Cleveland 1951. Pre-med student Artie Shoemaker dreams not so much of a medical career but a life in the theater, against the wishes of his working class parents. Despite having no ...
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Cleveland 1951. Pre-med student Artie Shoemaker dreams not so much of a medical career but a life in the theater, against the wishes of his working class parents. Despite having no experience in the theater whatsoever, he is hired as the props man at the Kempton Hills Park Theater, an open air venue that is part of the summer stock circuit. The resident leading man at Kempton Hills is Harry Crystal who, along with some of the other more experienced company members, is working toward more lucrative and higher profile acting jobs. For most, including Harry, the goal is back to Broadway. For some, that Broadway dream is more a delusion than a true possibility. Despite being a bit of a divo, which grates on many of the other crew members, Harry takes inexperienced Artie under his wing both in terms of guiding him through his current position in props, as well as a general life in the theater. Part of that general life includes romantic couplings, the person who Artie ultimately chooses, ... Written by
When Artie and his father are driving in the truck, discussing Artie's future, passing trees are reflected on the windshield. At the end of the conversation, a street light is reflected that did not exist in 1951 (the setting of the movie). See more »
Released in 1980, "Those Lips, Those Eyes" is a film I missed seeing at the time. In fact, I don't even remember it being in theaters, despite the fact that I went to many films around that time and I thought I had seen all of Glynnis O'Connor's films of that era. Either it was not promoted well or I gleaned from reviews that it was a real dud.
Having recently watched it, however, I find it is not without its charms. Written by David Shaber--who also wrote the screenplay for "The Warriors"--the film is a coming of age story about a young man who is studying pre-med in Ohio when he is exposed to the world of live theater.
Artie Shoemaker (Tom Hulce) knows nothing of the theater world when he takes a summer job handling props and scenery for a regional outdoor theater. As many who are exposed to the peculiar charms of the stage, Artie is enchanted. The male lead of the summer season is Harry Crystal--played by stage star Frank Langella. Harry seems like a guy who has it all together and is on top of the world. But Artie has much to learn.
During the summer, Artie learns about the magic, the dreams, the drama, and the heartbreak that accompany life onstage and backstage. He falls for a dancer, Ramona (Glynnis O'Connor), who personifies the illusions of love and the theater. He decides to drop our of school and become a playwright.
The film was shot at a Cleveland Heights outdoor theater venue and it feels genuine to the theater experience. The actors perform well, even if their parts are not too demanding. Four years after this film, Tom Hulce--also a stage star--will play the lead role in the amazing film "Amadeus".
This film's greatest allure for me is the roster of notable actors. Hulce, O'Connor and Langella did not appear in relatively many films between them, given the visibility of their careers around the time of this film.
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