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|Index||89 reviews in total|
Lots of laughs and some tense moments [which were hard to take seriously] as an adorable Goldie runs around in the cutest panic one can imagine. Chase was in good form as the slightly goofy cop and I couldn't help but love the 3 bumbling hit men. Almost a black comedy, but simply too hilarious for that title. Moore was superb as the jinxed sex pervo: and get a load of his 70's pad - a disco riot.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Kojak, Bang Bang!" "The albino works for the dwarf!" "She was one
With lines like that, you know you're not in the San Francisco of Jeanette MacDonald and Clark Gable anymore. This is "Tales of the City" era San Francisco when you may not have worn a flower in your hair, but you could enjoy some great people watching in Golden Gate Park or down near the Embarcadero, and try and stroll down Lombard street without being hit by either Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal on a hot dog cart with a suitcase filled with rocks or Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase on their way to save a world leader from a terrorist organization.
The gorgeous Goldie as at her screwball comedy best, a modern day Carole Lombard who works as a librarian and goes home to have dinner with her landlord and his pet snake, Esme, that is until the day police officer Chevy Chase comes into her life. He's assigned to protect her when she inadvertently gets her hands on some microfilm from a man she courageously picked up hitch-hiking. Having met at a party on the other side of the Golden Gate earlier (and not quite hit it off), that all changes now, and when Goldie is thrust into the middle of a federal investigation, she finds herself in dangers she never imagined she could be in.
During her adventure, Hawn runs into some of the oddest characters you would ever encounter: a horny orchestra conductor (Dudley Moore) with a gadget filled play-pen in his bachelor pad; the rough-and-tough "secretary" to the Bishop of San Francisco (Rachel Roberts); a sweet bible selling little person (Billy Barty) whom she mistakes for the villain known as the dwarf, and of course, the man with the scar and the albino, both dangerous hit men on the mission of all missions. Burgess Meredith is hysterically funny as the landlord with the snake. There's also a very amusing sequence with Goldie spying on two old ladies playing scrabble.
This is all concluded with one of the wackiest car chase sequences ever shot, along with "What's Up Doc?" and of course the more serious "Bullitt" utilizing as much of San Francisco's famous sights as it can. Then, there is the "Man Who Knew Too Much" spoof finale, one of the most bizarre productions of "The Mikado" ever staged with hysterical reactions by the cast and backstage personnel as the plot is wrapped up. Farce and screwball comedy really work when they surround a great plot, and "Foul Play" utilizes these elements very thoroughly. The classic Barry Manilow song "Ready to Take a Chance Again" is unforgettably heard here as Goldie drives back from Marin County into the city, the mountains and the city within distance. There's no chance to take here. Once you watch it, you will want to see it on a fairly regular basis over and over again.
This movie has everything...mystery...intrigue...a murder whodunit...comedy...romance. It has by far the funniest scene I have ever seen (the Japanese couple in the limo) and THE best on-screen kiss ever. It also has a crazy cast of characters, including dwarfs, albinos, double-crossing spies, corrupt cardinals, militant girlfriends, flirty conductors, black-belt seniors and foul-mouthed old ladies playing Scrabble. I guarantee you'll *never* see another movie like this...never laugh so hard as the first time you see it...and you'll also never forget to carry your umbrella for protection. Quick non-spoiler recap: Goldie Hawn plays Gloria, a young, cute, innocent librarian who "takes a chance" picking up a hitchhiker. It's a decision that changes her life forever...including her love life and life line. As a crew of criminal characters track her down to recover a clue to an impending murder --- hidden in an item Gloria doesn't even know she has --- a young, handsome, cute and clumsy detective, played by Chevy Chase, must repeatedly come to her rescue. The two fall in love while trying to solve a murder and prevent another one. There are dozens of hilarious and surprising plot twists and turns.
