6.7/10
473
24 user 12 critic

Play It As It Lays (1972)

A Hollywood actress undergoes a psychic breakdown and recalls the traumatic events which led to her stay at a sanitarium.

Director:

Frank Perry

Writers:

Joan Didion (novel), Joan Didion (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tuesday Weld ... Maria Wyeth Lang
Anthony Perkins ... B.Z.
Tammy Grimes ... Helene
Adam Roarke ... Carter Lang
Ruth Ford Ruth Ford ... Carlotta
Eddie Firestone ... Benny Austin
Diana Ewing ... Susannah
Paul Lambert ... Larry Kulik
Norman Foster ... Abortionist
Chuck McCann ... Abortionist's Assistant
Severn Darden ... Hypnotist
Tony Young ... Johnny Waters
Richard Anderson ... Les Goodwin
Elizabeth Claman Elizabeth Claman ... The Chickie
Mitzi Hoag Mitzi Hoag ... Patsy
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Storyline

Maria Wyeth, an ex-model and B-movie actress, strolls on the grounds of a mental hospital, recalling the traumatic events which led to her breakdown. She is married to an unfaithful, self-engrossed director, Carter Lane. Neglected by her husband, Maria is engaged in a series of one-night stands and becomes pregnant. Her husband divorces her, and she has an illegal abortion. Maria's only friend is B.Z., a homosexual movie producer. World weary, he tells Maria that he has discovered the meaning of life is nothing. He invites her to commit suicide with him. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Maria's life was a search for the ultimate answer even after she found there was none.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Play It as It Lays See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Didion wanted Sam Peckinpah to direct but he was never quite sure why she would select him, given his success as a director of Western-themed films, and declined. See more »

Goofs

Full-screen version shows boom mic in the outdoor sequence where Maria is shooting an actual gun on the movie set; boom mic also visible when B.Z. talks with Maria in the motel room while she is looking at crime scene photographs with a magnifying glass. See more »

Quotes

Maria Wyeth Lang: ...existentially, I'm getting a hamburger.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Drive (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
..."I know what nothing is, and I still keep playing"...
20 April 2006 | by MarieGabrielleSee all my reviews

After having seen this film on Sundance several times, I will now have to read the book. This film is an excellent portrayal of a career/mid-life crisis, in its most existential form.

Not to be morbid, but if you ever read in the headlines about someone who "has it all" and just committed suicide,(and you are still mystified by this) you should watch this film. It is a version of "The Bell Jar" as experienced in Hollywood. Tuesday Weld and Tony Perkins are perfectly cast as two disaffected souls; tired of work, film, travel, meaningless trips to Vegas.

The photography is erratic and juxtaposed upon different layers of Weld's confused life. She goes to get an abortion, and the friend driving her starts talking about what sports car he should buy.

There are some beautiful scenes in the desert where her ex-husband is filming. The starkness, and randomness of life there are palpable. The relationship with her ex is a bit jumbled- but then, so is real life; nothing is clearly delineated; the dialogue is evasive and ominous.

The scene with Perkins and Weld alone are worth watching. She lulls him to sleep, talking about making preserves and relish, as he finally succumbs to the Seconal he carries around. The film, however, is not over-the-top; it is a believable account of people's lives- they just happen to be living in Hollywood, their lives are insular, but still not protected from despair. 9/10


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