Blaze (1989) Poster

(1989)

User Reviews

Review this title
19 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
8/10
Lolita Davidovich is amazing!
jharbin11 December 2001
As a transplanted Southerner, I usually hate to see movies about the South, but this one is dead-on. The most amazing thing about the movie is Lolita Davidovich, whose performance is wonderful, as is her "accent". The Southern politics were displayed accurately (unfortunately), and the "boots scene" still has me smiling. Wonderful!
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Blaze
Jim Colyer14 September 2005
Paul Newman made his best movie after becoming an old man. In Blaze, he plays Governor Earl Long of Louisiana. Earl has a scandalous affair with stripper Blaze Starr. I remember this being in the news in 1959. Blaze is played by Lolita Davidovich. She is Yugoslavian, of Serbian/Croatian descent. Blaze makes her way from West Virginia to New Orleans to the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge. Obviously Earl is a liberal. He is a Democrat who supports Civil Rights. This is a comedy, and there are some funny scenes, Earl having sex with his boots on and shooting his lawn mower. Robert Wuhl's character is interesting but has a small part. Blaze exits through the bathroom window and leaves him, taking her mother's advice not to trust any man who tells her to trust him. Blaze's affair with the governor continued until his death in 1960.

I watched Blaze again last night and must say it is an underrated movie. Paul Newman's acting is superb. He should have gotten an Oscar for his portrayal of Earl Long. Lolita Davidovich is charming as stripper Blaze Starr. We all understand that movies stray from the facts for comedic purposes and dramatic effect. After all, how many of us care about Louisana politics in the 20th century. We are looking for an entertaining flick! Fact is, both Earl and Blaze were married when they met. When Earl died in 1960, he was the Democratic nominee for Congress but had not been elected. He left Blaze Starr $50,000 in his will which she refused to accept. There is not a dull moment in this film. It is one of my favorites.
16 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
pretty good
KyleFurr26 September 2005
This was one of the few times that Ron Shelton made a movie that didn't deal with sports and he did a pretty good job. Paul Newman plays the democratic governor of Louisiana and he has an election coming up but can't run for governor again, so he has a friend of his run for governor and Newman will run as lieutenant governor and right after the election the friend will step down and Newman will become governor. Lolita Davidovich plays a big time stripper who at first is suspicious of Newman when he comes on to her but the wind up falling in love. This is set in the late 50s and is down south and since segregation is a big issue Newman's rivals will use it against him in the election. It doesn't help when Newman is having an affair with a stripper and supports civil rights for black people. This is a really good film about politics and also turns out to be a good romance.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Paul Newman shines in amazing mostly true story of Governor Earl K Long.
TxMike17 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I was a teenager in small town Louisiana back in the late 1950s, and although I wasn't into political news, I clearly remember Governor Earl K Long. He was an enigma of sorts, because he did behave erratically at times, and WAS committed to a mental hospital, but in fact did many good things as governor, including standing up for equal rights for minorities. I remember getting free lunches in school, but I was not aware it was Earl K that did this for us.

This is one great movie. It is called "Blaze", not "Earl", because it is mostly from the point of view of Blaze Starr, stage name of a West Virginia country girl who became a New Orleans stripper. What was not mentioned in this movie is that Earl was married to Blanche while he was having his affair with Starr, and it in fact was Blanche that got him committed. Blaze Starr herself has a small part in the movie.

Long was governor on three different occasions, his last term being 1956 through 1960. This movie is set during the last year of his last term. Paul Newman is Earl Long, and was about the same age as Long while making this movie. As always, Newman creates a memorable character, really bringing Earl K Long to life.

Lolita Davidovich, who put on a few extra pounds to play the busty Blaze Starr , is also about the right age and plays Starr superbly. In fact, watching her in this movie, it is hard to figure why she hasn't become a bigger star.

