Fran Walker (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) walks into a piano bar for pizza. She comes back home with Joe Grady (Warren Beatty), the piano player. Joe plans on winning five thousand dollars and lea... Read allFran Walker (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) walks into a piano bar for pizza. She comes back home with Joe Grady (Warren Beatty), the piano player. Joe plans on winning five thousand dollars and leaving Las Vegas, Nevada. Fran waits for something else. Meanwhile, he moves in with her.Fran Walker (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) walks into a piano bar for pizza. She comes back home with Joe Grady (Warren Beatty), the piano player. Joe plans on winning five thousand dollars and leaving Las Vegas, Nevada. Fran waits for something else. Meanwhile, he moves in with her.
Second thing: Her co-star is the charming Warren Beatty, who here has some very effective scenes in which he makes his character Joe Grady very much authentic and believable. He resembles a combination of both (as one commentator pointed out before) Frank Sinatra's wit and style and Brad Pitt's Irish charming bad-boyishness. In contrast to Taylor, he is in my opinion very well cast. I sometimes wonder what it would be like, to be Warren Beatty, in Paris in autumn 1968, fresh from the huge success of "Bonnie and Clyde". According to the gossip that Taylor picked up, and reached the ears and notes of Burton, Warren was courted by so many beautiful Parisian women that Taylor hardly got a look of him off the set. Still some years to go before being "outed" by Carly Simon as being "So Vain", here in Paris he was evidently everybody's darling.
Third interesting point: The last star needed the presence of her beloved husband (and unfortunately heavy boozing partner) in order to be able to cope with this film, or anything else for that matter. Mr Burton was at this time busy shooting a farce with Rex Harrison, "Staircase", in Paris, which by the way was set in a grayish London. Maybe the married celebrity couple both needed the Parisian location to evade the US/UK taxes? Hence, a movie whose main plot is nothing less than one of the most American themes one can think of (quest for the big break), had to be shot in Paris! Nowadays the stars of Hollywood earn enormous amount of money, but they can hardly make any demands such as those of la Taylor, and get through with it. It is therefore a pure pleasure to watch the streets and buildings, knowing at least some of them, are entirely build for la Taylor in Paris (if we don't count some scenes that had to be made in Las Vegas very quickly in early Spring of 1969).
Four: The score of Maurice Jarre. Great late 1960s early 1970s feel to it, jazzy and bluesy, in a stylish blend, the very definition of Easy listening.
Fifth: A lushly filmed Hollywood picture like this needs elements that make it "touch the ground". We, as an audience, must still be led to believe that the story enfolded before us could be real. Bathroom and bedroom scenes that are not obviously over-sty. Warren's character IS supposed to be a fly-guy dreamer, who painfully lands in reality after excesses at the casinos. The fairytale needs to touch the audience in-between all its awe and amaze, and technically Stevens and the editor have managed the task.
Sixth and last point I come to think of: In spite of this extravaganza, which is not apparent on the screen if one is not aware of that we are looking at a mini-Vegas built in Paris, this movie apparently flopped painfully when it premiered in 1970. It is since forgotten, overlooked, and its print doomed to deteriorate slowly somewhere in the 20th century Fox archives (in Burbank?). But is the plot of the film dated? I think not. Today, whenever the X-and Y-generation have problems of sorts to deal with, like for instance gambling, we are inclined to make it a pathology that must be treated with therapies and counseling. Couldn't this film be re-dusted as a lecture in how painful and destructive addictions to gambling really is? It deserves it. In spite of all the "half-ways" of this film it is cute and sympathetic lesson in love.
- Oct 21, 2005