Lawyer Rick Magruder has a one-night-stand affair with caterer Mallory Doss. He becomes hooked on her, and when he learns her nut-case father Dixon is threatening her, he puts the weight of... See full summary »
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Lawyer Rick Magruder has a one-night-stand affair with caterer Mallory Doss. He becomes hooked on her, and when he learns her nut-case father Dixon is threatening her, he puts the weight of his law firm behind Mallory, has Dixon arrested and subpoenas her ex-husband Pete to testify against Dixon in court. Dixon is sent to an asylum, but escapes from there and the lives of many people are in danger. Written by
The screenplay is credited to "Al Hayes". This pseudonym covers for John Grisham who objected to the foul language that Altman added to his original screenplay. See more »
At the party early in the movie, Rick and Lois are talking head-to-head on the sofa. Mallory walks behind them and you can hear Lois talking, but we see their heads at opposite ends of the sofa and they aren't talking. The camera immediately cuts back to them sitting close and talking like before. See more »
No offense ma'am, but it's always appeared to me your Dad's a few beers shy of a six-pack.
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It takes real talent to make a real lemon, and Robert Altman, a most talented director, has succeeded brilliantly here. He made things difficult for himself miscasting Kenneth Branagh as a boozy Savannah lawyer but the attempt to replicate the feel of a town in the grip of a hurricane really finishes things off. The last 20 minutes in the rain is truly appalling, with the audience reduced to guessing about what is going on. The lighting is awful throughout, the more so that it was done on purpose. Maybe we were supposed to experience the confusion of the lead character as he stumbled towards an answer but this does not make for entertainment. In this film noir genre to achieve tension at crucial moments the audience must know just a little more than the protagonist, not a lot less.
The story, though completely derivative, is actually quite tight, well plotted, and has a convincing resolution, but the lack of light and general confusion make it difficult to follow. Anyway, an absolute shocker, gross waste of talent and apparently a box office flop (there's some justice). Altman has since put this turkey behind him with the luminous Gosford Park but I am left wondering why on earth he did it.
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