Lucky Lady (1975)
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In a word it's the script. When ideas run out an action sequence is implanted to try and throw the viewer off. Nice try fellas but it didn't work.
Even the main story is just brushed over. An often intimated threesome with the main leads is just a tease. It's never explored and only serves to wet our appetite for something that might liven this mess up. Alas, it never comes.
Released at Christmas in 1975 "Lucky Lady" proved to be a major box office flop. It's easy to see why. I'm sure no one connected with the film is too pleased to be reminded of it.
The film has the distinction of having had, if memory serves, three different endings. I saw the first in previews. A real curve ball in which the male leads get killed and Minelli is left bereft. They went back to the drawing board and the movie premiered with a tacked on scene shot much later which involved the three stars, with the tackiest of make-up jobs, rolling around in a bed in their "elderly" years. From what I can tell by watching it recently, they dropped that entirely and simply cut together some outtakes which they ran under the credits which give us the impression that everybody ended up okay.
There was also this mid-70's technique of film "flashing" which involved pre-exposing the stock to give the film a lighter, airier look. Taken to ridiculous extremes here, it almost looks as if someone just scratched up the lens faces with a Brillo pad.
The story is a bit choppy and uneven. The editing is smooth and clean. The costumes and props are all first-rate. The acting is good, but not great.
The climactic "battle scene" is a whopper. Sort of like something Yakima Canutt would do, except it is on water. Great Second Unit work, to be sure.
It is not really a love story, and the bedroom scenes are stuffy and over-rehearsed. You are not really sure who is in love with whom, but it does not matter.
Robby Benson has a good little role, he went to some good character work.
I want to get a DVD of this film and soon.
One complaint was that the final boat battle was a rip-off of the James Bond battles. Who cares, as long as it's done well--in fact Mr. Donen should have been approached to do some of the Bonds after this movie.
I may have seen the movie on tv shortly after its release. I don't remember if i liked it as much, seeing it on tv wasn't quite the same. I don't know if I would like it as much now either, but I would certainly be interested in seeing it on video. As another person commented, so much dreck is being released on DVD, I don't see why Lucky Lady shouldn't be made available. At least it tried to be a class act, which is more than you can say for many of today's releases.