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Here is a picture that, for every conceivable reason, shouldn't work -- but on a purely emotional level, it does. Most viewers could be easily misled (and disappointed) by expecting a light romantic comedy or a wild sex farce. Instead, Blake Edwards and his co-screenwriters offer something entirely different, a picture far more complex, meaningful, and thought-provoking than what we might anticipate.
"The Man Who Loved Women" tells a sad, sad story about a middle-aged man (Burt Reynolds in one of his finest performances, as David Fowler) who drowns in isolation thanks to a rare ability: he's forced and driven, by instinct, to glimpse the sacredness and inner beauty of almost every woman he encounters. Yes, on some levels, his circumstances lead to a hedonistic paradise. But his feelings also prevent him from ever making a commitment, and isolate him from the joy of knowing one woman exclusively.
For that reason, a melancholic canopy hangs over the entire film and takes the front seat to humour. The story begins with David Fowler's death, and every event we witness onscreen is tinged by our knowledge that Fowler's obsession with women will eventually kill him. A slow, heavy, stringed theme song, Mancini's "Little Boys", plays softly throughout the film, and Fowler's words (in voice-over narration) constantly remind us of the deep, incurable loneliness that plagues him.
All of this might sound heavy-handed -- and it very well could be, if it weren't for the sexual fantasy and wild Edwards comedy that flesh out the story and provide relief. The melancholia and comedy work together, and Edwards achieves a delicate balance of mood --a bittersweet aura.
I've heard one criticism (see Ebert's review) that many of the story's psychological elements are impossible. Though a few scenes might suffer from exaggeration (hundreds and HUNDREDS of women attend David's funeral), one could easily dismiss the story -- as I did, at first --because so many male viewers *lack* Fowler's ability to care for women unconditionally; we want to believe that it's impossible for a contemporary Don Juan to exist. But that simply isn't tenable. My own theory about the film -- (and it's just a theory) -- is that Edwards may have pulled inspiration for Fowler from the late John Derek, another man worshipped and adored by women, who interacted with Edwards during the filming of "10" (1979).
Edwards and his co-writers lend a gentle touch to the film by crafting Fowler's character against-the-grain; while we might expect a narcissistic hedonist, he's just the opposite -- a warm, gentle, soul with only the sincerest motives. It's easy to understand why women are attracted to Fowler, from his first appearance onscreen. And, oddly -- male viewers may never begrudge Fowler his affairs, only applaud -- because his narration and his gentle spirit confirm the fact that he really does worship and adore everything about the girls who walk in and out of his life. "I keep thinking," he says sadly, "about all the women I'm never gonna know..."
In one of the film's most revealing and effective moments, Edwards allows us to glimpse a woman, at the funeral, who is the complete opposite of a "10" -- fat, homely, depressed -- undesirable. We have the distinct impression that her external appearance didn't matter to Fowler -- that he only looked into her heart and perceived her beauty. It lends credibility to psychologist Marianna's (Julie Andrews) observation: that David did, indeed, love all of the girls, equally and unconditionally.
In the climactic moment of one of the great film scripts of all time, "The
Verdict" by David Mamet, attorney Edward Concannon (James Mason) implores
the judge, "We can't be expected to accept a (photo)copy when we have the
Many consider Truffaut's 1977 "L'homme qui aimait les femmes" a wonderful film. Anyone who has seen this original, need not venture to this 1983 remake, the land of Blake Edwards, his family and his friends.
This film likely falls under the category of 'the studio still needs another film from me (Edwards) and I have not a single inspired idea'.
Don't get me wrong. I'm an avid fan of Edwards, and consider many of his films (notably Days of Wine and Roses, Breakfast at Tiffanys, S.O.B., and Operation Petticoat to ALL be amongst my favorites. Of course the Pink Panther series is a masterpiece in and of itself.
But this film is weak, and uninspired, laden with narrative-I've never really figured who came up with the idea of opening a 'comedy' with the main character's funeral, and an accompanying heart-wrenching eulogy from one of his lovers.
Don't accept a copy when the original is available.
Blake Edwards in the Sixties was an amazing director, with a strong visual
flair. I mean he directed "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Days of Wine and
Roses", and "An Experiment in Terror"! But somewhere in all that Pink
Panthering he did in the Seventies he lost that visual flair and became
boring. The only film in the last thirty years that showed any of the old
panache was "Victor/Victoria". It's like there are two Blake
That's not to say that this film is terrible - it's just that I think he could have done so much better. It's so dull to look at - despite the presence of his enchanting wife Julie Andrews, and one of Burt Reynolds' best performances. Also of note is a very young Kim Basinger displaying a strong flair for comedy. But Edwards' pacing of the action is so slow and ponderous that the moments of slapstick comedy seem completely incongruous and fall completely flat.