I have a certain nostalgic fondness for this silly but entertaining
movie, as I recall seeing it at least three times in the summer of 1978
when it was first released. Let me itemize the reasons. First, the late
director Colin Higgins had instant cachet with me for writing the
screenplay for one of my favorite movies, the 1971 cult classic "Harold
and Maude". Second, at 32, Goldie Hawn was just blooming into a
full-fledged comedy star and gaining a level of maturity that was most
becoming at the time. Third, Chevy Chase just quit after his first and
only season of "Saturday Night Live" and was showing off his
capabilities as a strapping leading man. Fourth, there is that damnably
catchy Barry Manilow ballad that opens the movie. All these elements
congeal into a featherweight concoction that is really a comic homage
to Alfred Hitchcock's most famous films from "The 39 Steps" to "North
Higgins pieces together a contrived story around a freshly divorced librarian named Gloria Mundy who decides to pick up a hitchhiker only to find him dead later when they meet at the movies. This starts a domino effect involving a killer albino, a couple of unrelated dwarfs and ultimately a conspiracy to kill the pope at a performance of "The Mikado" as a political statement against organized religion. She goes through several incredible episodes that challenge her dwindling credibility with the police except for the detective who is falling in love with her. It all ends with an unexpected karate match between two unlikely opponents, a series of careening vehicles maneuvering through the hilly streets of San Francisco and a backstage shootout while the opera is in progress. Even though there are really no genuine thrills, there are laughs along the way, for example, a rather blue Scrabble game between two senior citizens and a Japanese couple who think they are being filmed for an episode of "Kojak". It's all done with breakneck speed, which is a good thing since it doesn't give the viewer time to notice the numerous plot holes.
Fortunately, there is genuine chemistry between Hawn and Chase, even though in hindsight, Chase seems constrained by the straight-man detective role he is playing. None of his later smarmy "National Lampoon Vacation" personality is evident here, and there is a pratfall wedged into the movie just so we know it is indeed Chase. On the other hand, Hawn is, by turns, relaxed, resourceful and dizzy as the blonde in distress. In his first American movie, a hilarious Dudley Moore predates Austin Powers as a frisky Englishman who gets entangled with Gloria, first in a classic seduction scene in his porno-and-sex toy-filled apartment and then at a seedy massage parlor. Burgess Meredith dexterously plays Gloria's kindly landlord, and in an early role, Brian Dennehy makes a strong impression as a fellow detective. Twenty-seven years later, the movie feels dated and the stacked-deck approach of the plot never really generated that much suspense. But it has an antiquated charm that is still hard to resist.
Colin Higgins' Foul Play is probably one of the most underrated yet sensibly
plotted comedy thrillers I've ever witnessed. Also, it's a neat exercise in
Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) is an ex-divorcee now employed as a San Francisco librarian. Her ordinary life, once so simple and uninvolving, is about to be thrust into a series of unexpected events that somehow interfere with her right to simply be a person. At the basic heart of the tale is a sinister plot to assassinate the Pope. On a rainy night at a movie theatre, Gloria unwittingly receives a microfilm containing information that will explain the plot. Fearing for her safety, she contacts the police. Enter Lieutenant Tony Carlson (Chevy Chase), who with his partner Coleman (Brian Dennehy) is assigned to her case.
Before long, Gloria and Tony not only fall in love but also find themselves taking on unexpected challenges. The first of these is sex maniac Stanley Tibbets (Dudley Moore, making his first major U.S. film appearance), who gives Gloria a night to remember when the librarian, busily worrying about her pursuers, discovers Stanley's obsession with sex toys as we hear and see his one-man orgy, set to the Bee Gees' now-immortal "Stayin' Alive."