SPOILERS. Even though hospitalized, Long was still governor. So he fired the head of the Mandeville Mental Hospital, appointed his friend to the post, and was promptly declared fit to return to normal life. Unable to run again for Governor, he tried running as Leutenant Governor with Noe, but they did not win. So he ran for US Congress, narrowly won while sick, and died a week after his victory, in September 1960. The movie depicts his dying in Blaze Starr's arms on the day he was elected, but that is movie-making license.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Earl K. Long 1895-1960
bkoganbing9 August 2007
I'm happy the film Blaze came out if for no other reason than Earl Long finally got his place in film history beside his more famous brother Huey. Earl spent a lot more years in public office and maybe no man ever enjoyed just campaigning for office and the trappings thereof when elected.

I was a mere lad, but I do remember Earl's tumultuous and final term as Governor of Louisiana. The stuff you see here about Earl Long, the relationship with stripper Blaze Starr and the rest, was big news back in the day. One of the reasons that Earl could not do what George C. Wallace did was that Wallace had a most compliant first wife in Lurleen Wallace. One character we do not see here was his wife and later widow Blanche. Long was very much married at the time all of his antics were front page news, it was Blanche in fact who had him shipped to the funny farm.

Just as Blanche Long is eliminated from this story so is United States Senator Russell B. Long, son of Huey. Russell Long, who was barely the minimal 30 years old, was appointed by his uncle who happened to be Governor at the time to the U.S. Senate following the death of John H. Overton was still in the Senate when Uncle Earl's antics was big and embarrassing news. Russell Long served in the Senate for over 40 years and unlike his father and uncle became a most powerful Senator through his patient rise up the seniority ladder.

Even without Blanche and Russell, Earl Long's affair with Blaze Starr is the basis of a fine motion picture. Lolita Davidovitch is a warm and earthy Blaze Starr, a Loretta Lynn/Patsy Cline type from West Virginia without their talent. Still she might not have sung, but the woman had one fine figure. And when she pointed those glockenspiels of mass destruction at Earl Long, he was cooked. Imagine watermelon as an aphrodisiac?

Paul Newman does very well indeed as the irascible old governor just hanging on despite physical and mental problems. Today Earl Long might have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or as some have speculated with bi-polar disorder. He might have been given the proper medication.

If Blaze has a fault and it's a big one, it's the lack of secondary character development. We don't really get to know about any of the other people in the Earl and Blaze story.

But we do get to know Earl and Blaze. And if Earl K. Long was indeed bi-polar and been given the proper medication, we might have never have had this story or this film.
16 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Good performances shoring up a weak story.
George Parker25 February 2002
"Blaze" tells of the lives of Blaze Starr (Davidovich), stripper and consort of Earl Long (Newman), the fire breathing eccentric governor of the state of Louisiana during the 50's. Shelton manages to make a moderately interesting film from the marginally interesting lives of Starr and Long although there is evidence of a struggle in the lack of substance in the film for two strange bedfellows whose accomplishments where less than notable and who themselves were little more than colorful. A good film with solid performances by the principals which will most likely be enjoyed by fans of the stars or those with an interest in Louisiana political history.

Footnote: Earl K. Long should not be confused with his older and more flamboyant brother also governor of Louisiana, Huey P. Long, who was assassinated.
11 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Inspiring!
LennyNY10 February 2002
Talk about turnin' lemons into lemonade!

I'll be brief. No need to go through the plot, as many others have already done here; if you've made your way down to this review, you've got the gist of it. 2 characters, from very different worlds, established very early on as equals, both as human beings and as masters in the art of manipulation: Blaze Starr, "exotic dancer," & Earl Long, "good ol' boy" US Southern Democratic politician. The story here is in how they each apply the art: first, in their individual lives; and then, as a team, in the process changing the faces of American politics and media.

Never learned the actual history; makes me want to look it up to find out how many specific scenes are real. One that I sure hope is:

"I have a confession to make... "I can't cook."

"We'll work around it."

almost exactly, an exchange between me & my wife before we were married.

