Nineteenth century Wyoming: the wild West. Mild-mannered Tom Healy has a two-wagon theater troupe hounded by creditors because Angela, his leading lady and the object of his affection, constantly buys clothes. In Cheyenne, they meet with applause, so they hope to stay awhile: the theater owner likes Angela, and she keeps him on a string. She's also the object of the attentions of Mabry, a gunslinger who's owed money by the richest man in Bonanza. Complications arise and the troupe heads for Bonanza, through hostile Indian territory. Is the troupe doomed to a peripatetic life, is Mabry in danger, and does Tom stand a chance with Angela, a hellion in pink tights?Written by
George Cukor originally wanted either Jack Lemmon and James Garner to join the cast. See more »
When Mabry is pursuing the wagons, shots of him from the front show his shadow going uphill to the right of screen. Shots of the wagons from the front show their shadows going to the left of the screen. This would indicate that they are going in opposite directions. See more »
Heller in Pink Tights is directed by George Cukor and adapted to screenplay by Walter Bernstein from the novel "Heller With a Gun" written by Louis L'Amour. It stars Sophia Loren, Anthony Quinn, Margaret O'Brien, Steve Forrest, Eileen Heckart and Ramon Novarro. Music is by Daniele Amfitheatrof and cinematography by Harold Lipstein.
In simple terms this is Cukor trying to be clever whilst doing his only Western film. Plot basically follows The Great Healy Dramatic and Concert Company as they represent civilisation and culture coming to the Wild West. It's part spoof, part period farce but always narratively shallow. The costuming and colour lensing are sublime, undeniably, but these can't compensate for such a turgid story being performed by miscast stars.
Quinn called the picture unfortunate, Loren (looking painfully thin and sporting an unfortunate blonde mop on her head) was unhappy with the direction she received and serves solely as a clothes horse, while Cukor himself bemoaned cuts made by Paramount that further damaged what he thought was already a weak story. Receiving mixed reviews upon release, "Heller" was a box office flop, and really it's not hard to see why. Even if there's some value for Loren and Edith Head (costumes) fans. 4/10
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