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|Index||19 reviews in total|
As a transplanted Southerner, I usually hate to see movies about the South, but this one is dead-on. The most amazing thing about the movie is Lolita Davidovich, whose performance is wonderful, as is her "accent". The Southern politics were displayed accurately (unfortunately), and the "boots scene" still has me smiling. Wonderful!
I'm happy the film Blaze came out if for no other reason than Earl Long
finally got his place in film history beside his more famous brother
Huey. Earl spent a lot more years in public office and maybe no man
ever enjoyed just campaigning for office and the trappings thereof when
I was a mere lad, but I do remember Earl's tumultuous and final term as Governor of Louisiana. The stuff you see here about Earl Long, the relationship with stripper Blaze Starr and the rest, was big news back in the day. One of the reasons that Earl could not do what George C. Wallace did was that Wallace had a most compliant first wife in Lurleen Wallace. One character we do not see here was his wife and later widow Blanche. Long was very much married at the time all of his antics were front page news, it was Blanche in fact who had him shipped to the funny farm.
Just as Blanche Long is eliminated from this story so is United States Senator Russell B. Long, son of Huey. Russell Long, who was barely the minimal 30 years old, was appointed by his uncle who happened to be Governor at the time to the U.S. Senate following the death of John H. Overton was still in the Senate when Uncle Earl's antics was big and embarrassing news. Russell Long served in the Senate for over 40 years and unlike his father and uncle became a most powerful Senator through his patient rise up the seniority ladder.
Even without Blanche and Russell, Earl Long's affair with Blaze Starr is the basis of a fine motion picture. Lolita Davidovitch is a warm and earthy Blaze Starr, a Loretta Lynn/Patsy Cline type from West Virginia without their talent. Still she might not have sung, but the woman had one fine figure. And when she pointed those glockenspiels of mass destruction at Earl Long, he was cooked. Imagine watermelon as an aphrodisiac?
Paul Newman does very well indeed as the irascible old governor just hanging on despite physical and mental problems. Today Earl Long might have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or as some have speculated with bi-polar disorder. He might have been given the proper medication.
If Blaze has a fault and it's a big one, it's the lack of secondary character development. We don't really get to know about any of the other people in the Earl and Blaze story.
But we do get to know Earl and Blaze. And if Earl K. Long was indeed bi-polar and been given the proper medication, we might have never have had this story or this film.
This was one of the few times that Ron Shelton made a movie that didn't deal with sports and he did a pretty good job. Paul Newman plays the democratic governor of Louisiana and he has an election coming up but can't run for governor again, so he has a friend of his run for governor and Newman will run as lieutenant governor and right after the election the friend will step down and Newman will become governor. Lolita Davidovich plays a big time stripper who at first is suspicious of Newman when he comes on to her but the wind up falling in love. This is set in the late 50s and is down south and since segregation is a big issue Newman's rivals will use it against him in the election. It doesn't help when Newman is having an affair with a stripper and supports civil rights for black people. This is a really good film about politics and also turns out to be a good romance.
Paul Newman made his best movie after becoming an old man. In Blaze, he
plays Governor Earl Long of Louisiana. Earl has a scandalous affair
with stripper Blaze Starr. I remember this being in the news in 1959.
Blaze is played by Lolita Davidovich. She is Yugoslavian, of
Serbian/Croatian descent. Blaze makes her way from West Virginia to New
Orleans to the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge. Obviously Earl is a
liberal. He is a Democrat who supports Civil Rights. This is a comedy,
and there are some funny scenes, Earl having sex with his boots on and
shooting his lawn mower. Robert Wuhl's character is interesting but has
a small part. Blaze exits through the bathroom window and leaves him,
taking her mother's advice not to trust any man who tells her to trust
him. Blaze's affair with the governor continued until his death in
I watched Blaze again last night and must say it is an underrated movie. Paul Newman's acting is superb. He should have gotten an Oscar for his portrayal of Earl Long. Lolita Davidovich is charming as stripper Blaze Starr. We all understand that movies stray from the facts for comedic purposes and dramatic effect. After all, how many of us care about Louisana politics in the 20th century. We are looking for an entertaining flick! Fact is, both Earl and Blaze were married when they met. When Earl died in 1960, he was the Democratic nominee for Congress but had not been elected. He left Blaze Starr $50,000 in his will which she refused to accept. There is not a dull moment in this film. It is one of my favorites.