What more can I ask from a movie? P.S. We did. And I haven't gone hungry.
11 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Blaze
Coxer9914 April 1999
A fun and showy performance by Newman keeps the pace moving, but it is Davidovich who steals the film with a warmth and grace reminiscent of a Rita Hayworth. She's absolutely adorable in the role and the film is successful in other respects as well.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Bill Cliton before Bill Cliton
mm-3915 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler I never knew of Bill Cliton, before he was president, but the scandals, and how he deals with the press reminds me of this movie. It is a laugh how Newman can play a nut. I like the scenes where he shoots the lawn mower, and how he gets out of the mental hospital. This liberal minded, womenizing politician reminds me of a car salesmen. Must Rent 8/10
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Spoilers- hot highlights of Blaze
shortysnotshort3 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Watermelon and cowboy boots! One of the best scenes in the movie! Well, there ARE other good scenes! I think I remember a scene where Blaze is on stage stripping, and she places a flower in her cleavage and asks the crowd if they want to go pick flowers in her hills...Something like that.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Another Loser For Director-Writer Shelton
ccthemovieman-114 July 2007
Mix a flamboyant, famous politician of the late '50s - played by one of Hollywood's most famous actors - having an affair with a famous stripper and what do you have? An interesting story, but a movie that still lacked a lot of spark in a number of areas.

I can't blame the actors so my best guess is Director Ron Shelton. He wrote the screenplay for this and has the distinction of directing the only sports movies I ever disliked - all of his! This guy's resume of bad movies is brutal. Look it up!

You could see Paul Newman really relished playing Louisiana Governor Earl K. "Huey" Long, who was scandalized after it was divulged he was having an affair with the notorious stripper, Blaze Starr, played well by newcomer Lolita Davidovich. Some think Davidovich stole the movie from Newman, but I don't know if I would go that far.

However, to me, this was another Newman movie that was overly profane in the language department, a little over-the-top in a performance and just lacking something that made me care about the characters. Starr was portrayed as someone you liked, admittedly, but when has Hollywood not made a stripper or prostitute look good? Newman's role as the flipped-out governor was overacted. One thing, though: Paul Newman is never boring whoever he's playing.

I like movies about eccentric characters but this film just had too sleazy a look and feel for me to enjoy it. In the end, who better to blame than Shelton? This just wasn't the appealing story it should have been.
11 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Not so hot
davidholmesfr21 January 2002
Southern politics and strip-tease dancers make for a steamy mix and although we don't feel the heat of `Big Easy' this does try to raise the temperature. But it's thwarted by its own lack of direction. There are, in effect, three stories here - firstly the fall and rise (and fall again) of Earl K Long (`fine Governor of the great State of Louisiana'); secondly, the rise of stripper Blaze Starr and thirdly, what happens when these two larger than life characters form a life-changing relationship. Shelton concentrates on the latter, leaving us feeling that there might actually have been more fertile ground in either of the first two.

Newman (as Long) dominates the proceedings as a scoundrel of a politician that y'all are gonna love. His political opponents are totally against his support for Civil Rights - and his supporters are dubious too. His relationship with Starr doesn't exactly help his political chances. The politics alone, with Starr more in the background, could have made for an intense movie. Starr arrives on the scene as a leading light in the New Orleans strip joints (although quite how she makes the leap from nervous, reluctant stripper to top of the bill is omitted). Once they get together the film loses direction, not knowing whether to delve more deeply into the politics or whether to lighten the presentation by concentrating on the relationship. Some scenes seem to be included primarily so that some cute jokes can be kept in the script - `meet my yes men and their wives' is an example of a scene that doesn't add much to depth, but seems to be there for the laugh. Overall Shelton leans to the light touch and the whole ends up begging more questions than it answers.

The film does acknowledge the changing times of the late 1950s and the advent of a more liberal society. Long foresees the advent of a successful Civil Rights movement, whilst Starr sees a future where strippers will be required to remove their G-strings. But overall this is a lost opportunity, concentrating on the veneer of a not-too-convincing relationship at the expense of a greater expose. In short Shelton should have removed the political G-string.
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
good performances
SnoopyStyle1 December 2015
It's 1950. A young woman (Lolita Davidovich) leaves her rural West Virginian childhood home with a guitar and hopes for a singing career. Burlesque club owner Red Snyder finds her working at a diner. He pushes her to perform more risqué and she runs away from the sleazy promoter. She ends up in New Orleans performing under the name Blaze Starr where she catches the eye of flamboyant Governor of Louisiana Earl Long (Paul Newman).

