Sheila Levine is a Jewish-American princess and a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. An innovative, bright, but painfully introverted individual, she comes to New York City with her mother...
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Sidney J. Furie
Billy Dee Williams,
Sheila Levine is a Jewish-American princess and a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. An innovative, bright, but painfully introverted individual, she comes to New York City with her mother and father to take an apartment with a nightclub-hopping roommate. Persuaded to go to a nightclub one night, she meets a doctor named Sam Stoneman who is on the hunt for a one-night stand. Sheila develops an intense attraction towards Sam who seemingly is attracted to Sheila's desperately flirtatious roommate. She returns to Harrisburg for a time and comes back to win the heart of Sam only to discover that he has been conned into an engagement with her ex-roommate. Meanwhile, stalwart Sheila quickly climbs the ladder at her job as a "office-singer/typist" for a record company. Written by
Where is this movie? its an unsung New York classic.
HBO in the 1970s kindled my still vibrant love for movies in a powerful way. Being able to view movies you never heard of or wouldn't have ventured out to see even if you had gave this young guy a thorough education of film.
SHEILA LEVINE IS DEAD AND LIVING IN NEW YORK left an indelible impression on me. I still - 27 years later-remember certain scenes, especially Sheila dancing with a broom to a song I think was called "Love Me or Love People" and her talk with Roy Scheider. Every review I've read of this film lambasted it and called it the death of Academy Award nominee Jeanne Berlin's(for THE HEARTBREAK KID) career. To this impressionable 12 year old Italian boy who was a sickly child. Ms. Berlins shattering, stammering performance is burned ion my head. She was as alien a creature to me as E.T. was and like that little rubber puppet made me feel sorry and commiserate with her plight of being an outcast so strongly that it inadvertently helped ms cope with my own problems. Its a great, full fledged performance. Its as if Jeanne Berlin's character of the pathetic wife in HEARTBREAK left to be on her own in the big city. This and HEARTBREAK KID should be watched in tandem to get the full effect of an incredible one two acting punch.
Of course my review here is based on feelings and I would love to watch it again through 39 year old eyes and review it again as a film rather than as a memory. I may than agree with the critics about its screenplay(which I remember as being thin) and its murky look(very dark cinematography) but will positively not budge on my perception on Ms. Berlins landmark performance. I would love to see it as a film and experience its charms all over again. Me and my broomstick are waiting. Hopefully Paramount will reunite me with a dear old friend.
Amazon Instant Video (a great resource for 70s film buffs)had this up for sale about 2 years ago. I purchased it immediately (sadly it-like vLOOKING FOR MR GOODBAR and LITTLE DARLINGS are no longer available)-and have it permanently in my pc. The Paramount transfer is good-and while I still do not think of this movie as the diisaster critics of the day thought-I do see its shortcomings. Roy Scheiders zombielike performance makes you wonder what Levine saw in him. Or was it the old "marry a doctor (or fill in blank)" scenario? His lackluster performance nearly kills the film more than Berlins (the critics interpretation-not mine). The song still stays with you-and upon hearing it for the first time in over 30 years-its everything about the song I remember. I was pleasantly surprised how nice the score in general was. The cinematography, the ratchety editing and the thin screenplay add to this films myth of being one of the worst of its year. I still am not of the critics thinking, and now that this film is part of my collection-I haven't seen THE LAST OF SHEILA-but thats for another review.
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