Joe Gideon is a Broadway director, choreographer and filmmaker, he in the process of casting the chorus and staging the dance numbers for his latest Broadway show, starring his ex-wife Audrey Paris in what is largely a vanity project for her in playing a role several years younger than her real age, and editing a film he directed on the life of stand-up comic Davis Newman. Joe's professional and personal lives are intertwined, he a chronic philanderer, having slept with and had relationships with a series of dancers in his shows, Victoria Porter, who he hired for the current show despite she not being the best dancer, in the former category, and Kate Jagger, his current girlfriend, in the latter category. That philandering has led to relationship problems, with Audrey during their marriage, and potentially now with Kate who wants a committed relationship with Joe largely in not wanting the alternative of entering the dating world again. Joe also lives a hard and fast life, he chain ...Written by
The life and times of Bob Fosse--oops! sorry!--Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider). He directs, choreographs and writes Broadway musicals and the occasional movie. He also has sex with every woman he can, is a chronic smoker...there's more but I don't want to ruin it.
Basically, this is a character study and an absolutely fascinating one. This is Bob Fosse doing a movie about himself and showing his life in an extremely negative light. I saw this movie when it first came out in 1980. I thought it was one of the most depressing things I had ever seen--but went back to see it three additional times.
The acting is just great all across the board--Scheider is cast against type...and pulls it off. In fact he was nominated for an Academy Award for this performance (he lost to DeNiro for "Raging Bull"). Jessica Lange is playing...let's call her Our Lady of the Oxygen Tank (you'll see what I mean). Seriously, she has a difficult role and plays it beautifully.
The direction is superb, mixing fantasy with reality seamlessly. The songs are good and the dancing is just great (especially in one VERY erotic number about casual sex).
This movie is not for everyone--I know of one theatre in which half the audience walked out demanding their money back--but, if you're game, you probably won't be able to take your eyes off the screen.
Depressing but just great. Fosse's best film (even better than "Cabaret"!)
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