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To achieve maximum realism, Ulu Grosbard insisted that Dustin Hoffman appear live at the now-shuttered rock palace Fillmore East. Cameras captured the reaction of the regular Friday night audience gathered for an actual Grateful Dead concert. See more »
Harry Kellerman was a most unfulfilling film for me, as unfulfilling as Dustin Hoffman found his life to be in this movie. Hoffman plays a successful rock composer who is going through a mid life crisis and finds all of a sudden in his middle Thirties he's not a really happy guy despite all the money in the world and the toys that money can buy. His best time is flying his private plane, talk about toys.
For some reason I couldn't get into this film or feel any kind of sympathy for Hoffman's character of George Soloway. Hoffman's best friend seems to be his analyst Jack Warden, hamming it up in his best Viennese accent. Dustin has more real and imagined time with Warden than anyone else in the film. In fact Warden functions as an alter ego for him, more inside his head than in real life on the couch.
The last straw for Hoffman seems to be some mysterious dude named Harry Kellerman who for some reason is calling up all of Hoffman's friends of both sexes and badmouthing him all over the place. As his relationships crumble all around him, Hoffman goes on a frantic manhunt for Kellerman.
With all the imaginary sequences in this film, if you can't figure out who Harry Kellerman is before a quarter of the film is over you haven't seen too many films at all. Think a kinder, gentler Fight Club.
Hoffman does the best he can to make some coherent sense out of his character, but in the end he's not someone I care terribly about. Rose Gregorio as his ex-wife, David Burns as his father, and Gabriel Dell as his cheerfully hedonistic songwriting partner are the best in the film.
Barbara Harris as a woman who seems to have as much angst as Hoffman got an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, she lost in the Oscar sweepstakes to Cloris Leachman for The Last Picture Show, an infinitely better film. Harris's character is interesting, she represents a last chance for Hoffman at love. She has her problems, but without as much money, she seems to be coping a lot better. Another reason for me to not care about Hoffman's George Soloway.
The ambiance of the early Seventies rock scene is captured well. Would that George Soloway in Harry Kellerman be someone you could actually get worked up over.
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