad". The scene with her and Moore and a very large cross was rather bizarre, but then this was Otto Preminger during the days of "Skidoo" and "Such Good Friends" which were even more bizarre than this! Then, there's the surprising presence of Fred Williamson as a gay man known as "beach boy" who flirts with Moore, a far cry from all those "Blaxploitation" movies he later appeared in.
The recurring use of Pete Seeger's song "Old Devil Time" is very touching, and it's one of those late 1960's/early 70's movie themes that has to be heard in the context of the film. There's all sorts of other surprises, whether it be veteran actress Anne Revere as a hospital social worker, T.V. veteran Nancy Marchand in a cameo as a nurse, and the delightfully sweet black character actress Clarice Taylor as the patient in bed next to Liza who later visits the threesome's house. This isn't a film for all tastes (were any of Preminger's post 1960?), but it is one you'll never forget and one that will touch you deeply if you open up your heart enough to let it.
Having portrayed Arthur in the play, the movie extraordinarily helped
me out. The three freaks, one a female, struggle to live outside of the
hospital life. Junie, Arthur, and Warren. Junie, a sweet-hearted kind
person, struggles with the deformity of her face. Arthur, the big kid
at heart, is brave, despite his failing health. And, Warren, an "all
about beauty" kind of guy, tries to be the most elegant person he can,
using "high type" words. This is the most unusual love story I have
ever heard of, better yet, acted in.
I highly recommend this movie, it shows that there is, "Maybe something the rest of us don't take time to look for."
I never got to see the end and have been looking for this movie ever since. I am a BIG Liza fan. How can I let Paramount know that I would buy this if available on video? I recall it as sad and funny, with very quirky characters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not awful but is unbelievably downbeat. What attracted director Otto Preminger to such dour material is a mystery. Liza Minnelli plays the eponymous heroine, a girl whose face has been scarred by a psychotic boyfriend. She teams up with paraplegic Robert Moore and epileptic Ken Howard and sets up house. The trio face various bigots, eccentrics and the occasional sympathetic stranger. It's virtually plot less and very unevenly acted. Minnelli & Howard are fine, but Moore, in the showiest role, is extremely hammy. James Coco appears briefly and Kay Thompson steals a few scenes as the trio's wacky landlady. Much of it is filmed at night (badly) and a lot of action is obscured due to bad lighting. Preminger really stumbles here (and not in the outrageous SKIDOO way). The film is bookended by Pete Seeger performing a folk song in what looks like the woods of the Northwest (though the film is clearly set on north shore of Massachussetts).
|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|