"Blaze" tells of the lives of Blaze Starr (Davidovich), stripper and consort
of Earl Long (Newman), the fire breathing eccentric governor of the state of
Louisiana during the 50's. Shelton manages to make a moderately interesting
film from the marginally interesting lives of Starr and Long although there
is evidence of a struggle in the lack of substance in the film for two
strange bedfellows whose accomplishments where less than notable and who
themselves were little more than colorful. A good film with solid
performances by the principals which will most likely be enjoyed by fans of
the stars or those with an interest in Louisiana political history.
Footnote: Earl K. Long should not be confused with his older and more flamboyant brother also governor of Louisiana, Huey P. Long, who was assassinated.
Talk about turnin' lemons into lemonade!
I'll be brief. No need to go through the plot, as many others have already done here; if you've made your way down to this review, you've got the gist of it. 2 characters, from very different worlds, established very early on as equals, both as human beings and as masters in the art of manipulation: Blaze Starr, "exotic dancer," & Earl Long, "good ol' boy" US Southern Democratic politician. The story here is in how they each apply the art: first, in their individual lives; and then, as a team, in the process changing the faces of American politics and media.
Never learned the actual history; makes me want to look it up to find out how many specific scenes are real. One that I sure hope is:
"I have a confession to make... "I can't cook."
"We'll work around it."
almost exactly, an exchange between me & my wife before we were married.
What more can I ask from a movie? P.S. We did. And I haven't gone hungry.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was a teenager in small town Louisiana back in the late 1950s, and
although I wasn't into political news, I clearly remember Governor Earl
K Long. He was an enigma of sorts, because he did behave erratically at
times, and WAS committed to a mental hospital, but in fact did many
good things as governor, including standing up for equal rights for
minorities. I remember getting free lunches in school, but I was not
aware it was Earl K that did this for us.
This is one great movie. It is called "Blaze", not "Earl", because it is mostly from the point of view of Blaze Starr, stage name of a West Virginia country girl who became a New Orleans stripper. What was not mentioned in this movie is that Earl was married to Blanche while he was having his affair with Starr, and it in fact was Blanche that got him committed. Blaze Starr herself has a small part in the movie.
Long was governor on three different occasions, his last term being 1956 through 1960. This movie is set during the last year of his last term. Paul Newman is Earl Long, and was about the same age as Long while making this movie. As always, Newman creates a memorable character, really bringing Earl K Long to life.
Lolita Davidovich, who put on a few extra pounds to play the busty Blaze Starr , is also about the right age and plays Starr superbly. In fact, watching her in this movie, it is hard to figure why she hasn't become a bigger star.
SPOILERS. Even though hospitalized, Long was still governor. So he fired the head of the Mandeville Mental Hospital, appointed his friend to the post, and was promptly declared fit to return to normal life. Unable to run again for Governor, he tried running as Leutenant Governor with Noe, but they did not win. So he ran for US Congress, narrowly won while sick, and died a week after his victory, in September 1960. The movie depicts his dying in Blaze Starr's arms on the day he was elected, but that is movie-making license.
A fun and showy performance by Newman keeps the pace moving, but it is Davidovich who steals the film with a warmth and grace reminiscent of a Rita Hayworth. She's absolutely adorable in the role and the film is successful in other respects as well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spoiler I never knew of Bill Cliton, before he was president, but the scandals, and how he deals with the press reminds me of this movie. It is a laugh how Newman can play a nut. I like the scenes where he shoots the lawn mower, and how he gets out of the mental hospital. This liberal minded, womenizing politician reminds me of a car salesmen. Must Rent 8/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watermelon and cowboy boots! One of the best scenes in the movie! Well, there ARE other good scenes! I think I remember a scene where Blaze is on stage stripping, and she places a flower in her cleavage and asks the crowd if they want to go pick flowers in her hills...Something like that.
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