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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
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 »
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 »
Life in Hollwood in the early 1970s--an actress, any actress, rich and famous or not, is exemplified in existential angst in 'play it as it lays.' A compelling character study, Tuesday Weld plays Maria (pronounced Mar EYE'a) Wyeth, an actress much like herself. It is difficult to see where the actress and character begin and end, she is that good in this film. Maria drives her yellow Stingray from one Los Angeles freeway into another only to kill time because she can't kill herself.
Her film industry friends are LA's idle rich who have little else but money. Only a gay friend, played by Tony Perkins, truly cares about her. Maria searches relentlessly for meaning in a place that has none, although it resembles a utopia. The sun is always shining, everyone drives a German car and sips cocktails at their pool or Malibu beach home.
If Albert Camus, the French existentialist of the absurd, had lived in Hollywood, he would have written her story.
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