Paul Newman is really chewing up this role. Lolita Davidovich is a fiery redhead. These are great characters. The story and how it's played out isn't the most compelling. This needs more tension in the drama. Earl is a wild character but he's not particularly funny. These are good performances but the drama could be more intense. It's a bit too long and has a bit too much filler.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
disappointing
blanche-25 May 2013
Be it fact or fiction, Blaze from 1989 stars Paul Newman as Governor Earl Long of Louisiana and Lolita Davidovich as his mistress, Blaze Starr.

Earl Long was Huey Long's brother, and his political life -- and his personal life -- were both tempestuous. Long was a supporter of civil rights and met much opposition. He had an affair with a stripper. His wife Blanche at one point had him committed, and after that, the two separated. He ran for office when he was nearly dead.

Long was an amazing man, and Paul Newman, as one might expect, does him justice - he's plain speaking, funny, rough around the edges, and likes a good time. When he goes to a strip joint and meets Blaze -- as the other women point out, Earl has met them all - he's smitten. Flaming red hair, a fabulous figure, and an imaginative entertainer -- she becomes part of his life.

The problem with the film is that it's too disjointed. It starts out as the story of Blaze, beginning when she leaves home to become a singer and winds up a stripper, and a well-known one at that. Frankly, I found Earl's story more interesting, and his character more dominant. It's Paul Newman after all, a powerful and charismatic actor, one of the best, if not the best, we had in film. Davidovich is sexy and loving as Blaze, but she doesn't have Newman's vivid presence.

According to some people, though Blaze and Earl got together in the last months of his life, she did not have the importance shown in the film. Did she love him? I'd say so. He left her $50,000 in his will and she refused to accept it. It seems obvious she made his last months on earth happy ones. As far as pushing him to run for office after his last hurrah, those in the know say it's not true. No way really to know - the film is based on Blaze's book.

This film could have been a lot better if it had focused on Earl Long totally and had Blaze in the film. Dividing the story did neither any good and slowed it up.

By the way, Blaze is at this writing 81 or so and designs some very nice jewelry. I suspect she's a very interesting woman.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Paul Newman Elevates The Film
Desertman8417 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Blaze is a based on the memoir Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry by Blaze Starr and Huey Perry.The the film stars Paul Newman as Earl Long and Lolita Davidovich as Blaze Starr.It was written and directed by Ron Shelton.

The film is a comic-strip re-telling of the curious late-1950s relationship between famed striptease artist Blaze Starr and Lousiana governor Earl Long. Their romance is counterbalanced with the story of Long's efforts to win voting rights for Louisiana's black citizens. The governor's political enemies ruin his chances at re-election, then try to put him out of the way permanently with a trumped-up insanity charge. But with faithful Blaze at his side, Long confounds his foes by winning a congressional seat. On the eve of this triumph, Earl Long dies, bringing this boisterous story to a sobering conclusion.