From there, it's a fast-paced series of twists and turns, from a 4'1"-tall Bible salesman (Billy Barty) to Gloria's python-keeping superintendent, Mr. Hennesy (Burgess Meredith), who eventually joins in the battle to rescue Gloria's well-being. Ultimately, Gloria, Tony and Coleman eventually confront the mastermind behind the overall plot, a villainous lady named Delia Darrow, who soon explains why her actions have caused Gloria all her worries:
To Delia, the Pope represents "the vast wealth and corporate power of the world's churches." "10 years ago," she rants, "[my colleagues and I] attempted to launch a peaceful campaign that would bring about the taxation of these 'billion-dollar corporations.' But they serve the economic system, which in turn supports them. In the end, we were attacked, ridiculed, and finally imprisoned. But it was there, within the innersanctums of those hell holes where the mind can be bound and the spirit shackled that we came to realize that the single most effective way to bring about radical change is by utilizing the historically-proven path of violence."
Perhaps, but what is never explained in the film is why an innocent person like Gloria Mundy would even bother to understand such a struggle. Nonetheless, when one reads director-writer Colin Higgins' script symbolically, as apparently I have done, one seems to get the notion that the idea of "foul play" can take many forms and affect many people --- unless, at the last possible moment, action is taken NOW. Thus, the inclusion in the film of "Ready to Take a Chance Again," one of Barry Manilow's all-time best songs (thanks, no doubt, to the constant musical magic wielded by composer-conductor Charles Fox and lyricist Norman Gimbel --- one has to wonder if there's an entire homepage about the Fox-Gimbel musical library).
In the final scenes, intercutting between some of the most spectacular stunt work ever captured in a 70s film with highlights from a recording of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado as performed by members of the New York City Opera, the plot to murder the Pope is somehow thwarted, Tony and Gloria consummate their love for each other .... and somehow, we not only laugh at ourselves, we learn something about the world's intellectualisms as well. Colin Higgins might not have intended all of this when he conceived "Foul Play," but nonetheless he has concocted a really cool detective story --- with a mystery worth solving.........
I saw this years ago, and for a long time it was my favorite movie. Burgess Meredith is a total crack up, and if you don't mind Barry Manilow, you'll enjoy the music. Sadly, there's some Bee Gees as well, but no movie's perfect. I laughed my rear off, and that takes some doing.
FOUL PLAY (1978) *** Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Dudley Moore, Burgess Meredith, Billy Barty, Marilyn Sokol, Eugene Roche, Rachel Roberts, Brian Dennehy. Very funny comedy Hitchcockian thriller with librarian Hawn up to her pretty little neck in trouble with a plot to assassinate the pope in picturesque San Francisco and bumbling cool Chase as the cop to protect her. Some priceless moments, particularly with would-be swinger Moore. Memorable opening song "Ready To Take A Chance Again" by Barry Manilow.
"Foul Play" is a reasonably entertaining thriller parody. It's cleverly scripted, containing some truly hilarious moments and colourful supporting characters. Hawn and Chase suit their roles perfectly and Moore provides the film's most delicious laughs as the licentious conductor. Unfortunately, the fun gets a bit tamer towards the end. Good amusement, nevertheless.
I'd put this film into category "comedy" instead of thriller. This movie is so seventies that it thrills me. Chase and Hawn are great. Most enjoyable character is of course Dudley Moore as Stanley Tibbets, unforgettable dancing scene...If you're a fan of Dudley, this film is a must!
This movie plays like a demented Hitchcock thriller--its plot borrows from The 39 Steps, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew too Much, North by Northwest and several others. But the touches of insanity, like Burgess Meredith as a karate master, Dudley Moore's disco playboy, the paranoid friend at the library, and the "laughing" snake, are more characteristic of Colin Higgins' previous comic thriller, Silver Streak. This film, like the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor hit, has some moments of unexpected suspense and a chase (in a car this time, which plays as a homage to Bullitt, right down to the San Francisco setting). Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn are not particularly funny in the film--the laughs come from Meredith and Moore. But they have chemistry that others must've noticed as they teamed again in 1980. The film is probably most appreciated by Hitchcock fans who can count the number of references (implied or obvious) to the Master's films, which was probably Higgins' intent anyway. Not as good as Silver Streak, but lots of fun nonetheless.
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