In Chicago during the 1930s depression, sheet music salesman Arthur Parker is trying to sell his products, but it's not easy to convince unwilling music store owners to buy them. Although he's already married to the somewhat drab Joan, when he meets school teacher Eileen in a music store, he falls in love with her. Written by
Unusual story combining drama, musical numbers and fine performances by all concerned. This had to have been one of the first times that Steve Martin was allowed to show that he is so much more than just some guy with an arrow through his head, a fact that has been demonstrated time and time again over the past 20 years.
This film physically depicts the depression era in beautifully muted tones and powerfully evokes the desperate feelings of people trying to make ends meet during hard times. Martin gives a dead on performance of a man with nothing left in his moral bank account. Arthur does and says whatever it takes to gain the instant gratification he constantly seeks.
As for the ensemble musical numbers, let me just say that even Busby Berkeley might have been envious. Martin and Peter's turn at Fred and Ginger was well beyond adequate and Walken's tap dance number is worth the price of admission.
I watched this movie the other evening after not having seen it for several years. I was amazed at how much it had improved with age. This movie could almost certainly never be made today and, in fact, I find it hard to believe it was ever made. Hollywood rarely takes chances of any kind and this movie had to have been a huge gamble, even in 1981.
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