Come on Blake - give us some more of that old magic! I know it's still in you.
I just saw The Man Who Loved Women, and I found it to be a rather delightful movie. It's a plot you don't see to often; it's focused on one man and his love of women. The movie may seem pointless, but you'll get it once you see the ending. I won't ruin it here, but it was kind of depressing and unexpected, and looking back on the movie, I enjoyed it much more afterwards than during. It's not the most exciting movie. You won't see any amazing or dynamic cinematography or camera angles that are all to creative. In fact, it seems more like a movie from the '70's than 1983 in the way it was filmed, but if you like the kind of movies that you enjoy much more after having looked back on everything, I think you'll find this a rather enjoyable work.
In the style of STARTING OVER, Burt took on another romantic lead in 1983's THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN, which starred Reynolds as a confirmed bachelor whose obsession with the opposite sex has driven him into therapy with a female shrink of course (Julie Andrews in a low-key performance). Though not as good as his performance in STARTING OVER, Reynolds does exude a great deal of charm in this film and get solid support from Andrews, Marilu Henner, and in an early and very amusing role, Kim Basinger as the undersexed trophy wife of a wealthy Texan (Barry Corbin)who likes her sex with an element of danger. This comedy that was co-written by Blake Edwards and his own psychiatrist is worth a look.
It is true that this re-make does not measure up to the French original, but it is still not half as bad as some reviewers make it out to be. In fact it is quite good if you try to disregard the more "American" details. It starts out with a funeral and works its way back from there. Reynolds is enough of a hunk to make the story plausible and Julie Andrews was never more beautiful. All thruout the film, Blake Edwards succeeds in maintaining an infinitely "sad" note, which works excellently and undoubtedly adds to the quality of the film. 6 out of 10 points.
The many women of sculptor David Fowler (Burt Reynolds) have gathered
for his funeral. Among them is his psychiatrist Marianna (Julie
Andrews) who recounts the story of his womanizing. He was living with
Courtney Wade but he became enamored with a pair of legs. He chased the
legs to Agnes Chapman (Marilu Henner) but she claimed that the legs are
actually her cousin. There's Nancy who he saved from prostitution and
put to work as one of his helpers. There's Louise (Kim Basinger), the
wife of rich Texan Roy Carr (Barry Corbin). Louise shoots Roy and David
has to testify in her trial. It's a long line of women and Marianna
could be next.
This is a remake of a French film from director Blake Edwards. I'm sure the French original had an art house appeal. Edwards has no such cushion to work with here. In the end, not all of the women are compelling. The least appealing is probably Basinger. Reynolds is not that much better. He may be a sex symbol back in the day but his persona lacks an intellectual aspect that is required by this role. There are a few intriguing stories but these women are dropped all too quickly. His story is not compelling.
The title of 1983's "The Man Who Loved Women" tells you everything you
need to know: Burt Reynolds plays David Fowler, a man who sees the
beauty in practically every woman and therefore can never settle down
with one. As such, he ends up isolated and on the couch of a therapist,
Marianna (Julie Andrews). The entire movie consists of Marianna trying
to figure David out and help him while the latter relays several of his
amorous connections in flashback. When the therapy is over will THEY
start a relationship? Fowler's many women include Kim Basinger, Marilu
Henner and Denise Crosby.
I encourage you to read Nsouthern51's review from April 25, 2001, on IMDb because it expertly interprets and evaluates the movie. While the film could be considered a romantic comedy it's also a tragic study of a Romeo and therefore there's a pall of melancholy despite the light tone and amusing elements, including black comedy. Speaking of which, while I don't think adultery's something to take lightly and therefore don't find it very amusing, it ties into Fowler's folly and blindness due to his weakness, women.
The good thing is that Fowler's not all bad or unlikable (Burt is his typical amiable self in an atypical role). He's not the conventional lothario who uses and abuses; he genuinely loves women and is fascinated by them. He loves them so much he can't bear to be with just one because that would mean he'd never know hundreds or thousands of others, but then he aches because he doesn't want to hurt the women he leaves.
The best part is Fowler's salvation of a new-to-the-trade prostitute whom he ends up hiring for his sculpting business. He nobly resists acting on his carnal instincts and therefore sacrifices for her good. The girl is played by a pre-Star Trek (TNG) Denise Crosby and she looks great.
At the end of the day the movie features Reynolds in an unusual role, which might turn off fans, and the strange mix of melancholy and amusement may turn-off others. It's not great, but it's good enough for what it is and therefore worthwhile. It's similar to Altman's "Dr. T and the Women" (2000) so if you don't like that movie you probably won't like this one.
The film runs 110 minutes and was shot in Houston, Texas, and Los Angeles, CA.
THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN begins with a sculptor roaming around LA trying to
find out what makes women tick. The sculptor is played by Burt Reynolds,
one of the biggest movie stars in the world, so I guess the women will pay
attention. Actually, the movie begins with his funeral and we see woman
after woman in all shapes and sizes, roaming up the cemetery grass to pay
tribute to this guy.
Now any movie with an opening like this had better feature one helluva guy so we immediately cut to the scenes of Burt seducing woman after woman, while providing some tender advice on life to keep them warm when he's gone in the morning. I really liked Burt Reynolds performance in this movie. He shows in this movie that when he wants to he can be a fine actor. We know Burt Reynolds has an amazing screen presence but it's nice to see him in a movie where he doesn't wink at the camera to show us how much fun he's having. His scenes with the feminist shrink(Julie Andrews) are funny as Reynolds exhibits every male symptom in the book. The women are Cynthia Sikes, Marila Henner and Kim Basinger to name a few, and rest assured that they're all(especially Basinger)very beautiful.
If the movie had stayed true to this idea it might've been special.but it degenerates into a series of three's company set ups and grows tired. After Basinger stirs Reynolds interest they have a romp in her husband's condo. The husband arrives and Reynolds must lurch around. I couldn't count how many scenes there were like that. It's at this point we realize the movie isn't going to be as incisive as it promised. It's silly how Reynolds keeps getting into the same situation with the jealous husband and not very funny either, not even when he say, glues his hands to the steering wheel.
Another major problem is the chemistry between Reynolds and Andrews. There's no heat between them and I suspect that maybe they didn't get along with each other on the set. This isn't the type of a man she'd go out with, canon of ethics aside. It's awkward at the end when Andrews drops everything to join Reynolds on vacation when we don't even believe he's gotten to first base. I can't quite recommend THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN, it's just not true to itself. The movie introduces us to an interesting man looking to make real discoveries and ends up with a bunch of people who aren't right for each other.
STAR STAR (out of four)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Opera Ghost Page2
Another point that nsouthern51 made was that David Fowler 'drowns in isolation.' This in fact a bit of a complex statement and somewhat contradictory from the films point of view. This statement seems to suggest, or hint at, that David is either cutoff from the world or is completely unknown to the world or both. Perhaps, both statements are true. Perhaps, both statements are false. Or perhaps, one is true and the other false, or vise versa.
Let's return to the film for a minute. David Fowler has known hundreds and HUNDREDS of women and is always looking for more. How can he be so lonely? If he was in-between women, he had the semilive-in girlfriend Courtney Wade. So he always, or almost always, had someone around him at home. If he was lonely, by knowing hundreds and HUNDREDS of women, he surely had telephone numbers to call and surely one would respond. Or reverse it, they could be calling him. With all thoughs women around, he would have to fight them off with a fly swatter or girl swatter. In the work place, we see that he had several assistants. So how can he be so lonely and cutoff? David Fowler wasn't a hermit like Howard Hughes nor an oddity like Glen Gould. From the film, we see that his work was well-known. He lived in L.A. but has a commission in Houston, Tx. So we see that he wasn't just a local artist, but someone who is well-respected on a national level.(This might be debatable.) From Sue the baby sitter, we learn that he is known in academia circles, 'Lipschitz, Henry Moore, and me.' We also see from the film that he wrote a book. I'm sure the book was meant for a national audience and not just one or two copies made for a private edition nor several hundred printed for a local audience. This again proves or demonstrates that he was well-known or was wanting more name recognition and wasn't trying to cut himself off from the world.
In summary, do these contradictory statements mean anything? There might be something more going on at a much, much deeper level.
When we get into the actual review, we will have to return to these statements. There is a lot to these statements. Like I said folks, this is one of most complex motion pictures ever filmed. This complexity that I speak of is not the complexity of cameras, film, lights, etc., of a "Lord of The Rings" type epic but of an quiet inner complexity ideas the likes of which this film "The Man Who Loved Women" has no equal. There are things going on in this movie that have never been done before and will never be done again. Ever.
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