Oh, wow, what a wonderful burst of fun it was to see Jerry Orbach as a retired European gigolo! And he gives Yoda like advice to his young listener, played by Tyrone Power Jr.
California Casanova was made ahead of its time. The cleverly sophisticated approach to this comedy brings modern sensibilities to a genre that is very difficult to do screwball comedy. And it all works.
Writer-Director Nat Christian, boldly ventures into this territory with great aplomb. His screenplay presents us with a very real "Rominoffski", an aging gigolo, who has been presenting himself as something "special." You know, the guy who manages a fine hotel somewhere, and says that his family's money has been tied up or frozen somewhere in Europe for political reasons. The guy is impeccably well dressed. We know this person. He's the guy who, if you looked closely enough, would have a tiny hole at the back of his pant cuff. But one doesn't look closely at these types. They are "royalty." Their charm keeps us too charmed to look further. And they get by with it. Writer/Director, Christian also created a strong female character in this film.
As a director, Christian very creatively ties in romance and spiced poignancy with comedy. Under his direction, the actors are relaxed and they give outstanding performances.
Jerry Orbach, who had normally been a song and dance man, until he became street tough guys, plays this character beautifully and poetically. What a real joy.
Audrey Landers (whom I had seen in Chorus Line) plays a singer who is caught between a tough guy ex-boyfriend, Brian Genesse, and a geek. Landers has never been more real and vulnerable in a role. It's the first time I saw a wide range with her and couldn't help but think that that this actress could be a major international star.
Tyrone Power Jr. plays well opposite Mr. Orbach. Brian Genesse, is charismatic and funny.
One of the executive producers is Ruth Landers, Audrey's mother apparently. And this probably was a vehicle for her daughter. Though, I would have preferred to see more of a buddy picture, with Orbach and Power, because I feel that is where the strength of this movie was, Audrey's performance was a real joy to watch.
California Casanova delivers. Maybe delivered a little ahead of it's time, but that's the great thing about DVDs!
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