Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.
Meet Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman). The biggest "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss on the planet. He thrills in taking advantage of his head female office staff; humiliating, downplaying, and condescending against them whenever conveniently possible, particularly his top assistant Violet (Lily Tomlin). Long-exhausted over his gruesome bullishness, Violet, alongside co-workers Doralee (Dolly Parton) and Judy (Jane Fonda) comprise comical methods of "doing him in", when a freak incident occurs. They then manage to kidnap Hart and trap him in his own house, while assuming control of his department, and productivity leaps. But just how long can they keep him tied up?Written by
Parton recalls being told by Fonda to slow down on her eating because filming out of sequence means she'd be wearing the same costume later in the shoot. She recalls entering a scene one size and exiting it bigger. "I look like a little fat canary," says Parton regarding the scene at 1hr12mins.) where she's in a yellow outfit. See more »
In the first few scenes, Violet's hair changes from being parted on the side to being parted down the middle. See more »
HBO/Cinemax's version of the film on Closed-Captioning changes one word of dialogue. Violet says to Mr. Hart, angrily, "The boys in the club are threatened, and you're so intimidated by any woman that won't sit in the back of a bus." Closed-Captioning reads, "The boys in the club are threatened, and your so intimidated by any woman who isn't submissive." See more »
The first part is a real hoot as cranky office dictator Coleman regiments his mostly female work crew. Get my coffee, he tells underling Tomlin. Never mind that she's at least his equal in business acumen. Then there's busty Parton whose upper orbs succumb to his scheming as she picks up pencils. And pity newly hired Fonda as she learns the submissive ropes in amusingly jittery fashion. In fact, her bungled avalanche with the copy machine may be the movie highlight. Still, Fonda's transformation from nervous newbie to a rebellious leader amounts, I think, to the movie's core. After all, how many other potential leaders lurk among the suppressed rank and file. On the other hand, I can see why chauvinistic men would despise the movie, funny or not. After all, it's really about women folk learning to assert themselves and their overlooked talents.
The second part, however, loses comedic edge as the girls duel with Coleman in fitfully funny fashion. Looks like the writers were unsure how to develop Coleman's comeuppance. Nonetheless, the acting remains superb, especially from a surprisingly adept Parton and that great bumbling egotist, Dabney Coleman. Too bad the script also appears unsure how to carry out the feminist rebellion that shines so expertly in the first part.
Good to see old timers like the lordly Sterling Hayden and the jowly Henry Jones picking up paydays. And shouldn't overlook Elizabeth Wilson as Coleman's tricky tattletale. She's a wise choice as an office foreman given her stellar performance as a secretary in the Wall Street classic Patterns (1956).
All in all, the hundred minutes strikes me as not only generally amusing, but as a key film in the spread of the women's movement, one that continues even today. So, for those who don't mind a message with their laughs, don't miss it.
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