This is noted mostly for the offbeat casting of Paul Newman.He was at his best here.His performance elevates the film into higher levels.Watch it for him alone.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Lame biopic
soranno2 November 2002
The scandalous love affair that was going on between Louisiana governor Earl Long (Paul Newman) and stripper Blaze Starr (Lolita Davidovich) is poorly dramatized in this rather slow moving 1989 Touchstone release. A good cast certainly tries hard but can't save this film from being a downer in the world of biopics.
3 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
dumbed-down cartoon history
Michael Neumann7 November 2010
Director Ron Shelton's second romantic wet dream transposes all the heavy breathing of his Minor League debut hit 'Bull Durham' to the shady arena of Southern politics, where the randy and eccentric Earl K. Long (in his own words the "fine governor of the great State of Louisiana") falls in love with Bourbon St. stripper Blaze Starr. With his auteur's eye firmly affixed to the bottom line (pun intended) Shelton turns an unlikely true story into a colorful live-action cartoon, with plenty of all-too clever (at least to its author) dialogue and a not unexpected measure of character whitewashing: Starr is of course no common stripper, but a well-proportioned angel with a heart of gold. In her big screen debut Lolita Davidovich gives the title role an appealing vitality, but the lip-smacking, lecherous governor is an odd role for Paul Newman. His wild (if memorable) performance approaches a pitch-perfect facsimile of Long's actual personality (listen to the governor's recorded voice at the end of the final credits), but watching the actor submit to Shelton's idea of a dirty old man can be as much an embarrassment to viewers as it must have been for Newman himself.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Confusing, comedy/drama about a true life relationsip...
dwpollar21 January 2002
1st watched 1/21/2002 - 3 out of 10(Dir-Ron Shelton): Confusing, comedy/drama about a true life relationsip between a Governor of Louisiana and a stripper named Blaze Starr. The confusion lies in what this movie wants to be. The intention of the Director seems to change almost from scene to scene. Is it a drama about Starr? Is it a comedy about the loud-mothed politician who fell in love with her? Is it a bitter-sweet Pretty Woman-like retread? Is it a true story played out to the best of everyone's ability despite the comedy-like events that took place? It's hard to tell even up to the very end what the goal was of the filmmakers in this one. Newman & Davidovich do ok jobs with their roles but the story and it's lack of a clear direction is what causes this movie's failure. We're also not really sure what the character's are really grabbing for with their exploits. A real dissapointment coming from the writer of "Bull Durham" and the Academy award winning actor Paul Newman. I guess everyone's got to make a loser every once in a while.
2 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Not too insightful
mattymatt4ever26 August 2002
Movies based on real-life stories and characters are known for being dependent on using certain comedic and dramatic devices to "keep the audience enthused," but this film felt so artificial that I had a hard time maintaining the thought that this was based on a true story. I wasn't given too much insight into these characters (all one- or two-dimensional), and it basically plays out like a farce that takes a serious turn in the last 45 minutes or so.

The character arc or Blaze Starr is developed way too swiftly. In the first 10 minutes, she's this nice little small town gal who lives a healthy Christian life and has a passion for folk music. She gets on stage once, at first (very briefly) getting offended by the booing soldiers who want her to "take it off," and suddenly in that one little striptease she feels liberated? By the 10-minute mark, she's already this sultry, vanity-stricken stripper who gallops at any chance to show off her body to libidinous males. Hell, Elizabeth Berkeley had a more extensive character arc in "Showgirls." I can fathom the change in Blaze Starr's character. I just wanna know the steps in how those changes occurred, because I'm pretty damn sure they didn't occur so swiftly. I've seen several movies with Lolita Davidovich, and she's not a bad actress. She never blew me away with any particular performance, but I never had any negative criticisms about her. Well, this was Davidovich's first movie and...it pretty much shows. Though her character was written poorly, her cartoonish one-note performance doesn't help much. She never properly expresses the humanistic values of her character, and doesn't portray herself as much more than a dirty slut.

Paul Newman's character of Earl Long wasn't written very well, and doesn't give the audience very much to sympathize with, but he plays it out the best he can. His energetic performance is about the only reason to check out this overlooked dud. But as I said, his character is written poorly and about all we learn about him is he's a dirty old man with psychological problems. The only good thing we learn about him is his persistence in awarding voting rights to African-Americans, and allowing them to be doctors. But I can see exactly why he was struggling to be re-elected as governor. I sure as hell wouldn't vote for him! That's not a good sign. Even when creating a character who's not perfectly sympathetic (which I have nothing wrong with) you must be able to express his/her good values effectively, even if it's done with subtlety.

The country/western folk songs are a bit of a turn-off (at least to me), but I'm not gonna use that against the overall quality of the movie. After all, it is set in Louisiana. "Blaze" is not a terrible film, it's mildly entertaining, but I wanted to know a lot more about these 2 characters (even if the movie went on for 2 1/2 hours) and what resulted was no more than a throwaway comedy/drama. See it only for Newman's terrific performance.

My score: 5 (out of 10)
1 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews