The life of Fanny Brice, famed comedienne and entertainer of the early 1900s. We see her rise to fame as a Ziegfield girl, subsequent career, and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Nick Arnstein.
A high-class call girl kills a customer in self-defense. To avoid scandal, her parents try to have her declared mentally incompetent. Not helping matters is that she is very distrustful of everybody, including her court-appointed attorney, and is very disruptive during her court hearings. Written by
Tony Berkoff <email@example.com>
[responding to MacMillan's grilling about her professional life]
Why don't we stop all the bullshit and get to the point? Now, you want to know what I do for a living? Ask me. My time is very expensive, Mr. MacMillan. Probably more than yours. I get 500 dollars an hour. How much do you get? I get four-hundred dollars for a straight lay, three-hundred for a hand job, and five-hundred for head. If you want to wear my panties, that's another hundred. You take them home, Mr. MacMillan, that's ...
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Manhattan call-girl has to prove her sanity in a courtroom hearing after she has killed a client; she says it was in self-defense, but now her mental state and her lifestyle--as well as her tumultuous childhood--are on trial. "Nuts" presents a dilemma for director Martin Ritt and his screenwriters, Tom Topor, Darryl Ponicsan and Alvin Sargent, working from Topor's play: how do you get an audience to sympathize with the heroine of your story, one who has a short fuse, a nasty disposition, and who rubs everybody else the wrong way? It probably wasn't possible, and protagonist Claudia Draper is an exasperating, meddling, infernal creation. Barbra Streisand obviously saw in the material a meaty dramatic role for herself as an actress and, although perhaps a bit too old for the part of Claudia Draper, she tackles the project with relish. Unfortunately, "Nuts" opens with such a flurry of manic energy that it's predictable the film won't be able to sustain or match that intensity for the rest of its length. Once the introductions are out of the way, the film settles into a talky, stagy formula, one complete with showboating solo moments for Streisand and most of her co-stars (with the exception of Richard Dreyfuss as her legal representative, who makes a bigger impact simply by keeping a lower profile). Streisand's abrasive Claudia is really the whole picture, and Barbra chews up so much scenery in the course of two hours I'd be surprised if she didn't hit the gym afterward. Still, a piece like this needs an electric personality in the lead if it's going to work at all, and Streisand does more for the role than a less-dynamic actress might have. Not a great picture by any means, and with an amusing/puzzling final shot of Streisand at the end, but one that is well-produced, interestingly edited and full of top talent and style. **1/2 from ****
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